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Elementary Chinese, Beijing Normal University - Summer

This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.

Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Your UCEAP Network
Academic Information
Program Overview

This nine-week beginning standard Chinese (Putonghua, also called Mandarin) language summer program is for students with no prior exposure to Chinese language. It is intensive and intends to provide the first year of Chinese language study; however, students progress at different rates and have tested into various levels upon return to UC ranging from second semester or third quarter to second year. 

Chinese in mainland China is taught using pinyin Romanization and standard simplified Chinese characters. Placement exams, texts, newspapers, and signage are in simplified characters.



  • Classes are with UC students only.
  • Class size averages between 10 and 20 students.
  • Classes meet in the mornings for 20 hours per week of lectures, discussion sections, and lab sessions.
  • One class focuses on conversation and listening; the other on reading and writing.
  • Tutors provide individual or group tutoring in the afternoons or evenings.

You may also participate in excursions and non-credit courses in Chinese culture.



  • 15 UC quarter units (two courses of 7.5 UC quarter units each)
  • Courses must be taken for the full approved units (the variable unit option is not available)
  • Courses must be taken for letter grades (the pass/no pass option is not permitted) 
Graduate students in the summer Chinese language programs focus on language acquisition. Individual research goals are very difficult to pursue during the summer.


The Study Center can arrange for Chinese student tutors. The tutor can answer questions, correct your writing, and serve as a general resource. The tutors are usually graduate students from the Chinese or English Departments. You must be proactive when working with a tutor; tutors are prepared to help explain what you do not understand, but they are not responsible for re-teaching course material. Past students have found their tutors to be helpful both with academic work and as a connection with Chinese society.
Academic Culture

Host University vs. UC Courses

Make a special effort to adapt to the teaching style and requirements of your classes and do not assume that they will be as they are at UC. Approaches vary from teacher to teacher. The most common difference is that students have fewer opportunities for classroom participation. Teachers generally assume that American students will raise issues; in some cases instructors even require student participation. Be sensitive to the cultural norms of Chinese teaching and the individual attitudes of instructors.
In the language courses, you may find the Chinese teaching methodology different from UC. In some courses, there is more focus on memorizing conversations and reading drills than there is on freestyle speaking and conversations. The majority of the courses are also heavily focused on learning characters.
Course Information

Do not expect to have enough free time to pursue an internship during the summer program.

Exams and Grading
Attendance is taken in Chinese language classes, and absences result in a lower or failing grade. Attendance policies are determined by the school and the instructor; it is your responsibility to know the policy for each course.
Exams in the language curriculum often are made up by staff, not necessarily in close consultation with the teacher. Tests are standardized for each level and may not always cover material exactly as it was provided in class.
Grades for this program are usually available in late August or early September.


For more information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.

Extending UCEAP Participation
Cultural Awareness
Educate Yourself
"Try to leave behind your Western notions of the world and try to think of new behaviors in Chinese terms. It will make you more understanding and tolerant." - UCEAP Student
Social Conduct
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation

