• About this Program
    • Program Overview
    • On Location in Beijing
  • Academics
    • Summer Curriculum
    • Faculty
    • Credits, Grades, and Transcripts
  • Field Component
    • Summer Internships
  • Calendar and Fees
    • Academic Calendar
    • Program Fees
  • Daily Life
    • Student Housing
    • Intensive Student Homestays
    • Chinese Language Partners
    • Food and Meals
  • Activities and Excursions
    • Extra-curricular Classes
    • Local Field Visits
    • Field Study Trip
  • Already Accepted?
    • Already Accepted?
  • Photos

Take the Next Step

Get more information about Alliance programs and scholarships!

Summer in Beijing

Program Overview

This 9-credit curriculum is designed to provide students with an immersive experience in Chinese language or within the Chinese workplace, contextualized through the study of contemporary China. Students have the opportunity to tailor their summer in Beijing to focus on building practical skills and knowledge related to their own interests in Chinese language, culture, and society.


  • 3.0 GPA minimum
  • Enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at an accredited U.S. institution

Although no prior study of Chinese is required, students’ Chinese language proficiency may affect their internship placements. The internship field in China’s large cities is highly competitive and the number of available placements is limited.

Academic Structure

For a total of 9 credits in the summer term, students customize their academic curriculum from the following options:

  • English-taught core course
  • Internship
  • Chinese language
  • Intensive Chinese language

Classes are offered exclusively for Alliance students. Chinese language course placement is contingent upon the results of a placement exam after arrival in China. 

On Location in Beijing

Fresh from a massive urban renewal in conjunction with the 2008 Olympic Games, China’s bustling capital city of Beijing is the nation’s political, educational, and cultural center. It has more universities and research institutes than any other city in China, making it the intellectual hub of the country. Beijing’s 3,000 years of history is reflected in its art, architecture, music, and traditions. Among its innumerable attractions are the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, and the nearby Great Wall. While the city is replete with historical treasures, modern Beijing is buzzing with restaurants, museums, and movie theaters.

Check out this interactive map to locate the Alliance's resources across Beijing:

View Alliance On Location: Beijing in a larger map.


Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) is located just east of the vibrant and international university neighborhood of Wudaokou (五道口) in the Haidian District(海淀区)of North West Beijing. Wudaokou is close to a number of universities and research institutes and is home to a growing student population. Minutes from campus, students will find themselves in the heart of Wudaokou surrounded by a large shopping mall, movie theater, grocery stores, and many restaurants serving Japanese, Korean, Mexican and American cuisines in addition to a wide variety of Chinese cuisines. Students also have easy access to coffee shops and book stores along with other cultural resources and the rich academic ambience in the immediate vicinity of BLCU and the Haidian District at large. The Wudaokou subway stop, located on line 13, makes exploring the entire city extremely convenient. Even the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube of the 2008 Olympic Games are just a short bus ride away. BLCU’s exciting central location is a perfect place for the international student in Beijing. 

Beijing Language and Culture University

Founded in 1962, the Beijing Language and Culture University (北京语言大学)is considered to be one of the nation’s premier institutions for the teaching of Chinese language and culture to foreigners. The majority of Chinese Language textbooks are written at BLCU by BLCU professors. These books are used in Chinese classrooms across the United States and throughout the world. BLCU confers degrees at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels and is comprised of 11 faculties and research institutes. The university hosts 14,000 foreign and Chinese students. It is located in the Haidian district, which is home to the majority of Beijing’s universities.

Summer Curriculum

Customize your academic experience to make the most of your time in China: select 9 credits of classes focused on your unique interests. Immerse yourself in Chinese language study, spend the summer interning, or focus on language and culture studies.

  • If Chinese language and culture ignite your interest… enroll in the Alliance core course (3 credits) and non-intensive Chinese language (6 credits).
  • If you want to gain work experience and boost your resume… enroll in the Alliance core course (3 credits) and an internship (6 credits).
  • If you want to rapidly improve your language skills or fulfill degree requirements in foreign language… enroll in the intensive Chinese language course (9 credits).


Click hyperlinked course titles to view syllabi

SOCI260 Contemporary Culture and Social Change in China (6 hours/week, 3 credits)

This course examines the transformation in Chinese society since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, with emphasis on the changes brought about in the wake of the economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. Topics include the developments in urban and rural social transformation introduced by the reforms, the changing relationship between the individual and society, the urban and rural divide, and population control and the one child policy. Students explore the social consequences of China's rapid integration into the global economy.

