Middlebury School in China

Video and Photos

Green Lake (located in the heart of Kunming)
Green Lake (located in the heart of Kunming)
View from Yunnan University dorms
View from Yunnan University dorms
Ginkgo Lane, Yunnan University campus
Ginkgo Lane, Yunnan University campus
Two men drinking tea
Two men drinking tea
West Lake, Hangzhou
West Lake, Hangzhou
Students and roommates chatting
Students and roommates chatting
Hiking the Great Wall
Hiking the Great Wall
Students drinking tea together
Students drinking tea together

About

The Middlebury School in China, run in conjunction with CET Academic Programs, offers cultural and linguistic immersion through a rigorous curriculum and adherence to the Middlebury Language Pledge. By pledging to speak only the target language while abroad, students will have the best chance of acquiring fluency and actively engaging in the local environment. Participants take an area studies course, a one-on-one content-based tutorial, and two electives. They live with Chinese roommates and may take part in excursions, volunteer work, and campus clubs and activities.

Students looking for more advanced language preparation prior to the start of the spring semester or who want to apply their enhanced language skills after the fall semester may be interested in a January term option in Beijing.

Highlights
  • All course work is conducted entirely in Mandarin
  • Students adhere to the Middlebury College Language Pledge
  • Curriculum designed for high intermediate and advanced Chinese language students, featuring one-on-one, and small elective classes
  • Housing with a Chinese roommate in dormitories
  • Cocurricular activities: cooking, ping pong, martial arts, hip hop, bamboo flute, watercolor, etc.

Popular Programs

Beijing is a large and vibrant city and is known as the cultural, political, educational, and artistic center of China. At its heart lies the ancient Forbidden City and the modern Politburo’s meeting grounds. The central business district attracts multinational and local businesses alike. The program offers electives in politics and area studies and is perfect for students of political science, economics, or the arts. Explore China's capital with the Middlebury School in China!

Hangzhou, known as the Garden City for its abundance of parks and greenery, is the capital of Zhejiang Province. Hangzhou boasts an important emerging technology industry, temples, pagodas, and museums acclaimed throughout China and the world. With few international students and rich opportunities for cultural immersion, Hangzhou offers an ideal setting for Chinese language study through Middlebury's language immersion model.

Kunming is known as the City of Eternal Spring. Its parks and temperate climate make it a very livable city with a strong outdoor culture. Kunming is also a very multicultural city, clearly demonstrating the influences of the 25 ethnic minorities residing in Yunnan Province. The program is especially suited for students of anthropology, Southeast Asian studies, and environmental studies. Live the language with the Middlebury Schools Abroad!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

88%
based on 13 reviews
  • Academics 9.4
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 7.7
  • Housing 7.2
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 8 of 13
Default avatar
Abigail
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

MIC Hangzhou

The program was great for language learning abilities. It required us to speak Chinese at all times, so it really helped me learn Chinese and learn how to live in a non-Western city. However, the dorm life was challenging, and although it helped me navigate a campus, I did not get close with my roommate. I would have liked to have opportunities to acclimate more with the campus community. The professors were amazing and really cared about us.

What would you improve about this program?
Respond better to student grading/academic confusion needs and help them become more a part of a campus community
Default avatar
Sarang
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cool Experience, Academically Challenging

As a language intensive, Middlebury China is probably one of the most challenging college level programs out there. Many of my peers felt the workload was often a little overwhelming, as we had to study a new Chinese lesson every two days. Although it says you are eligible to go on this program with two years of college level Chinese, it is strongly recommended that you partake in a summer intensive beforehand. The language pledge is taken quite seriously by most people, and everyone in the program my semester improved their Chinese greatly.
The teachers and staff on site are all friendly and extremely helpful, especially Lili, one of the main program coordinators.
The college is located in the cultural center of Kunming, and has many places you can walk or take a bus to quite easily.

