CET Beijing: Intensive Language

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About

Want an intensive academic environment where Chinese is the the top priority? CET Beijing students sign a full-time language pledge and live with a Chinese roommate. All classes are centered around language learning, and the goal is to use your Chinese out in the city, where it counts. Practice ordering at a restaurant, share stories at a local high school, go behind the scenes at an environmental protection NGO. Your one-on-one class is designed to target your particular strengths and weaknesses. Your teachers are some of the best in the field. A highlight of the program is an overnight trip to a new city--Xi'an to see the terracotta warriors, or Hangzhou to hike around beautiful West Lake. You'll live in a dorm with new furnishings, private bathrooms, and wi-fi access. This program is for students of all levels, from beginners to heritage learners. The January Term is open to students with at least 3 semesters of Chinese language instruction.

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Reviews

90%
based on 37 reviews
  • Academics 8.7
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 8.1
  • Housing 8.6
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 37
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Albert
9/10

My time in Beijing

CET Beijing Intensive Language program provided me with a wonderful learning experience. The program was certainly intensive. I spent 3-4 hours a day studying, and sometimes the workload was a bit daunting for me. The academic rigor, while intense, was really valuable and was central to my progress. Aside from the academics, CET housed me with a student from Beijing. He was a fundamental part of my experience in Beijing and I have come to know him as a friend. In tandem with academic study, during your time in Beijing it's imperative that you also practice, A LOT. I feel great now and have seen real progress (completed the equivalent of at least one year of study in the span of two months). I now feel comfortable engaging in a number of day to day activities: buying food, navigating public transportation, going clubbing, making friends, and many more. I had a great time in Beijing, and I'm sure you will too.

How can this program be improved?
I have no complaints, although the program's curriculum was quite rigorous. That being said, I think this kind of rigor is to be expected from a program like this.
Yes, I recommend this program
Albert
9/10

My time in Beijing

The CET Intensive Language Program in Beijing Provided me with a wonderful experience. The curriculum certainly felt demanding at times, but the workload facilitated real progress in my fluency of the language. Aside from the academic experience, living in Beijing without restriction was a transformative experience. My roommate was a fundamental part of my time in Beijing. Living and studying with him was great, and he was and is still a valuable friend that I can practice Mandarin with. When I come back to Beijing, It'll be nice to have a friend there. I learned how to navigate public transportation, buy food, make friends, go clubbing, and many other day to day activities all in Chinese! Overall, my experience was an amazing and memorable one. Sure it was daunting and even a little scary at first, but ultimately one of the best times of my life. I can't wait to go back.

How can this program be improved?
I have no complaints, although the academic is quite a bit. That being said, academic pressure is to be expected from a program such as this.
Yes, I recommend this program
Simone
8/10

CET Beijing Language Intensive

The program is structured very well. Class work is intense and the language pledge is exhausting. But everyone's Chinese improved significantly. The dorms are VERY nice (almost like hotels) and the staff are all very devoted to the students. The only complaints would be that work was thrown at us at random occasions unexpectedly. Teachers would expect us to complete work in a short amount of time which did not seem fair, and said work was not on the syllabus. Otherwise, the weekend trips were great fun and the director of the program didn't baby us, but at the same time gave us enough support and help about anything and everything.

How can this program be improved?
Plan out all work required from students and put it in the syllabus.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Abby
8/10

I don't know why I left...

Don't get me wrong, I love America, but CET may have forced me to give China a first-place rank. I started my time in China with the CET Spring Beijing Intensive Term and then I opted to continue into CET Summer Beijing Intensive. CET is incredible because firstly, my Chinese level catapulted from absolutely 0 speaking ability to being able to whole full-blown and fluid conversations with locals. In addition, I will be taking an Advanced Modern Chinese course when I start at university this fall. Secondly, through my 6 glorious months based in Beijing, I was able not only to explore a world-famous city, but also to branch out into China: Xi'an, Tianjin, Shanghai, to name a few. CET and its language pledge (which I would not change for the world) gave me the foundation of language skill confidence to be able to reach far beyond my comfort zone and venture into other Chinese cities. I am so grateful to CET for gifting me with advanced Chinese language skill and a plethora of new cultural experiences. I often question why I came home...