INTS380 Internship (25 hours/week, 6 credits)

All Alliance summer internship students are guaranteed a placement, with the understanding that language ability and other professional competencies will determine the type of internship that is possible for them. Interns are placed in Chinese, joint-venture, or foreign-owned companies and not-for-profit organizations. Interns spend approximately 25 hours per week (or 187.5 hours for the term) at the internship site and complete a final academic paper (12-15) with an accompanying oral presentation. Internships are supervised by a faculty advisor who meets with students at least twice individually and at least three times as a group.

Chinese Language (15 hours/week, 6 credits)

No prior language study is required for admission. Upon taking a placement exam after arrival, students will be placed into the appropriate language level. All courses emphasize listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Alliance programs teach Simplified Chinese Characters, which are standardized Chinese characters officially used in mainland China. Language classes have a maximum of 8 students per class. Click here to view a full listing of textbooks and lessons by Alliance program and course.

Intensive Chinese Language (21 hours/week, 9 credits)

Two semesters of prior Chinese language study are required for admission. Upon taking a placement exam after arrival, students are placed into the appropriate language level. All courses teach listening, speaking, reading, and writing and include opportunities for practical language application outside the classroom. Alliance programs teach Simplified Chinese Characters, which are standardized Chinese characters officially used in mainland China. Language classes have a maximum of 8 students per class. Click here to view a full listing of textbooks and lessons by Alliance program and course.


Dr. David Groth, SOCI 260: Popular Culture and Social Change in China

Dr. Jeroen Groenewegen-Lau, INTS 380S: Summer Internship

Credits, Grades, and Transcripts

A study abroad experience is first and foremost an academic experience. All Alliance for Global Education courses have undergone a faculty review and approval process, and are transcripted by an accredited U.S. university. All Alliance programs from Summer 2014 and beyond receive transcripts issued by Butler University.   For all Alliance programs through Spring 2014, transcripts were issued by Arcadia University.

While in most cases students who have received approval from their home institution to study on an Alliance program can be assured of credits transferring, it is a student’s responsibility to work with their study abroad or academic advisor and home school faculty or academic departments to ensure credit transfer for specific courses.  

Credits and Accreditation

Credits granted for Alliance courses are identified in course listings on the Curriculum page for each program, and appear on the official transcript issued at the completion of a student's term. Credit is issued in U.S. semester hours, ensuring that students continue to make progress toward their degrees and verifying the full-time course load they completed while abroad.

All Alliance courses have been reviewed and approved by Butler University’s Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee. Butler University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Programs approved by the Butler University College of Business—which include the Alliance’s International Business Program in Shanghai—are accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


Students receive a letter grade on a scale from A to F for every course they take while enrolled on an Alliance program. Withdrawals (W) may be granted due to exceptional circumstances. Although policies at students' home institutions may differ, the Alliance does not permit students to take courses on a credit/no credit or pass/fail basis. Student grades are determined by criteria set forth in course syllabi.  

The grading scale used in determining letter grades for Alliance courses is as follows:


At the conclusion of a program, an official transcript is sent to the participant's home school, with an unofficial copy forwarded to the participant. 

Because timelines for final evaluation may vary due to respective program calendars or administrative structures of partner universities abroad, transcripts may take longer to issue than they do at U.S. institutions. While the timeline varies by program, a general timeline for issuing transcripts is:

  • Fall programs - transcript issued in late February
  • Spring and Summer programs - transcript issued in late September

Transcripts are not released for students with an outstanding balance of program fees or other charge incurred while on the program. Students enrolling in consecutive terms with the Alliance do not receive their first term transcript until their second term fees are paid in full.

Students in Alliance programs from Summer 2014 and beyond can request additional transcripts of their transcripts online at any time from Butler University's online transcript ordering service provided by the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization serving the higher education community. 

Students in Alliance programs through Spring 2014 can request additional copies of transcripts online or in writing at any time from the Arcadia University Registrar's Office.

If you have a question about the transcripting process or timeline, please feel free to contact your Student Services Manager.

Summer Internships

In Beijing, students have the opportunity to participate in a 6-credit internship at sites that may include Chinese and foreign businesses, NGOs, and government organizations. Students are not required to have experience in Chinese language, but will find that proficiency may limit placement opportunities. Students will be expected to complete the academic requirements of their internship to receive credit.

GETTING AN INTERNSHIP: The Alliance makes every effort to place student interns at companies or organizations that match the organization’s needs with what each student brings to the table - including but not limited to the student’s Chinese language level and communication skills, prior experience, and work competencies. Students should not contact organizations themselves. The placement process begins with the submission of the Field Component Form during the program application process, and placements are typically finalized after an in-person interview in China. 

