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Language & Culture, 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
In this six-week summer program, you will study written and conversational standard Chinese (Putonghua, also called Mandarin). You will take a language proficiency test at the beginning of the program to determine your placement into intermediate or advanced courses. You may place into different levels for writing and conversation. Adjustments in class placements can be made during the first week of instruction only.
 
Chinese in mainland China is taught using pinyin Romanization and standard simplified Chinese characters. Placement exams, texts, newspapers, and signage are in simplified characters. If your background is in traditional script (complex characters), you are urged to prepare for this adjustment.
 

Classes

  • You will attend classes with UC BNU fall and Peking year students. 
  • Classes are with UC students only. 
  • Class size averages between 10 and 20 students. Classes may be smaller depending on the number of participants in the program. 
  • Classes meet in the mornings for four hours per day, five days a week over the six weeks for a total of 120 hours. 
  • One class focuses on conversation and listening; the other on reading and writing.
  • Tutors provide individual or group tutoring in the afternoons or evenings.

Requirements

  • Language placement test
  • 12 UC quarter units (two courses worth 6 UC quarter units each)
  • Courses must be taken for the full approved units; the variable unit option is not available. If you extend, this program becomes your ILP and the variable unit option may be used at the time the extension is approved.
  • Letter grades for both courses (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.

 

Tutors

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; however, this is changing as increasing numbers of the faculty have spent periods of study or research abroad. 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.
 
Even if you have a high level of Chinese language ability, expect to have some difficulty understanding Chinese university instructors, some of whom have regional accents, speak rapidly, or use specialized terminology. Approaching this situation as a challenge rather than a frustration will enhance your success and enjoyment in China.
 
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.
 
Exercise self-discipline and initiative, and organize your time and activities to give priority to your academic work. Your academic experience will depend on the interest and diligence you put into it. Be prepared to independently invest time and thought in each class. The course materials are likely to be less structured and less clearly outlined than in UC courses. Week-by-week syllabi with specific reading assignments are rare.
 
Course Information
Internships

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.
 
Phones
 
Mail & Shipments
Housing & Meals
Housing
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
 
Laundry
 
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.
Meals
 

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
Insurance
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.