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Zhende ma?

Beijing Normal University (aka 北京师范大学)

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Zhende ma?

Hello everyone, I was thinking about enrolling in Beijing Normal University this fall for a semester in Chinese language courses. I just wanted to know if anyone knew about BNU (aka 北京师范大学) for Chinese language and had any comments, positive or negative. Thanks.

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roddy

I've never studied there, but as far as I know neither have any of the other members here, so I'll tell you what little I know.

Beishida seems to have a pretty good reputation. About 18 months ago I was looking into studying in Beijing (never did in the end) and Beishida and Beiwai were the two that got generally positive comments. I've also spoken to an American guy studying there (a degree, not a language course) and he speaks quite highly of the place.

It's just up the road from where I live in Beijing, so I know the area fairly well. You don't have as many bars and cafes as you do in the Wudaokou area where most of the foreign students are, but you do have the advantage of being very near the subway, and there are bus routes to pretty much anywhere you are likely to go.

My impression is, decent place to study, nice central location - reasonable choice.

I'm not sure if there have been any posts about Beishida previously, but I think there might have been. Only problem is, should you search for BNU, Beijing Normal University, Beishida, 北京师范大学. . .

Roddy

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[欧阳江]

My experience of Beishida:

Teachers are well educated and professional, however an overwhelming majority of the foreigners are from Korea or Japan which seems to affect the teacher's study-method – a lot of homework with no questions asked. You'll find yourself spending hours doing homework that are completely meaningless and time-consuming, like finding a sentence in a text and then rewrite again in your textbook. Which raises another issue; the lack of well-constructed study material. It often lacks a distinct direction and compered with the study material you're might find at Beida or BLCU it's really horrible. But most of the teachers I had were skilled enough to overlook the study material and give substance to what they were teaching.

If you're not already fluent in Chinese it might also be hard to get some valuable information from the the foreign information centre because none of the staff actually speaks English. When I first came there to clear out somethings in English about the tuition fee, they were giving me the "waving hand" and pointed at the door, until of course I'll let then know in Chinese that I was actually holding 钱 (money) in my hand and wanted to pay for my one year tuition fee.

Due to the large number of Korean and Japanese students you'll have a good language environment. They generally speaks better Mandarin than English. During the first term I was the only Westerner, surrounded by nothing but Japanese and Korean.

They have a huge library for some reason, which we were told us (for some other reason) at the opening ceremony was much larger than the library of the University of London. I don't know if it's useful or not since I haven't actually been inside the building.

I people ask me which school in Beijing I recommend for studying Chinese I always say BLCU, however if you're seriously considering Beishida I don't think that you'll be disappointed, after all just being in China means you'll learn a lot regardless of which University you may choose.

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roddy

Thanks for that. There are quite a few topics on here with information about Beishida now - this one is 18 months old.

Can I ask when you were at Beishida?

Roddy

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adrianlondon

>the lack of well-constructed study material.

Oh. That's a bugger. I was hoping BNU was well organised in that respect. Still, maybe learning-by-rote in class and then learning-by-random talking with strangers on the street is a good way of getting to grips with the language.

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[欧阳江]

>Can I ask when you were at Beishida?

I was studing at Beshida during the autumn of 2004 and the spring of 2005.

>Still, maybe learning-by-rote in class and then learning-by-random talking with strangers >on the street is a good way of getting to grips with the language.

Definitely, after a while I just stopped using their study material, except while I was in class of course, and worked with my own method. The Koreans and Japanese seemed to like it better though.

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mromano83

Does anyone know how i can contact BNU... I would like to enrole for the classes in the spring, so ive been emailing and calling for some time and nobody is responding of answering my calls. also when do the classes start. its really depressing that i have already forgotten how to surf the chinese burocracy. could someone please give me a heads up...

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adrianlondon

You want to start in the Spring?

Do you mean the next semester, which starts with registration on 8th February?

