CET Harbin

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About

Are you a serious student seeking exceptional teachers and peers who are as committed to improving their Chinese as you are? Do you want to live in a city known for its standard local accent and lack of dialect? Then CET Harbin is the program for you, with its intensive all-Chinese curriculum and a full-time language pledge. You select the topic for your one-on-one tutorial. How about Chinese Environmental Conservation, or China's Tech Boom? You'll master specialized vocabulary through one-on-two classes and electives that range from Classical to Business Chinese. Advanced students can pursue thesis-level research in Chinese. Classes get you out into the city, too, to a newspaper office or a teahouse. Chinese roommates provide instant insider's information about the city—not to mention teach you the latest slang. Visit the famed ice festival. Travel the region with new friends. This program is open to students with at least 4 semesters of previous Chinese language classes.

Highlights
  • Small, intensive Chinese language classes
  • Customizable One-on-One Tutorials
  • Out-of-classroom learning & assignments
  • Full-time language pledge
  • Local roommates

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.03 Rating
based on 30 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 80%
  • 7-8 rating 16.67%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 3.33%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 9.2
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 7.3
  • Housing 7.9
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 8 of 30
Default avatar
Skye
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Worth the investment

Before I got to Harbin, China, I thought my Chinese level was pretty good. I soon found that my Chinese was pretty bad. The best thing about this program is that the locals don't speak English and you have the language pledge resulting in your level growing exponentially. The hardest thing is going to be understanding the taxi drivers, but I would say I grew able to understand the locals rather quickly. I like the curriculum because no student was left behind. While there were multiple levels ( I was at the lowest), we all learned similar enough things that I never felt like I couldn't speak with the higher level kids. We all grew together with our language.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I tried chicken heart and chicken foot ( I liked both). I also tried pig brain but I really did not like the texture so I won't be eating that again.
Default avatar
Katelyn
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Serious Work for Serious Improvement

Before coming to Harbin, I had never been outside of the US so I was in for quite the culture shock upon arrival. However, the first few days were surprisingly easy as we were shown around campus and a little bit around the city. We didn’t start the language pledge until four days after everyone arrived so we had the opportunity to get to know everyone in the cohort, which was nice considering the first few weeks after the language pledge are filled with awkward, short sentences. Even being a more advanced program there was a lot of variety in skill level but I never felt like anyone was excluded because their language ability was a little behind.

The workload is no joke. I had two or three classes a day and each class required anywhere between 2 and 4 hours of homework. It’s especially difficult in the beginning, but over time I noticed the workload became easier. There isn’t a heavy emphasis placed on grading but more so on your ability to use what you’ve learned. The one-on-one course can easily be the best or worst part of your classes. If you choose a topic and then realize you don’t quite like it, tell the academic advisor immediately so you can change the topic accordingly. It ended up being most people’s favorite class despite being the most difficult. The one-on-two really helps you realize your tone or pronunciation mistakes, especially because you go four times a week. The other two classes are your choice and are pretty standard.

Having a native roommate is kind of advertised as a big deal and I honestly didn’t believe it before arriving, mostly because I’m a naturally shy person and never really bond super quickly with people. However, I have to say that my roommate has become one of my favorite people and probably to person I’m going to miss the most. In the beginning, when I could barely say a few sentences, she was so incredibly patient helped me with basic survival. Over time, we started talking about cultural difference, politics, life problems, and just anything. I would not improved so much if I had her helping me. As far as I know, all of the roommates were patient and very excited to help everyone in our program.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be prepared to work. I don’t think it was unbearable but it definitely was a lot. After having to constantly translate a foreign language all day, six hours of homework feels absolutely dreadful sometimes but it is so worth it when you realize how much you’ve improved.
Default avatar
Li Li
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Harbin

When I first arrived, it was in early February. CET Harbin's campus was beautiful but the weather is known to be cold. It was a lot different than what I was expecting. I would say that this program definitely brought my Chinese to the next level. In my whole lifetime, I've only taken Econ 101 at school and this was my only "business" knowledge until CET Harbin, I registered for a business class and was placed in the highest language proficiency with no business background. I would say that this was one of the most challenging time of my life with school, but after 6 to 7 weeks, without realizing it, I have already been accustomed and was on a roll with classes. Other classes I took were Newspaper Reading, 一对二, and my 一对一class was on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). I wanted to learn about TCM for the longest time of my life, and coming to this program really helped me accomplished my goal. All the 老师s were amazing at what they do and the activities that CET coordinated were really helpful in integrating students with the culture. I've made so many friends that I would definitely consider them my lifelong friends, and I've learned so so much through this language intensive program. If you are serious about improving your Chinese, CET Harbin is the way to go if you really followed the language pledge. It may be tiring speaking and thinking everything in Chinese, but at the end or before you know it, your Chinese is already on the next level. (I forgot but on the side note, breakfast foods are amazing, so were the caf's foods. There are 7 different cafeterias for you to choose from).

