CET Harbin

Video and Photos

In Front of Zhongyang Dajie
In Front of Zhongyang Dajie
Winter Outside Dormitory 6
Winter Outside Dormitory 6
CET Thanksgiving
CET Thanksgiving
Downtown Harbin
Downtown Harbin
At Saint Sofia Cathedral! Such beautiful Russian inspired architecture!
CET academic programs, harbin, china, roommates
CET academic programs, harbin, china, roommates
Visiting part of the Great Wall in Liaoning, China!
CET academic programs, harbin, china
CET academic programs, harbin, china

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

Questions & Answers

Reviews

91%
based on 28 reviews
  • Academics 9.3
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 7.3
  • Housing 8
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 15 of 28
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!
Read my full story
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.
Default avatar
Ellie
4/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Think hard before you choose this program

I am sorry, but this review will be a little negative. I've been on intensive summer language programs before, and I have always had wonderful experiences. However, this program (though there were some good parts) was not what I wanted. This program was so stressful that all of my classmates want to leave (that's literally awful). If you choose this program, be ready to be in class until 5 PM everyday and then have 5-7 hours of homework every night.

What would you improve about this program?
Change the class schedule. If we got out earlier, then the homework would not be such a burden. However, waking up everyday to do homework, going to class (often skipping meals), getting out at 5 only to eat a little dinner and immediately start homework and then sleep at 2 every night in order to finish your homework is very exhausting.
Response from CET Academic Programs

Hi Ellie, Thanks for your feedback. We know that the CET Harbin program, especially in the summer, is academically challenging. We're sorry that the program's rigor did not meet the expectations you had for your summer abroad. If you'd like to discuss your experience and specific feedback further with someone at CET, please feel free to reach out at [email protected] -Shelley Jessee, Director of Marketing, CET

Default avatar
Alex
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Challenging but amazing

This is the place to go if you want to improve your Mandarin! The language pledge is particularly challenging but it’s really the best way to jump start your learning. In addition, the teachers and program leads are amazing — they are strict but will help you with anything you need. The class/homework load make for busy schedules but there is still time to get to know the people on the program and the city. Great people, great program.

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

Just Speak Chinese 只说汉语

If I had to advise anyone what to be prepared for in this program, it would be to:
1. Shed any preconceived notions about how cold your winter is, and to think that you are "prepared" for Harbin's weather (a.k.a. make sure you have clothes for multiple layers packed, at least 3)
2. To only speak Chinese 只说汉语
These are my simplest pieces of advice for one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had in my undergraduate career and 20-something-year-old life. CET Harbin is not one of those study abroad programs where you go to mess around, or to take a semester just to have some fun (you certainly can enjoy yourself), but it is one where you will go in with a particular goal (to speak Chinese better) and will come out having accomplished that goal (actually being able say more than your name and your favorite color).
The reason why I liked this program so much was the way it was set up. It's really well-organized with amazing people and small class sizes. You have a world of opportunity to practice your Mandarin in class and with your Chinese roommate until your mouth is so tired that you give up and result to hand gestures and small drawings to explain your meaning. There will be many funny anecdotes to tell your friends and family, such as the time your tones and pronunciation were so bad the 服务员 didn't understand that you wanted 热水, and when the pharmacist gave you that peculiar look when you meant to ask about 口罩 (masks, for air pollution) but instead inquired about 口交 (oral sex). However, CET Harbin will provide you with a 1-on-2 class that will focus specifically on your pronunciation and tones so you can buy your masks with confidence.
Harbin also provides weekly excursions which I highly recommend taking a break from studying to participate in. There are outings to museums, restaurants, mountains, local parks, restaurants and a Buddhist temple. I mentioned restaurants twice because about every excursion includes food that you don't have to pay out-of-pocket (FREE FOOD) and Chinese food itself is packed with flavor and deliciousness (Vegetarians be warned, it is hard to find meatless food). There is also a 3-day trip that differs depending on the semester you go, and it tends to be a really good bonding experience with other Chinese roommates and your classmates. My semester (Fall 2016) we had a bonfire and outdoor karaoke session on a farm, climbed the Great Wall, and saw the border of North Korea. Plus there was food included.
I said earlier that one of my favorite parts of the program was the amazing people I met. Take advantage of having the roommates, as I remember one of my biggest regrets was starting to get close to people at the very end of the program who I didn't talk to much earlier. Also there are over 10,000 students on HIT's (host institution) campus, so if you have the opportunity and confidence to; talk to people outside of the program, or join a club even. It'll take some time to settle into your life in China, but after the first month life becomes a lot easier and your Mandarin will skyrocket.
Overall I'd say again, pack warmly and just speak Chinese. Be open-minded. Talk to the roommates and your classmates. Don't cry over the amount of homework you have or if you forget something. Know how to pronounce the word for "masks" before you go into a pharmacy. There's a lot more I could go into, but there are other reviews for that!
My semester in particular had a lot of Fulbright scholars that chose to go here to improve their Chinese. If that doesn't say anything about the rigor of the program, then I don't know what does.

