Chinese Language and Culture in Harbin and Beijing.


Chinese Language and Culture in Harbin and Beijing

Summer 2018 | Harbin and Beijing, China

  • Applications Are Due Feb. 1
  • Program Fee: $4,300
  • Dates: May 20 – June 17, 2018

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First stop: Beijing, for a one-week cultural immersion in China’s capital city. Appreciate the country’s rich history at heritage sites such as
Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace and its contemporary life through exploration of local neighborhoods. Second stop: Harbin, the celebrated “Ice City,” where China’s official language—Putonghua, or Mandarin—is the standard spoken dialect. Live and learn for three weeks at the world’s leading center for the education of foreign students in the Chinese language, International College of Harbin Normal University.


Conversational Fluency

Become a better conversationalist, more fluent in speaking and listening to Putonghua, the official language of China. This short-term program, by emphasizing conversational fluency, complements your Drew courses, which focus primarily on reading and writing in Chinese. Past participants have acquired better pronunciation, greater comprehension and more confidence in everyday conversation.

Cultural Proficiency

Understand the sweep of Chinese history and the diversity of local cultures through true engagement in the community. Interact with Chinese citizens, from casual encounters in shops and restaurants to formal meetings in classroom and community settings. Learn to navigate cultural customs and taboos, especially as they relate to conversation. (Here’s a tip: It’s fine to ask someone’s age—but not their marital status.)


Classroom Instruction

Spend mornings speaking and hearing the Chinese language in discussion-based classes led by a Chinese native instructor. A variety of topics, plus visits from native Chinese speakers, keep the conversation lively and wide ranging. An evening study hall gives you and your classmates the opportunity to practice with each other and receive guidance from your Drew faculty mentor.

Experiential Learning

Sharpen your conversational skills through real-world daily assignments. Navigate public transportation. Purchase a specific item—batteries or a toothbrush—from a shop in a residential neighborhood. Have tea with a new acquaintance and share his or her life story with your classmates. Being comfortable with spontaneous, everyday conversations is a hallmark of true proficiency.

Community Engagement

Put your conversational skills to good use within the community. Past participants have provided English lessons to the children of migrant workers, organized a basketball team at the university and taught a class at a Chinese middle school, among other group projects. Such cross-cultural exchanges create goodwill while advancing your global citizenship and cultural competency.

Professor Bai gave us an assignment to interview someone. I created my questions and went on my way to find an interviewee when a pit bull started running behind me. You’re not supposed to run away from dogs so I stood frozen. The owner came over to apologize for her dog. She saw my book and was so surprised that I could read and write Chinese. It was the most memorable experience, because it meant that native speakers could understand me. ”
Adefolakemi Adenugba C’15
ShortTREC: Summer Program in China, 2013


Bai Di—PhD, Program Director, Professor of Chinese Studies

With expertise in Chinese language, literature and culture, Bai Di focuses her work on preparing students for engagement with China and the Chinese-speaking world. She has been leading Drew’s short-term programs in China—one focused on Chinese language, one on Chinese cultural issues—since 2006.