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Study, but also use your time to explore, ask your roommate and eat your heart out because there are so many places with good food in Harbin. It's unique and delicious! The perks of living in Dongbei is for you to explore/eat Dongbei's food! Last but not least, have fun!!!
Default avatar
Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Harbin

Harbin was so different than what I ever would have expected going into this program. I was so surprised about the overlaps of different cultures and how much I would learn, not only about Chinese history, but also of Russian and North Korean history! My roommate, professors, and food made the experience so enjoyable. My favorite foods were 手抓饼 (Shou zhuabing) and 馄饨 (huntun); I ate them almost everyday! Even though it was very cold the first month I was there, the weather got warmer and warmer and turned into spring. The flowers bloomed and the pollution cleared up a bit because all the heaters got turned off! The atmosphere was amazing and because my Chinese language ability improved so much while I was there, I can say that I made lifelong friends from my time abroad.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would learn more about the history of Russian connections to China and how they affect the Chinese economy today.
Default avatar
Laura
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Program to Improve your Chinese

China is the most populated country in the world and has one of the longest human civilizations in history. During my trip to Harbin, not only did my Chinese level improve tremendously, thanks to CET Harbin's intense language program and 24-hour language pledge (Chinese only, no English allowed), but I also experienced the culture of China's beautiful Ice City of Harbin. I visited Harbin during the Summer months when it's famed Ice and Snow Festival was not open; however, Harbin still had plenty to offer. Our daily weekend excursions in this program included hiking a pristine mountain, learning how to curl and much more. We also had the free time to go on extra excursions including skiing in the world's largest indoor ski resort, visiting a cat café, and feeding Siberian Tigers in Harbin's famed Siberian Tiger Park. Along with intensive one-on-one language classes, each program participant also was paired with a Chinese roommate who helped us with school projects and brought us along to night markets and Karaoke and to experience many of China’s cultural treasures like experiencing a Tea Ceremony and interacting with Chinese children. If you wish to improve your Chinese proficiency, CET Harbin is one of the best programs. The improvement in my Chinese speaking level and the friends that I made in these short two months will last a lifetime.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go on every excursion! If you don't you might miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
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Default avatar
Samuel
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CET Harbin will challenge you

If you want to greatly improve your ability to speak conversational level Chinese, enroll in this program. The coursework contains practical and useful vocabulary that can be utilized during everyday conversations, while the language pledge pretty much ensures that you do. The language pledge itself is difficult but it actually does work. The downside to the language pledge is that it can be difficult to grow relationships with depth ; if you are truly dedicated to the pledge you may find yourself feeling socially isolated and unable to truly express yourself. This program also has weekend activities, all of which have a defined purpose and can range from a few hours to all day. It's definitely nice to have someone else plan out your trips for you, but I would suggest to try to be spontaneous with your roommate as well. Overall I would say that this program is not focused on fun but is worth the time and effort.

Default avatar
Amy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent and Rewarding Program

The academic rigor of this intensive language program was very high, and there was a lot of interesting and useful content covered in each of our four classes that was supplemented by nightly homework that solidified what we learned each day. All of the teachers were very helpful and approachable whenever I had any questions. And the weekends punctuated each busy week with fun, planned excursions around Harbin, and independently-planned excursions surrounding the region were also encouraged by the staff. All in all, I learned a lot about China and its language this summer.

What would you improve about this program?
Many students found the workload to be rather heavy, and this wasn't helped by how early some classes started and how late other classes ended. If the schedule could be changed so that classes started at a later time and ended at an earlier time, students would have an easier time tackling the workload.
Default avatar
Ethan
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Opinion CET Harbin

I thought that the CET Harbin program was a very well organized and well-run program. One of the things that I think really stands out about this program is that you can choose two elective courses which allow you to focus on certain areas of study in Chinese (e.g. literature, classical Chinese, composition etc.) I found that all of my teachers, as well as the on-site CET staff were always willing to help and answer any questions I had.

While I think this is a very good summer program, it is also an extremely intense one, with a lot of homework. I was very overwhelmed at first, and in the end, I dropped one of my classes to lighten my work load. After I did this, I didn't really have any problems. However time management is definitely an important skill to have if you select this program. Also I would advise anyone who is planning to attend this program, do not overlook the importance of sleep. Sometimes it feels like you just have too much homework to get a good night's sleep. In this case, I would strongly urge you to not finish all of your homework and go to sleep at a reasonable time instead. Think of sleep as a part of your homework every night. Sleeping well each night is one of the best ways to prepare for class the next day.

What would you improve about this program?
I think that the work load is too heavy. I know that many of my classmates often got to bed far too late because of homework. So, I would recommend either reducing the amount of homework given each night, or only requiring students to attend three classes as opposed to four. I understand that this is a two-month program and that we need to move quickly, but I think that this program moves too fast, and as a result it is hard to retain what you learn in each class. Additionally, the one-on-one classes are two hours long. This is fine if you really like your one-on-one teacher, but in general, I think spending two hours at a time with just one teacher is too long. I think the one-on-one classes should be made shorter.