How can this program be improved?
I think this program could be improved if academic rigor and intensity were increased a little bit. At times, I felt that I had too much time on my hands...
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Shiloh
7/10

CET Beijing

All in all the program was good. The environment was truly immersive. We were given many opportunities to use our Chinese, and in many cases there was no other option than to use Chinese. The majority of local places did not have a way to communicate in English, so Chinese was the only option. The teachers at CET were absolutely fantastic. They were probably the best part of the program. The Academics were very helpful and rigorous, but without the excellent teachers we had, we definitely would not have learned as much as we did. As far as what was the best part about the experience, I would say the city of Beijing in itself. Beijing is a very large and interesting city with many interesting places, so get out and explore. The homework is a lot, but you generally will have plenty of time to check out the city. So explore! When speaking Chinese, the most rewarding times were always when I was alone, exploring the city and engaging with locals in a natural way.

How can this program be improved?
I would say that one part that could be improved is definitely the roomates. In this program each student is placed with a Capitol Normal University student. It doesnt seem like these roomates are screened very well. Some were great, and others really didnt care about being there and didnt try very hard to communicate or do things with you. So I think greater care could be taken in selecting the roomates.
Yes, I recommend this program
Dillan
9/10

Challenging but Rewarding

This program was very intense as the name suggests, especially since I was a Chinese beginner. Not being able to speak English for such a long time allowed me to be an observer, which was a very rewarding experience. Get ready for a semester of good food, great friends and going to Salintun every weekend. You will also get to see may great Chinese cultural destinations. My Chinese skills improved so much and I loved every minute of this program. I would suggest this to anyone looking to improve their Chinese speaking ability!

How can this program be improved?
The only way this program would be improved is to maybe lessen the pledge a little bit. I felt that the RA was a little dramatic at times and over reacted when even one word of English was spoken.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Robin
10/10

Best Time Ever

CET Beijing is probably one of the best programs there is in CET. I loved it. It was absolutely amazing. The dorm rooms were very immaculate because there would be someone that would take the trash out about 3 times per week and someone would come in and make your bed once a week (if you lived in zhongguofangzi). I know if you live in keyuan that they take your trash out once a day and make your bed more often than in zhongguofangzi. The classrooms were suitable to the students, and the teachers were ever so friendly and kind. The other students were just as friendly, if not more so and everyone was just all around very sweet. My best advice is to find a group of people to become friends with and do stuff with, such as exploring or shopping. But just so you know, it's okay to do things by yourself too. A lot of people might not want to go see a temple or go to this particular restaurant that you want to go to and that's perfectly fine, you can go there by yourself. But I do suggest not doing everything on your own because it would get lonely at times if you did.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Daniel
10/10

CET Beijing: Intensive Language

CET Beijing: Intensive Language was more than anything I hoped for. It is very difficult to even think of a single complaint I had about this program. They were very receptive to my needs, and no matter what the topic, I felt like I always had someone I could go to.

Academically, the program was adequately challenging. Although we progressed very quickly, the teachers provided us tools such as office hours to make sure we could succeed and get the help we needed. The progress every student made was evident, and we were all very happy with how much we improved during our time at the program. I especially enjoyed the daily one-on-one sessions the curriculum included, where every student was paired up with a teacher to converse for 25 minutes every day. By giving us an opportunity to talk about topics that were not strictly included in our textbooks, our language comprehension became much more versatile, enabling us to converse fluidly even with natives.

Recreationally, CET did an excellent job of keeping a balance between providing opportunities to venture Beijing by organizing trips (for example, to the Great Wall or the opera) that students could sign up for and giving us freedom. For example, if some students decided they were not too interested in the opera, they could go to an alleyway on their own and try traditional Chinese street food. And since Beijing's public transit is very easy to learn and use, many students took advantage of the freedom CET provided the students with. Some even took the bullet train and went on a weekend trip to different cities such as Shanghai!

The housing situation was very neat and comfortable. Honestly, it was better than any housing accommodation I have ever received from my university in the States. It was very spacious, came with ample furniture, and each room had a bathroom that was very convenient. Although the dormitories had an air filtration system since Beijing's air pollution is a concern to many, the CET staff additionally offered filtration machines in the rooms of those who were particularly sensitive or concerned.