You need to apply by the end of November; ie in the next week or so.

Rumour has it (from other posts on these forums) that they don't respond to emails, but they do to phone calls and faxes. If it was me, I would fax as they could then translate my english (or attempt to read my poor Mandarin) at their leasure and then fax me back.

However, the application itself is done online. They don't seem to have English speaking staff (odd, really, as this is the office of international relations or whatever) so even when I went in person, beyond getting the course start date, they simply gave me a brochure (which is a printed version of the PDF available online) and told me I should apply online (for the course as well as the accommodation).

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kailin

I'm studying at Beishida right now. I also studied at BLCU four years ago so I can do a little comparing and contrasting for you. Anyway, here's a brief summary of my feelings about the BNU experience. I don't live on campus so or in the area so I don't have a strong impression of campus life, but I do spend many hours in class each week, so this is my view of the classroom side of things.

I find the textbooks and teaching materials to be just fine and pretty much in line with the text books I used when studying at BLCU. Several of textbooks that we use in my classes are in fact BLCU textbooks, so I wouldn't reccomend choosing btwn. BNU or BLCU based on their textbooks alone.

Some of my teachers are fantastic and some are not. I take a listening, a reading and a speaking class. The listening class is a waste of my time and is definitely an instance of Asian teaching methods (listening to a tape and repeating it back word for word) failing to conflicting with Western learning methods. The reading class is fantastic. I was originally enrolled in a newspaper reading class which I dropped because my character recognition was too poor to keep up.

There is a great deal of homework, much, much more than at BLCU. Until I cleared by workload by dropping a class, I pretty much felt chained to my desk and was frustrated that I didn't have more time to be out actually practising my Chinese with living Chinese people.

As has been mentioned, the foreign students at BNU are predominately Korean and Japanese. I am the only Westerner in my class of 15. This is great for me, though, because it means that whenever the teachers want a view from the West, they call on me. In the lower levels, there are more Western students in the classes. There are definitely fewer temptations to speak English on campus than there are at BNU.

My only complaint about my fellow students is their age. Most of the students are still in college in their home countries, or have just graduated. Being the ripe old age of 27 I feel a little isolated from my classmates from time to time.

I think that the school takes a greater interest in its international students than BLCU did. While it is true that virtually all their communications are in Chinese, they do do a good job of letting students know about opportunities off and on campus and they arrange some social events/outings ect. I actually haven't participated in any but I do appreciate their efforts!

I am planning to leave BNU after this semester and change to another school simply for geographical reasons: I live very far away from the campus and want something closer to me. In general, my feeling about Chinese language programs here is that they all have their shortcomings and their strongpoints, and you wouldn't do yourself any major harm just picking somewhere that you would like to live and then choosing the school nearest to it. Good luck with your decisions.

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StealthyBurrito

Haha, the Beishida library is big, but from what I hear that building houses administrative offices, not just books. I'm not entirely sure though, I've only been inside to use the restroom (sh)

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star_1

Hi…

I am going to study Chinese language in BNU next feb.

I got question regarding the online reservation system for the accommodation:

Together with the admission notice, I received separate paper showing an instruction to book the accommodation online. I want to book a single room (B1) in No. 3 International Students Dormitory LIYUN APARTOTEL, but the online reservation replied that it is already occupied. Then I choose the B3, and yup I got it.

2 minute later, I accidentally change it to F1 (No. 2 International Students Dormitory LIYUN APARTOTEL). When I want to change it back to B3, the online reservation system replied it is already occupied. I mean, how come in only not more than 5 minute, somebody has taken B3?..... is there something wrong with the online reservation?

Actually I myself is so confused, anyone please tell me which one is better No. 3 International Students Dormitory LIYUN APARTOTEL or No. 2 International Students Dormitory LIYUN APARTOTEL ? (in term of room size, room quality, and distance to school?).