What would you improve about this program?
For the fall semester I really enjoyed the 3-day trip at the beginning, but it would've been nice to do something at the end with everyone.
Read my full story
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Erin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An excellent academic challenge abroad

My professor from my home university recommended that I attend CET Harbin, and I don't regret listening to her advice! I was academically challenged in many ways, specifically with giving many presentations and essays. In addition to the homework, the professors engaged us in class and encouraged us to practice our Chinese in culturally relevant discussions. My favorite aspect of the program was how useful the language skills that I acquired were to my needs. CET Harbin does an excellent job at tailoring the classes to what the individual student wants to concentrate on. The other students strictly follow the language pledge, creating a language environment in which everyone helps each other progress. Although I did not participate in many activities, I had a chance to travel around the city, which was beautiful. It is not a big city like Beijing or Shanghai, but has much character and beauty. It was overall a wonderful environment to improve my Chinese level, both academically and aesthetically.

Greta
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Harbin Study Abroad

I arrived in Harbin on the 4th day of the Spring Festival, a sharp scent of gun powder punctuated the night air and the rattle of firecrackers cut through the weary numbness then descending on my jet-lagged brain. I had strained to understand the signs in the airport and I couldn't seem to get a single tone right when I tried asking for help, 'what am I getting myself into?' was the prevailing thought of the day. Luckily, all of the exhaustion of travel and the shock of entering a new cultural environment were assuaged as soon as I arrived on campus at HIT and met with Li Laoshi, Xuan Laoshi, our RA, the other staff whose patience and kindness left me smiling and ready to take on the challenge of the language pledge. As soon as the pledge started, all the students began getting used to the sounds of our Chinese names and growing into our new identity as foreigners, although we made many mistakes, confusing tones or flipping characters around, our roommates and teachers were always patient and encouraging, laughing with us and helping us take the next steps to making our Chinese more 地道。We had fantastic courses where small class sizes allowed everyone to participate and get our questions answered. Our teachers were super willing to answer questions after class hours and supported us to make sure that we all got the most out of the program. Some of my favorite memories also come from outside of class: cooking wonton soup, and going out for hot-pot, learning to play Harbin Majiang, taking my first high speed train ride on our class trip to Beidaihe (where we saw the eastern-most section of the Great Wall), and learning to bargain, and picking up on local slang from our roommates.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, there's not much I would change. It might be nice if students were allowed the option of textbooks that used 繁体字 however, I appreciated the chance to get used to Simplified Characters as well.
Jocelyn
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Warm Memories in the Ice City (Harbin)

I arrived in Harbin ready to make the most of this opportunity to participate in a semester of CET, funded by my Fulbright fellowship. My Mandarin abilities were minimal so the first month under the language pledge was excruciating. But I persisted through the discomfort of sitting silently at the dinner table because I knew this all-Mandarin environment was rapidly improving my speaking and listening abilities. I was forced to figure out how to express myself in Chinese, even if it meant stumbling through butchered sentences at first. By the half-term Fall break my Mandarin had already improved at an exponential rate. By the end of the program, my Chinese roommate was my best friend and we were regularly staying up late at night giggling in bed over stories from each of our days. The subject of these stories was often boys. My uncle told me there are several truly beautiful things one will experience in life: having a baby, falling in love, and making a friend in another language. Needless to say, my Mandarin has improved dramatically since my first week of “你好吗?”.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, this program was nearly perfect. I understand CET conducts competitive analysis of other top language programs to ensure they are using best education methods of the time.
Sarah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

"Mother Tongue is your Refugee"

This was the thought that ran through my head throughout the first few weeks I was experiencing my time as a student under the dreaded Chinese language pledge. Before arriving I did not realize how serious this pledge would be, and I also did not realize how well it would actually improve my Chinese.

The program was intense, but it does its job. My Chinese has become remarkably better than when I started my semester in Harbin. It is also possible to form deep friendships with Chinese roommates and classmates in the program. I feel like I have been left with friendships that will last a long time. I am also thankful for the unique experiences that CET has left me. For example, visiting the China-North Korean border, Great Wall and other excursions!

What would you improve about this program?
I wish the dorms were a bit better. My roommate and I's dorm sometimes had issues with the toilet and with our heater.
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Tyler
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

哎呀我的妈呀!

Studying abroad in Harbin was an experience! I was able to learn so much about Northern Chinese culture, as well as experience other cultures that are prominent in the North. Visiting the museums and memorials was astonishing, Harbin is a historically and culturally rich area. I found it interesting that I was able to learn so much about Russian, Jewish, and German culture. One of my fondest memories was when we stumbled upon a German restaurant that wasn't far from campus. It was a lively restaurant that happened to be having live karaoke. It was a wonderful night where we were able to drink delicious beer that was a brewed in the restaurant, enjoy some snacks, and the live music. As I look back on my time in Harbin, that was one of my favorite memories.

What would you improve about this program?
Some of my program mates wanted to have the program moved to the newer dorms but I feel that the dorms that we use have a history behind them because they use them every semester since the program started. They are a bit dated, and hard to get used to.
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NL
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I love this program

I participated in this program twice and both times I learned way more Chinese and way more about China than I even expected, forming lifelong friendships with American and Chinese people along the way. Harbin is a wonderful city and a perfect environment in which to study Chinese, and CET provides a huge amount of institutional support.

What would you improve about this program?
I would, if at all possible, cut certain features to lower the price tag so that post-college students would be more able to attend.

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About CET Academic Programs

CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. Originally “China Educational Tours,” CET began operations in Beijing, and today offers a varied portfolio...