Summer in Beijing

Our Summer in Beijing program 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.

Program Terms Summer
Credit Hours 9
Subjects Offered Chinese, Sociology
Language Pre-Requisites None
Field Components Internships
Housing Dormitory or Homestay
Excursions Weekend Excursion
Application Deadlines March 1

All students are encouraged to consider studying abroad for an additional semester in China, whether to deepen their knowledge of Beijing, or at a different Alliance program center to broaden their understanding of China’s regional diversity.

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 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… enroll in the intensive Chinese language course (9 credits).


SOCI 260 Contemporary Culture and Social Change in China (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 developments in urban and rural social transformation introduced by the reforms, the changing relationship between 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.

INTS 380 Internship (6 credits)

All 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 at the internship site and complete a final academic paper 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 (6 credits)

No prior language study is required. A placement exam during on-site orientation determines each student's appropriate language level.

CHIN 100 Beginning Chinese I
CHIN 101 Beginning Chinese II
CHIN 200 Intermediate Chinese I
CHIN 201 Intermediate Chinese II
CHIN 300 Advanced Chinese I
CHIN 301 Advanced Chinese II
CHIN 400 Advanced Chinese III
CHIN 401 Advanced Chinese IV
CHIN 600 Advanced Readings in Chinese

Intensive Chinese Language (9 credits)

Two semesters of prior Chinese language study are required.

A placement exam during on-site orientation determines each student's appropriate language level.

CHIN 200 Intensive Intermediate Chinese I
CHIN 201 Intensive Intermediate Chinese II
CHIN 300 Intensive Advanced Chinese I
CHIN 301 Intensive Advanced Chinese II
CHIN 400 Intensive Advanced Chinese III
CHIN 401 Intensive Advanced Chinese IV
CHIN 600 Intensive Advanced Readings in Chinese

Language classes taught by full-time language faculty selected and trained by the Alliance. Area studies courses are taught by faculty from various universities in Beijing.

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

Dr. Jeroen Groenewegen-Lau 
INTS 380 Internship

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. For more information, see the Beijing Internship Handbook.

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. 

Featured Internship Placement

Allison Sherry (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"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.

  • Pickatale, an international publisher based in Beijing that creates interactive children's books across multiple platforms and languages
  • 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
  • Modern Sky, a music company that organizes rock and electronic music festivals and performances
  • EventBank, an IT service company offering an integrated event-to-revenue software platform for marketing decision makers in organizations of all sizes
  • Peking University International Economic Law Institute, a research think-tank servicing multinational corporations and organizations
  • Atlas-China, a human resources and staffing company focused on placing bilingual foreigners in companies in China
  • CTB/McGraw-Hill, a leading publisher of standardized and standards-based achievement tests for primary, secondary and higher education
  • Geometry Global, a brand new activation agency specializing in deep data and the consumer decision-making process

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 Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. 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 each student’s responsibility to work with the home school study abroad advisor and 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 in China Program—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 taken while enrolled on an Alliance program. Withdrawals 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 is as follows:

Excellent      A 93-100% Acceptable C+ 77-79%
A- 90-92% C 73-76%
C- 70-72%
Good    B+ 87-89% Unsatisfactory D+ 67-69%
B 83-86% D 63-66%
B- 80-82% D- 60-62%
Failing F < 60%


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. Please use this form if Alliance has accepted you into a program and you have changed your home, school, or billing address. Federal regulations require official documentation and a signature for address changes.

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. 

For all Alliance programs through Spring 2014, transcripts were issued by Arcadia University. Students enrolled during that time can request additional copies of transcripts online or in writing from the Arcadia University Registrar's Office.

If you have a question about the transcripting process or timeline, please contact your Academic Records Coordinator.

Academic Calendar

  • Summer 2015 term: June 17 - August 17
  • Summer 2016 term: June 15 - August 13

The Alliance Orientation is mandatory. You should make your travel plans accordingly. More details can be found on our Pre-Departure Information pages.

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.

2016 Summer Beijing Program Calendar

  • Suggested flight departure: June 14
  • Arrival in Beijing: June 15
  • Orientation: June 16-18
  • Classes begin: June 20
  • Field Study Trip*: July 1-3
  • Independent Travel Long-Weekend*: July 22-24
  • Final exams: August 11-12
  • Program ends (students must depart by 12:00pm): August 13

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Program Fees

Summer 2016 Program    $ 7,100


The program cost includes tuition and fees, housing, pre-departure materials and advising, student visa authorization documents, orientation, organized activities, course materials, the services of a full-time resident staff, medical and evacuation insurance, and a three-day field study trip.

what's not included

The program price does not include airfare to China, the cost of your student visa, meals, transportation, phone and internet, deposits required for local services, independent travel, and other items not mentioned as included.

out of pocket expenses

When making your budget, think about your spending habits – are you a “Just the Essentials” Traveler, happy to eat all meals at the campus canteen and exploring the city on foot? Or are you more of the “Everything Extra” Traveler, who wants to experience everything – nights out at the clubs, shopping at boutiques, and traveling every weekend?

Estimated Out of Pocket Expenses for One Summer

Roundtrip airfare to China $ 1,300-1,800
Visa processing and shipping $ 260
Meals $ 400-600
Local transportation (varies by distance) $ 300-600
Phone usage (varies with data plan) $ 30
Internet usage $ 20
Incidentals and personal care items $ 30
Independent weekend travel $ 100-400
Entertainment $ 100-400
Estimated Total $ 2,540-4,140

*Estimated in-country expenses based on 1.00 US Dollar = 6.49 Yuan Renminbi


Remember to check in with your home university and visit our Finances pages to learn more about financial aid and study abroad scholarships.


The Alliance encourages students to enroll for more than one term and to consider studying abroad with more than one Alliance program. 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.

Our program center at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) is your home away from home, nestled in the vibrant international neighborhood of Wudaokou. Meet our on-site staff members!


Wudaokou (五道口) is located 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 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 international students 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.

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

View Alliance On Location: Beijing in a larger map.

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.

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