All in all, this program gave me a summer I could never forget. For students who are unsure what to do during their summer, I strongly recommend this program, regardless of if they have studied the language before or not. At the program, I met students from a wide variety of majors and backgrounds, and they all took back valuable lessons and memories. It is the perfect balance of academia and fun, all while making many new friends!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jesus
8/10

CET Beijing

Previously I had no Chinese knowledge which made the program difficult in that respect. I expected this to occur but as I began to learn Chinese it became more difficult because there was phrases or words I understood but not the entire meaning of the sentence. The language pledge was the most difficult barrier of all because I felt that I missed out on a lot of potential friendships because I could not communicate with anyone given my limitations. However, I still found myself around students at a higher level than me which helped me be constantly surrounded by the language and little by little I began to have some conversations with higher level students. If you are looking to begin studying Chinese abroad without any prior knowledge, prepare to be challeneged but do not give up, patience is everything.

How can this program be improved?
There was administrative issues in which students had to do a lot of little, petty things on their own. However, given the fact that we did not know our way around the city and that we had a lot of homework, it was frustrating traveling around Beijing wasting hours which could have been utilized as study time for the next day’s exam. For example, students had to “volunteer” to host and rent out a costume for China night, a day in which we performed plays, sang and danced to practice our Chinese. But no student wanted to volunteer, they were practically forced to since no one else desired to do it. Next thing you know we found ourselves wasting more than 4 hours renting out costumes that the program did not even tell us where we were supposed to do this in the first place. We also had to pay for it ourselves which was absurd. All while there was a lot of administrative employees standing around the office pretending to be busy or maybe not and simply entertaining themselves with their phones.
Yes, I recommend this program
Taryn
8/10

Greatly Improved Chinese

I recommend this program to anyone looking for a challenging but rewarding immersive language experience. Looking back on my first day in the program, my Chinese rapidly improved, to the point where I feel comfortable enough to discuss anything with anyone! The CNU campus is a very welcoming area, and the people of Beijing are always gracious. For me the best aspect was the enthusiasm and effort exhibited by our teachers. I genuinelly believe they cared about us and our wellbeing during this program.

How can this program be improved?
About halfway through the semester our level's academic and exam structure unexpectedly changed, as well a few changes in teachers. This may have been specific to this class and this semester, but the lack of stability at that time made things more stressful than they needed to be. This also seemed stressful for the teachers as well. However, they knew we we're having difficulties and so the next week was lighter.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Shane
10/10

Making the Best of Beijing CET

The Beijing CET program is not only a language program, but by default a cultural program as well. Why? Because all teachers are Chinese, and most of them have never taught abroad. Being taught Mandarin Chinese by a fully native faculty is very insightful and useful in getting insider perspectives on topics discussed in class ranging from politics to the arts, to environmental protection. Many of the opinions you hear will challenge your own, and this is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of being in China; to hear these contrasting opinions and to try to understand why they exist, rather than simply listening and then immediately providing your own opinion before reaching that understanding. Suggestions for having a great time in China:
1. Travel alone as often as possible, interact with Chinese people. You will make countless friends, business connections, collaborators(for artists), and people that can make your life much more rich and informed.
2. On a similar note, do not spend most of your time with your classmates, it will not be worth it, no matter how fun it seems. If you wanted easy camaraderie based on a mutual home-country/culture, why did you come to China?
3. Indulge Chinese people while you are here: forget about your own practices, your pet peeves, your habits, learn all of these anew from the Chinese people around you and you will gain an entirely new understanding of East-Asian thought-process and life. If you do not, you will find yourself at odds with Chinese people at every turn, and will end up living in a foreign cultural sphere within China.
To Sum it Up: This program was wonderful, but it won't be that way on its own.
Beijing CET is a platform, so use it to go far and delve deep into China, in my opinion, the best place in the world for a lone traveler!

How can this program be improved?
It's an extremely difficult task, but I believe separation from fellow foreign classmates needs to be more encouraged, or rather, interaction with Chinese people and/or Chinese roommates more effectively yet gracefully promoted. The negative effects of foreigner/classmate group weekly hangouts are far too serious in my opinion. In these group settings, such as going out together on weekends, many people start speaking English because they do not understand or are unhappy with their ability to express themselves, whereas when with only Chinese people, this problem would not be had. Additionally, these settings inhibit them from learning anything about Chinese way of life, instead they live as they would at home, but in China. If I come up with any worthwhile ideas regarding how to push Chinese-foreign interactions along better in the future, I will contact CET with the suggestion. Thanks.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Abby
9/10

