IES Abroad Beijing - Contemporary Issues In China

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**UPDATE: Starting Fall 2015, the Beijing – Contemporary Issues in China Program will merge with the Beijing – Language Intensive Program to create one cohesive curriculum called Beijing – Contemporary China & Chinese Language. If you are interested in enrolling in Fall 2015 or beyond, please visit the Beijing – Contemporary China & Chinese Language program.**

Based on the campus of the Beijing Foreign Studies University, the program begins with the Understanding China seminar. As part of this seminar, you conduct an interview project that culminates with student presentations. Next, you take a sequential series of rigorous 300-level seminars (such as Chinese Government and Politics and China's Development and Environmental Challenges) taught one-at-a-time at an accelerated pace, while you continue with your daily Chinese studies.

This program is structured around three dist


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Questions & Answers


10 Rating
based on 5 reviews
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  • Academics 9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9.8
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best decision I've ever made.

I loved my fall and summer here! It seriously was the time of my life. I count the faculty, fellow students, and homestay parents among my closest friends. I saw more of China than I could've dreamed, expanded my language ability, and learned about a foreign and unique culture from a truly indepth, local way. IES Beijing gives you a safety blanket while also allowing you to truly experience the magic of China.

What would you improve about this program?
The language classes were perfect, but the classes about China were a little rudimentary for those of us who had previously studied China.
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Yes, I recommend this program

International Relations in Beijing

My semester with IES was an incredible experience. One of the most memorable factors about my time abroad was the field studies trip to Tibet that was an academic components of the program. I had never before had the opportunity to take a mobile course, and being able to have the experience of travel accompanied by a professor that guided our analysis of everything we were exposed to was academically enriching.

The Chinese language courses at IES are very rigorous, so I found that my language level had many improvements, although placement into the class levels is not always extremely accurate. Subject classes are not as rigorous as they are at my home university. Going into the semester, I knew very little about Chinese politics and international relations, so although in my case the classes were very informative, I still found that they weren't extremely challenging. However, I think that having a low academic commitment was also part of the experience because it gave the students time to focus on seeing Beijing and other areas of the country without sacrificing academic standing.

I found that staff at IES to be supportive of all of my personal problems. The professors in the program helped me develop and senior thesis by personalizing the course work to my interests (as well as those of other students) and providing me with resources for extended exploration that I would not have found on my own. Th center staff always made themselves available resolve any problems that I might be having, and the RAs in the program are well chosen and trained to mentor and help students navigate the country with success.

What would you improve about this program?
The one change I would like to see in the program is making the subject classes semester-long rather than breaking them up into 3 week sessions. I feel like this would allow students to build a stronger bond with professors and make the courses more academically rigorous. I though the professors in the program were well qualified in their field, but 3 weeks for one class is just simply not enough time to match the content of a real university course.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A great program, great teachers, and great students in a great city

I participated in the Intensive language program during the Spring 2011 semester. It was 4 hours of class a day in a small classroom, with all your friends from the program, and your teacher. They were all super sweet, dedicated, and diligent. We had homework everyday and dictations as well. We never had more than 5 students in a class, and pretty much everyone got on smashingly.

The program also gets you a personal tutor who you meet with everyday for an hour. If you don't make any progress with this program you are doing it wrong.

Weekends were a blast, students ate dinner together and often planned trips on weekends to other cities or to cultural sights within the city. For nights we often hit Wudaokou, Sanlitun, and varies quiet bars around the city. The Jing is a cool city, and I often think of it fondly.

My homestay was great, they spoke zero English and it was fantastic for my ability, they also cooked sick food that was great to chow down on while conversing with them.

We took a trip to Kunming in the bowls of February. It was two weeks long and was an absolute blast. We went hiking, ate great food, went biking, saw beautiful sights, and got to spend great times as a group together checking out the city, province and local people.

I could not have imagined a better abroad experience. Mr. Eyler, and Mr. Jenne were great mentors and teachers as well. I made great friends that I still keep in contact with today, learned a ton of Chinese, and ended up finding a new passion for modern Chinese history.

If you want to meet cool students that like China, spend time in a cool city, and learn a bunch about China then do this program. I truly do not have enough good things to say about this program.

What would you improve about this program?
I'm usually pretty quick to point at flaws in things, but I really can't recall anything that was done poorly. From start to finish you were taken care of and shown around.
I guess the only thing I would change was my host family had a bathroom that was the shower. So the whole place was wet after you were done washing. That kind of sucked getting your socks wet sometimes.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Immersion Experience

IES Abroad Beijing (Contemporary Issues Program) was exactly what I was hoping for in a study abroad experience: a challenging and engaging academic program, plenty of opportunity for complete cultural immersion, and more than enough time to explore both Beijing and China in general. My Chinese improved tremendously because of the excellent staff at IES and also because I was placed in a home stay that could not speak English. The home stay was by far the best aspect of my time abroad, and I feel that I was matched perfectly with my host family. I loved the balance that the Contemporary Issues Program provided in terms of rigorous Chinese study combined with courses designed to deepen our understanding of modern Chinese government, international relations, literature, environmental issues, and more.

What would you improve about this program?
The organization and communication of program details (both pre-departure and during my time abroad) could be improved, but answers were generally available if I sought them out.
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Yes, I recommend this program

An incredible program I'd do over in a heartbeat!

One of my favorite experiences are the 2 week long trips, in the fall out along the Silk Road to Western China and in the spring to Yunnan. It is certainly out of classroom learning experience which can't be replaced. I also loved the 24/7 language pledge to only speak Chinese and living in a homestay that didn't speak English. My language improved tremendously, a testament to the great language teachers and staff at the center. The university is a safe area, surrounded by delicious restaurants with foods from all over China. Beijing itself is just massive and there's always something new to explore. One of my favorite activities was an overnight trip to the Great Wall, staying at a village next to the Wall for the night. Highly recommend this program if you are looking for language improvement, cultural learning, and/or a fabulous experience!!!

What would you improve about this program?
The internship class is a great opportunity to work in Beijing but I think it needs some tweaking in organization, course work, syllabus, and communication with the internships.