Official UCEAP Start Date

Travel Planning
Travel to Your Host Country
Travel Documents
The “F” visa is recommended for summer students. It does not require a physical health exam. The duration of the “F” visa can be up to 180 days, at the discretion of the consulate. You can request a single-, double-, or multiple-entry visa. However, the consulate determines the type of visa issued. If you only have a single-entry visa and wish to travel outside of the Chinese mainland (including trips to Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan ) during the term, you will need to pay for a reentry permit each time you return. Contact your local Chinese consulate for details.
Students with Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan passports must obtain “home visit permits” to enter China and do not need to apply for a visa. Contact your local Chinese consulate for more information. 
Packing Tips
Return Travel
You cannot leave the academic program before your exams are officially over. You are not permitted to ask for a change in exam dates to accommodate your holiday travel schedule or because of non-refundable plane tickets. See the program calendar on the UCEAP website for departure dates.
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Handling Money Abroad
At BNU, there is a Bank of China international ATM south of the Lanhui Gongyu dorm. There is another ATM beside the east gate of BNU (on campus). You can find HSBC ATMs about four to five blocks from the BNU campus (near Carrefour). Other international ATMs are located wherever foreigners frequent, such as the Lufthansa Center or the China World Hotel.
Communications Abroad
Internet Access
Each dorm room for international students at BNU has Internet access. If you take a laptop, you can open an Internet account with your student ID for a monthly fee of about RMB 60. There are also two computer labs on the BNU campus available for an hourly fee. The Beijing Study Center will help you set up a BNU Internet account upon arrival. It takes about a week to complete the process.
Mail & Shipments
Housing & Meals
You will live at BNU in an on-campus dormitory for international students in double rooms (two UC students to a room). The newly renovated Lanhui Gongyu dorm offers a daily cleaning service, frequent sheet laundry, and all bedding and sheets are provided. Rooms have private bathrooms with a shower and toilet, TV, air-conditioning, and a small safe for storing valuables. Each room in the Lanhui Gongyu has two beds, two desks and lamps, a small refrigerator, bookshelf space, and a wardrobe closet. There is a card-activated telephone in each room that you can use to make off-campus calls within the city. With a calling card purchased in China (such as the IP card), you can also use the room phone to make international calls. Most students buy cell phones after arrival. You cannot cook in the rooms in the Lanhui Gongyu.
All UC students are housed in the same dorm (often with entire floors dedicated to UC students). UC students are assigned other UC students as roommates. Since there is no housing application for the summer, it is not possible to request a specific roommate. However, if you arrive at the same time as a friend on the program, you can request to live together, or you may ask for specific UC roommate assignments during check-in.
You are responsible for paying a deposit and the total cost of the room to Lanhui Gongyu in cash (RMB) immediately upon arrival at check-in or within five business days after the check-in. Travelers checks and credit cards are not accepted. The amount you need to pay will be given in the UCEAP Predeparture Checklist in the spring.

Financial aid will not make housing payments on your behalf. Financial aid offices report financial aid commitments to UCEAP. These funds are applied to the UCEAP student account. If there is a credit balance, UCEAP will request a disbursement based on the UCEAP financial aid disbursement schedule.


You are required to register with local authorities within 24 hours whenever your housing changes, even if you are sleeping on a friend’s sofa for two weeks. If you do not follow proper registration requirements, you may experience difficulties with local police or other authorities and you may be fined. UCEAP will not assist you in this matter.
Dorm Safety
Lanhui Gongyu has washing machines on the fifth and seventh floor. Students use a prepaid card that includes a deposit. When you leave the dorm at the end of the program, return the card and the dorm will return the deposit.  

On campus, there are numerous student cafeterias (about five) where you need to use a prepaid meal card, which the Study Center will help you obtain. The 20 RMB card deposit can be returned when you return the card. Head out any campus gate and you’ll have a short walk to countless restaurants.
There are two places to eat conveniently located in the Lanhui Gongyu, but do not limit yourself to these slightly more costly options. The dining hall cafeteria is clean and normally crowded during lunch (try to get there early for best choices). Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available. There is also a restaurant at the Lanhui Gongyu, with sit-down meals, but it is more expensive than the cafeteria. On the second floor is a small convenience store, popular for ice cream and snacks.
Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation
Extracurricular Activities

Gym Facilities

Various athletic facilities are on the BNU campus, including basketball courts, volleyball courts, badminton courts, and the running track and field near the Lanhui Gongyu. These facilities are free for students. The tennis court and some facilities inside the gymnasium are charged by the hour. There is a pool in the Qiujiduan Gym on campus. You can purchase a monthly card or quarterly card but there are some time restrictions on use of the pool. Other gyms are available in the city at varying prices.
Students with Disabilities
Travel Sign-out Form

Post-Summer Break

The Study Center may be able to store your bags at the Study Center Office at Peking University. In the past, Lanhui Apartment has also helped store students’ bags for the price of RMB 4 per piece of luggage per day. More details will be provided toward the end of the summer before vacation.
Work in China
LGBTIQ Students
UCEAP Insurance
Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities
UCEAP strongly recommends that you have an emergency credit card on hand or quick access to cash in case of an emergency.
Physical Health
Prescription Medication
Mental Health
Health Risks
Contact Lenses
Drinking Water
Air Quality
Staying Safe
Minimize Risk
Crime & Prevention
Civil Unrest
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Natural Disasters
Personal Emergency Plan
UCEAP Contingency Planning
Fire Safety
In An Emergency
The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.