To summarize this program in one word, IES-Beijing Language Intensive was fantastic. From the immersion to the language studies and the travel, there is no better study abroad program if you looking at Beijing.
There was a lot of studying involved, but it was never unmanageable--probably at most 3 hours per night. But the amount of Chinese I learned mad the studying enjoyable, since you knew you would be using the very same vocab and grammar the next day in class, or on the street talking with a friend or stranger. Plus, the largest language class I was in only had 6 students, so there was a ton of individual attention.
Outside of the language classes, I chose to take two area studies courses, both in the Political Science area. One class was Politics and Government of China, taught by a visiting professor from Australia, and the other was Social Movements and Labor Change in China, taught by a Chinese professor who works daily in that field. I have to say both classes were fascinating, the work load was never more than a few hours per week, and both professors kept small classes. The larger of the two only had 12 students. Plus the best part about classes--and this includes the Chinese language ones as well--is that they only met 4 times per week, since we had no class on Wednesdays.
In terms of housing, I lived in a dormitory owned by IES on the campus of Beijing Foreign Studies University. The dorms were nice, although the room are a lot smaller than most American college students will be used to. I also lived with a Chinese roommate, who was a student at the university. The best part about the dorm was that our classrooms were located right down the hall from our dorm rooms, since we didn't take classes directly with the university. But the halls and bathrooms were cleaned every day, the building was air conditioned for the warm months, and it became a very cozy and comfortable place to relax and unwind.
The one thing I will say about Beijing, and maybe China in general, is that if you are not the type of person that can laugh at yourself, you won't last long in Beijing. I once spent 20 minutes explaining with hand gestures that I wanted a napkin, but because I didn't know the word for it, I pretty much looked like a monkey in a zoo. The waitresses just laughed in my face, but I was fine with it since I knew I looked like a buffoon. If you don't have patience for these kinds of things, you'll find Beijing is a very tough place.