What would you improve about this program?
One of the classes you must take is a one-on-one with a Chinese graduate/PhD student who helps you write a 5000 word essay about a certain topic. I honestly didn't think this class was as helpful to the students that were on the lower levels, and the teachers don't have much experience teaching to foriegn students making the process more frustrating. I wish they would make this component an opt-out, and rather have a supplementary speaking/writing class.
Default avatar
Caley
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Middlebury in Kunming

I would recommend this program to people dedicated to improving their Chinese language skills, and/or interested in carrying out an individual research project in Chinese. The academics are manageable but perhaps relatively rigorous compared to other study abroad programs. Kunming is a great city, and the province of Yunnan is beautiful: mountainous, good air quality, amazing rice fields. I loved that the program offered lots of opportunity for and encouraged travel, which was relatively easy and affordable to do within and around China. Something special about my experience was that I joined a pick-up ultimate frisbee team based out of Kunming that was composed of some American ex-pats and some locals. I played with them once a week and even went to a few tournaments with them around the country. It was a really unique and fun experience for me to be introduced to the frisbee culture in China! It also helped with my language skills to spend so much time with locals.

What would you improve about this program?
I think the program could benefit from maybe hiring someone to work with the AD in doing whatever that job entails. Our AD seemed to have been really busy, often even traveling to meetings away from Kunming, and so wasn't always around to be a presence or offer support to the students.
Default avatar
lulu
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing, supportive, flexible, transformative program

Super amazing program, super dedicated/supportive teachers and staff, flexible curriculum, diverse options and activities. The program plans city exploration activities for students every week. Every experience was wonderful. We had one-on-one classes in which we could study any topic we choose. My language improved a lot thanks to the program's language intensity. Amazing housing; we lived in a hotel basically. Our roommates were local college students & we developed great friendships. The program also helped me find a internship, which expanded my professional interests in China too. I have learned and grown so much. Transformative semester.

Default avatar
MollyAn
6/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Middlebury Schools in Hangzhou

My experience in Hangzhou last semester helped me grow and learn a lot about the Chinese culture, language, and myself. The Middlebury Language Schools is a very academically rigorous program and students must be prepared for this from the beginning. We all had a language pledge which helped immensely with language improvement. However, on the other hand, it also hindered the social scene. I felt isolated at times during this program, confined to my room and stuck doing my homework. We had week excursions, but they did not seem as relaxed and casual because teachers and program directors also came. I wish there had been more activities with the other local Chinese roommates and the other American students in the program as well. I felt very stressed because of the academics because the classes were very small and the pressure to perform well increased since the teachers' focus was on their very small class of students. I also personally put a lot of pressure on myself to do well and learn the language, but that hindered my social enjoyment of the overall experience. I finally found frisbee, a few people in my program played frisbee. We went to local fields in Hangzhou to practice with other players weekly. This made my experience so much better and I am very grateful for having that outlet during my time in China. It gave me exercise, a place to meet people, and a outlet from my stress. The teachers were very kind and patient and sweet and very good at teaching us Chinese. The food and transportation in China is very affordable.

Additionally, as an adoptee from China, I look Chinese. This made it hard for me to interact with local people because they always assumed I spoke fluent Chinese, especially when with other foreigners/white people. They always assumed I was their local translator and got confused and frustrated when it became apparent that I could not speak fluent Chinese. It made my lack of language skills feel more obvious than the other American students and foreigners there because it was deliberately pointed out and drawn to attention. They also (perhaps subconsciously) went easier on white or foreign looking people, thinking it was a feat just when they could say one or two phrases in Chinese. However, when I spoke, they thought it was just surprising I couldn't speak better and I was just speaking bad Chinese. It was also hard to explain, and for Chinese people to understand, my status as an adoptee from China who had two white parents and no relation to China, other than just being born there. They asked where my parents were from, assuming they had immigrated to the United States from China earlier, or something like that situation. However, it always got a little awkward when I had to explain they were white and I don't speak Chinese at home and they were born and raised in the United States.