From what I read from the website, No. 3 International Students Dormitory LIYUN APARTOTEL has more facilities (hair dresser, ATM, bookstore, Chinese and western restaurant, computer room) also the room in term of size and quality seems to be better compared to No. 2 International Students Dormitory LIYUN. Am I right ?

The online reservation said the b1/b2/b3 room are all occupied, are they all really occupied? Can I call the No. 3 International Students Dormitory LIYUN APARTOTEL directly to book a room?

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adrianlondon

I think it's a typical example of not-so-accurate-website disease. There's only one aparthotel so the facilities there (such as hairdressers etc) will be the same whichever size room you stay in.

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roddy

Plus, the Beishida campus is hardly huge, and there are any number of restaurants, supermarkets, hairdressers in the area anyway. There's no danger of finding yourself isolated.

Roddy

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star_1

Thx, now I feel not that worried again about finding restaurant etc around campus :)

By the way, in BNU website (accommodation section), I read there are 3 apartotel. All use the same name : International Student Apartment LIYUN APARTOTEL, the difference is only the number: No 1, No 2 and No 3. (this make me a little bit confused:-? ).

No.2 International Students' Apartment LIYUN APARTOTEL is the one in orange colour building. Could anyone tell me how good is this accommodation?? I saw in BNU site, the size of the room (single room, code: F1) is pretty small (only 2m x 3.4m)…

also it said for single room the toilet is shared.. Actually I am not that clear about 'shared toilet', one toilet is shared for how many rooms?

Well, I am very concerned about this accommodation matter, coz say if the room and toilet is not comfortable / nice, I don’t know how I am gonna make my day while studying overthere......

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adrianlondon

pre-warning : it's just gone midnight and is now Christmas day and I'm a touch drunk.

Anyhoo ... don't worry about the accommodation, try to read between the lines - if it's a "two bedroom apartment" then what they're trying to say in their own unique way is that there is one bathroom in the apartment shared between the two bedrooms.

Also, bear in mind that you can pick any place you like and then change to another one (space permitting) within the first two weeks without charge/penalty.

So, pick the room type which you think suits you best, don't panic, and simply change within your first fortnight if you;re not impressed.

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star_1

How is the weather like in Beijing in Feb ? is it very cold?

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adrianlondon

Compared to ...? :-)

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amandagmu

I've heard it compared to New York City or even my hometown (Washington, DC) on bad days. That means the average temps are in the 20s->low 40s, weeks in the single digits and teens are not uncommon (in fahrenheit since I'm an American, for celsius this means often below zero), and snow occurs at least a few times... but only in bad years does it ever snow more than a few inches at one time. What it also means is that a decent winter coat (I have a knee length wool coat and a down lined ski coat) is pretty much necessary in addition to gloves (medium thickness pair and a thicker/wind breaking pair) and a hat / ear coverings.

Of course, there are many more people on this forum who can enlighten me on what it's like in Beijing in the winter. When it doesn't snow here we often get freezing rain for days on end... although I'm not complaining since we had a 65 degree here today, the first of its kind since October!

Amanda

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roddy

Never been to New York, but the above sounds about right - cold, but dry, occassional snow but rarely bad enough to cause more than a few hours of slow traffic, no wind. Dress up warm and you are fine.

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deezy

Hi, I was originally planning to apply for BLCU for a month in April - before I found this site.

Now, I am reconsidering all my options before I pull the trigger, so to speak..

Well, BNU and BLCU seem to be the top contenders for English-speaking foreign students wishing to learn Chinese. So, I am still unndecided between them.

However, how is the weather like in April, May, June, July, etc?

I may reconsider the timing, as well, if it is too cold in April still.

However, I know Chinese Labor Day is at the beginning of May, so would best be to avoid that month. And June & July are probably peak travel seasons, so airfare is probably higher then... I guess based upon weather and off-peak seasons - when might be the best time to go for a month?

Xie xie da jia! :)

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