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Most intense program - ACC, PIB, IUP??


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I am currently trying to decide which program or program(s) to apply for... I have read a lot of threads on here but it's still a bit difficult to tell which program may be best - and I haven't seen much feedback on ACC.

At the end of the year I will have been studying Chinese for three years, but will have completed fourth year classes (including a newspaper reading class, etc.). I've been to China three times (twice for the summer, once for 6 months) and don't care if all I do is homework and don't have time to sightsee, I'm going back to gain fluency before grad school or getting a job. I haven't decided whether I will do a summer program or a semester/year-long program but I want something that will force me to learn as well as internalize the language, including some one-on-one sessions. A language pledge would also be nice as I don't want to be surrounded by English... I don't have a ton of money, so I'm hoping for financial aid, but obviously if I'm investing the money and time into this I want the best possible teachers and curriculum

Also, do people usually apply to more than one program because they are so hard to get into? Ultimately, how do you decide between the programs?

Any help you can give would be great... Thanks so much!

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  • 1 year later...

Even though you posted this over two years ago, I was wondering what program you ended up choosing. I have been accepted to ACC Summer and Academic Year for 2009-2010. I am waiting to hear from IUP Academic Year still although I don't have as high hopes for that. Were you able to find any feeback on the ACC program ever? There still is almost nothing about ACC on this site. Thanks!

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I did ACC back in 2000, but just the summer program. It was definitely worth it, and my understanding is that ACC was modeled on the PIB program (language pledge, very intensive). I'm not sure how IUP compares but I wonder if it would go to a higher level since they have a lot of grad students (and even faculty brushing up their Chinese).

If you have questions let me know, although like I said, I did the program quite a long time ago.

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  • 5 months later...

From what I understand, the ACC and PiB summer programs are about the same. I went to ACC for six months (summer-fall), and when students came from PiB in the fall, they seemed to be at about the same levels those of us who had done the summer at ACC had (meaning their tones were decent and they were able to speak Chinese in a natural manner).

I haven't heard anything about IUP except that they also have a killer language pledge.

ACC is an amazing experience, but I have heard (and come to understand) that most students start to get worn out after six months. It's not becuase the instruction is bad or the instructors are not devoted - quite the opposite. The issue is that after six months of intensive Mandarin Chinese study- twenty-some weeks of daily dictations, weekly tests, and endless class preparation- it becomes painful to cram more characters. And you start needing to study something else for awhile, to get a reality check and take a break. So just a forewarning, a summer plus an academic year might be overkill.

On the other hand, the summer alone is not such a great idea. I would highly recommend ACC's semester program, paired with a summer for those who don't have prior experience studying Mandarin abroad in China. The fall includes the independent research project, which could be an excellent addition to your grad school application. And the longer semester means that classes can go more into depth and build upon each other more.

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