For more information, see the Beijing Internship Handbook.

Featured Internship Placement

Allison Sherry (University of Illinois)

"I worked for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies at the East Asia Headquarters, helping specifically with their disaster management team. I worked on everything from English editing to writing drafts of evaluation reports of ongoing projects. A definite highlight for me was when my supervisor asked me to draft a preliminary proposal for a plan of action in a community that had recently been damaged in an earthquake. I got to take everything I’d learned so far in the semester and bring it together to write a project proposal that would help so many people. I think that the internship has definitely made me feel more connected to China as a whole, rather than just Beijing. I would go to work and I’d learn about all these different problems in different parts of China and how the IFRC were helping to change people’s situations and that made this huge country of so many people feel a lot smaller and a lot closer."

Sample of Past Beijing Internships

Although the Alliance makes every effort to accommodate student preferences during the placement process, applicants are also encouraged to be flexible. Certain fields and industry sectors may limit the types of work available to undergraduate interns. The internship field in China’s large cities is highly competitive and the number of available placements is limited.

  • CERNET-Blackboard Information Technology (Beijing) Co. Ltd, a Chinese-American joint venture providing online education services worldwide
  • Samsung OpenTide China, a convergent management and digital marketing consulting firm
  • International Committee of the Red Cross, an independent organization ensuring humanitarian assistance for victims of war and other situations of violence
  • Huiling Community Services, a charitable organization helping mentally challenged individuals and orphans learn basic life skills
  • Peking University International Economic Law Institute, a research think-tank servicing multinational corporations and organizations
  • American Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization representing over 2,700 individuals from 1,200 U.S. companies doing business in China
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s largest non-profit global network that addresses pressing environmental challenges
  • Fashion Republic, a Chinese fashion start-up providing an online directory that aggregates fashion products and provides a creative platform for consumers

Academic Calendar

Summer 2015 term: June 17 - August 17

The Alliance Orientation is mandatory. You should make your travel plans accordingly. More details can be found in the Accepted Students: Travel Arrangements section.

Given the program’s busy academic schedule, weekly local activities, and excursions, the Alliance strongly discourages students from hosting visitors until the end of the term. Please encourage family and/or friends to visit after the program has ended.

2015 Summer Beijing Program Calendar

  • Suggested flight departure: June 16
  • Arrival in Beijing: June 17
  • Orientation: June 18-21
  • Classes begin: June 22
  • Field Study Trip*: July 24-26
  • Independent Travel Long-weekend*: July 31 - August 2
  • Students may depart: August 15
  • Students must move out of housing (by 12 noon): August 17

* Organized trip dates are subject to change at any time.

Program Fees

Summer 2015 Program    $ 7,100


The program cost includes tuition and fees, pre-departure materials, guidance with applying for a visa, orientation, housing, weekly activities, all textbooks, the services of a full-time Resident Director, medical and evacuation insurance, and a three-day field study trip. 

The program price does not include airfare to China, meals, passport and visa fees, independent travel, and other items not mentioned as included. Non-intensive language students who opt to live with a Chinese host family must pay an additional fee. 

Our breakdown of summer 2015 program fees includes an itemized list of additional expenses students may encounter abroad.


The Alliance encourages students to enroll for more than one term and to consider studying with more than one Alliance program. Some students choose to spend fall term in one location and spring term in another. Others continue in our summer term after completing spring. Students who continue into a second term with the Alliance receive a $500 discount on the program fee for the second term. All combinations (two semesters, semester plus summer, two semesters plus summer) are possible.

Student Housing

Students who are not enrolled in the Intensive Chinese Language option are housed in the International Student Dorm #17 in double rooms with other Alliance students. Rooms include: two single beds, two desks, two chairs, small book shelves, cabinets, desk lamps, TV, and air-conditioning, and a private bathroom. They are also wired for high-speed internet. Bed linens, including blankets and pillows, are provided by the dorm and cleaned once a week. Towels are not provided. Each floor is equipped with washing machines. Students can purchase tokens for the machines at the front desk of the dorm. Tokens cost approximately 4 RMB for the washing machine and 8 RMB for the dryer. There is also a kitchen with a stove and microwave on each floor. Students are able to borrow some basic cooking equipment from the Alliance.

Intensive Student Homestays

All students studying Intensive Chinese Language are required to live with a host family. Other students who have completed at least two semesters of Chinese may also be eligible for the homestay option.

Through placements with a Chinese host families for the duration of the summer term, students gain an in-depth understanding of Chinese family dynamics and traditions through sharing meals and participating in other family activities.