Overall, this experienced made me grow as a person. It made me realize that I should not take my ability to speak English and communicate freely in the United States for granted. I developed more confidence in myself because I now know I can live and travel in China where I can barely speak the language, then I must be able to do well for myself in the country I grew up in and can fluently speak its language in.

What would you improve about this program?
More social activities and integration.
Default avatar
Sam
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Time Abroad at MIC: Kunming

I attended MIC Kunming in the fall of 2016 during my junior year of college. Overall, this program/experience was extremely transformative for me. It was my first time in China, and while culture shock was indeed a real thing for me, I quickly got over it and found myself calling Kunming home within no time. The program is very well-organized, and is truly designed to help you improve your Chinese. The language pledge, which seemed daunting at first, is designed to facilitate this, as well as having a Chinese roommate. In addition, the teachers are all extremely passionate and really want to see you do well. Kunming is a beautiful city, with SO much to do, from hiking, biking, and badminton, to museums, temples, and concerts. The cafeteria food at the university is decent, but the surrounding area has tons of great restaurants. It is worth noting, however, that the program is VERY academically rigorous. Having all four classes in a semester be entirely in Chinese is no doubt a big change from what most college students are used to for a normal course-load, and definitely takes some adjusting to at first. Be prepared to memorize lots of characters each week. With that said, simply being so immersed in Chinese 24/7 for a semester will have an incredible impact on your language skills, and you'll see improvement in no time

What would you improve about this program?
At times, I felt a little too bogged down with work, and felt I couldn't go out and do things on the weekend. My exploration of Kunming and all it has to offer was limited by the work-load. Luckily, I was able to spend some time on my own in the city after the program ended, and got some good sight-seeing in.
Default avatar
Ariana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Impactful Semester Abroad

I am so grateful for my semester at Middlebury's School in Beijing!

The highlight of this experience was living with my Chinese roommate Liying. Communicating with Liying every day greatly improved my language skills and cultural understanding. Most importantly, we developed a deep friendship and are still in touch.

Middlebury's School in Beijing also provides a variety of rigorous classes that appeal to students with different interests. While the majority of my peers wanted to study politics, I was interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine and contemporary issues in China. I was able to take classes in both these areas and learned more than I anticipated. There were also students interested in art, cuisine, religion and international relations.

Middlebury's School in Beijing has an incredibly hard-working and talented group of teachers. In particular, I really appreciate that Zhang laoshi, the program director, was always available to discuss personal or academic concerns with any student.

I really enjoyed exploring Beijing over the course of my semester abroad. As the ancient and modern capitol, Beijing has many historical sites, as well as modern restaurants and art galleries. My favorite spots to explore on the weekends were "hutongs," or ancient residential communities with preserved architecture that have been maintained as homes or transformed into restaurants and shops. The city is also well known for its parks. Ultimately, Beijing's fusion of old and new makes the city a great place to learn about China. Despite its modernity and status as an international city, Beijingers did not insist on speaking English and were very friendly towards foreigners. Beijing is also a great city for outdoor lovers because it is surrounded by mountains. I particularly enjoyed hiking unrenovated sections of The Great Wall.

I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in challenging themselves, learning deeply about China and improving proficiency in Mandarin!

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

MIC Kunming

I attended MIC Kunming in Fall 2015 and had an awesome experience. Kunming is a beautiful city and, while not nearly as modern or Westernized as Shanghai or Beijing, really does have a slower pace and greater focus on leisure that made my experience abroad a pleasant one. I had never been to China before coming to Kunming and had only studied Chinese for a few years, so I found the program particularly challenging but fulfilling. Academics were undeniably rigorous; more so than I anticipated and sometimes to the exclusion of being able to do anything but study characters, but my Chinese improved by leaps and bounds.The language pledge was frustrating at times and living in China is by no means easy for the uninitiated Westerner, but it is by all means worth the challenge.