Chinese Language and Culture in Harbin and Beijing

Summer 2018 | Harbin and Beijing, China


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.