Homestays provide students with an excellent opportunity to develop a more intimate understanding of Chinese culture and language through discussing and witnessing topics on Chinese culture, tradition and social life raised in the classroom with locals working and living in Beijing up close. Moreover, students who choose this option find countless opportunities to improve their Chinese language skills.

Certain meals are provided by students’ host families. See the Food and Meals section for more information on which meals are included in the program fee.

Chinese Language Partners

Each student who enrolls in summer Chinese language study is paired with a Chinese graduate student whose major is teaching Chinese as a foreign language. Alliance students and language partners meet one-on-one for Chinese tutoring three times a week for an hour per session. However, students and their language partners often meet more regularly than the minimum requirement to explore Beijing together. Language partners provide Alliance students with additional opportunities practice their Chinese in an informal setting, pick up popular Mandarin slang, and deepen their cultural understanding. In addition to tutoring, language partners help orient Alliance students to campus life and serve as valuable cultural resources throughout the summer.

Chinese language partners are not currently available for Alliance students pursuing a summer internship.

Food and Meals

Students not pursuing the Intensive Chinese Language option are responsible for providing their own meals. Students can choose to eat at the small restaurants on or nearby campus or eat in the dining halls, using meal debit cards. Students should budget around $10 per day for meals on or around campus.

Students enrolled in the Intensive Chinese Language option are provided breakfast and dinner by their Chinese host families, while students are responsible for their own lunches throughout the week. Host families provide all three meals on the weekends unless students attend organized excursions or choose not to dine with the family due to other plans.

Vegetarians will find that good food is available in China. Most restaurants serve lots of vegetables, tofu dishes, and staples such as rice, noodles, or dumplings. Note that some restaurants may use animal fat in preparing dishes.

Extra-curricular Classes

The Alliance arranges extra-curricular classes which may include Chinese painting, calligraphy, cooking, taiji or other martial arts, pottery, seal carving, or paper cutting. These classes offer a wonderful opportunity to learn more about traditional Chinese culture.

Local Field Visits

Throughout the term, students are invited to take part in a full schedule of excursions, events and lectures - all designed to enhance their understanding of China and the historical and modern influences that impact its culture and people. Students explore the great historical and cultural monuments of the capital and benefit from visits to Beijing's art districts, lectures on China's environmental protection policies, or workshops on Chinese food culture. Below is a sampling of activities from previous terms. Specific activities for future terms are subject to change.

Forbidden City and Tian'anmen Square Tour

Students visit the Forbidden City and Tian'anmen Square, typically during their orientation. The tour is followed by Wang Fujing shopping street tour and Chinese acrobat show.

Houhai Lake Hutong Tour

This tour includes some of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Beijing, with beautiful traditional Chinese courtyard houses. Previous students visited a local artist's house and paper cutting gallery. They also enjoyed lunch with a family in one of the courtyards and learned to make dumplings.

Hiking the Great Wall of China

For the hiking expedition, students travel to Hebei province to hike an 11 kilometer stretch of one the best-preserved original sections of the wall.

Chinese Ethnic Minority Park

Students and their sociology professor visit the Chinese Ethnic Minority Park for an introduction to the 56 official minority groups in China via their unique dress, cuisine, music, and dance.

American Chamber of Commerce

Four "AmCham" staff members met with Alliance students to talk about US-China relations, trade policies, and cooperation between the American Chamber of Commerce and the US and Chinese governments. They also introduced their personal study abroad/work abroad experience and offered suggestions for professional development in a China focused career.

Lectures and Film Screenings with Local Artists

Past Beijing students had the opportunity to learn firsthand from local writers, filmmakers, musicians, and/or calligraphers about Chinese art forms.

Ming Dynasty Tombs

During this activity, students visit the resting place of 13 Chinese emperors. The tombs are located approximately 30 miles north of downtown Beijing at the tranquil foot of the Jundu Mountains.

A Guided Tour through Chinese Popular Music

Film students enjoyed a guest lecture from Professor Jeroen Groenewegen on the evolution of popular music from the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party through the present time. He shared a fantastic selection of video clips highlighting each genre, including official Chinese propaganda music, Miao ethnicity folk music, and performance in mainland Chinese talent shows.

Field Study Trip

A three-day field study trip exposes students to China’s social, economic, geographic, and linguistic diversity outside of the capital city. This exposure coupled with the opportunity to practice their Mandarin in areas with regional and ethnic inflections to the Chinese language endows students with a richly textured sense of the many realities that exist within China.

The location of the three-day summer field study trip varies each year. Destinations may include Qingdao or Xi'an.

Already Accepted?

Visit the Accepted Students section