Good Experience! 不错

I really enjoyed my time at CET this past spring. I am finishing my gap year after graduating high school/ starting college and I am so thrilled to have used my time at CET to learn an entirely new language. The Capital Normal University (CNU) campus in West Beijing where CET is based is very convenient and of course living in the country of the language you're studying improves your level faster than any other method. Immersion is the way to go if you want your language level to improve immensely and CET exudes that idea in more ways than one. The program and staff are excited to be here teaching Chinese and there are countless activities, excursions, and outings available through the program itself and friends met while here. I loved my time this spring so much I'm doing their summer program, too.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Lorelei
8/10

明白

CET Beijing Intensive language program allowed me to improve my Chinese at a incredible pace. At some points it felt like I was not improving at all- but when I called my friends (also Chinese majors) back home or had a full conversation with a stranger in Chinese, I knew that my Chinese language level was constantly improving. The professors and environment that CET exposed me to has made me feel comfortable with the language, to the point that when I came back to America I still found myself saying "谢谢", "好", "对", and other simple phrases to my friends, family, and strangers. Another example of how CET allowed me to be more comfortable with Chinese is that some words I think of first in Chinese. The language environment was a unique experience that every single person benefited from. I think my favorite part of the program was that it allowed me to slowly find my personality in Chinese, for example, I loved being able to make jokes with my friends and roommate. The program classes were not as intensive as I thought they would be (probably due to the lower level I was placed in), but that did give me a chance to explore Beijing and other parts of China.

How can this program be improved?
My friends in the program and I have discussed an additional class that would allow us to study "elementary things" that a lot of us don't know. A class or extra worksheets/information that focuses on colors, shapes, fruits, vegetables, tools, and more everyday items would be beneficial to all students. While you learn some of these things through your day to day experience at CET, you are only exposed to those items you are around in China.

I personally wish I would have been placed higher, but there we pros and cons to staying in my placement.

As for the language pledge, which I loved, There should be less of a threat of "you'll be kicked out" and more emphasis on taking students in and having a discussion reminding them why the language pledge is important for themselves and other people around them.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Aditya
8/10

My Summer in Beijing

I had a great time in Beijing academically. I learned a lot from my teachers, who were extremely patient and caring. It was only after returning home that I realised how useful the program was to improving my language skills and how versatile my skills had become after spending time immersed there.

The university's location is also great for hanging out with locals, and the roommate component of the program is a great way to have a friend that can support your Chinese study. I think some roommates are not as interested in you as others, and this is unfortunate. Hopefully CET can do a better job checking the roommates to make sure they are participating in the program for the right reasons.

How can this program be improved?
I think the program's students can often be very relaxed with the language pledge and will choose to speak English during their spare time. This is very difficult to change because students will find ways to break the pledge if they are against speaking Chinese. Here, it is important for passionate students to make the effort to immerse themselves with Chinese friends and look outside the program's participants for friendship, as these participants can be very distracting towards language growth. I don't believe this is CET's fault as the organisers try their best to enforce the pledge.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sadie
9/10

CET Beijing Intensive Language

This program was definitely challenging both academically and personally, but overall I am so glad I did it! I am confident that over the 8 weeks of the program I gained new skills, a broader perspective, and an appreciation of difference, and I came to realize and understand the major differences in culture and society between America and China. Our classes were manageable, though the work we had to put in every week could get overwhelming, and getting around communicating just in Mandarin was daunting. I definitely improved my confidence in conversing with native speakers, however, and I learned about the culture and lifestyle of Beijing locals, discovered the most popular areas and activities among my generation of Chinese people, and picked up plenty of area-specific vocabulary that I only learned by being immersed in the city environment. Apart from practicing new vocabulary and sentence structures in class, our teachers took us on trips to interview natives, explore nearby areas, and watch movies to apply our new knowledge, as well as encouraging us to practice speaking with our Chinese roommates and each other as much as possible. Our extracurriculars and excursions with classmates were super valuable in using and applying new vocabulary.

How can this program be improved?
The work paid off in the end, but during the semester I sometimes felt overwhelmed and didn't have time to go out and do or see everything I wanted to. I also think more communication and student input in general would be helpful, as I heard from a couple classmates that they didn't get along with their roommates as well as they would have hoped. With housing, I just wish we'd had a common area where we could do work - the classrooms that were open had to be locked at a certain time and lobby could get pretty busy and noisy.
Yes, I recommend this program

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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...