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UIR vs. Dalian summer 2008


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I have been reading away for days now and just cannot make up my mind. I am a 3rd year student at Virginia Tech in the USA and I have been taking Chinese now for 2 years. This summer I am planning to travel to China for some serious language study. I keep hearing mixed reviews, but have narrowed things down to:

1.) Doing some kind of university program like UIR in Beijing

2.) Going to Dalian (or another city smaller than Beijing with fewer foreigners). Perhaps do some private tutor lessons until the LNU program through the ARAQ network starts up on July 14.

I will be able to be in China as early as June 9, 2008. Any suggestions?


1.) As much language practice/learning as possible.

2.) Meeting people and making some good friends.

I am leaning towards a place like Dalian because from what I read you can get much more of an immersion experience there. Would I be missing out on anything spectacular in Beijing if I went to Dalian? Is there anything to do in Dalian besides study? I'm not much of a partier, but I don't want to be bored out of my mind for 2-3 months. Thanks for your help everyone!

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I was both in BJ and Dalian last summer. I preferred Dalian, hands down, because I was so much more able to focus on my Chinese studies. Beijing is great for traveling and the nightlife, but I wanted a somewhat more quieter place to study. I hated using the subway in Beijing (but I'm a pampered person). I made too many foreign friends in Beijing, so I had to somewhat reset my Chinese studies and go to a different city. You definitely will find things to do in Dalian, but not on the scale of BJ. Dalian is cleaner, traffic isn't bad, it's by the sea, and it's also cheaper to boot. If your Mandarin studies are your first priority, I'd say go to Dalian and then take a one week trip to BJ and other cities at the end of your stay.


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  • 1 year later...


I graduated from VT in 2008! But more to the point, I'm also somewhat torn between a program at UIR and a small town experience. What did you end up choosing? I've taken one quarter of Mandarin in grad school, and would like to progress as much as possible in the 12 weeks I'm there. But I'd also like to see as much as I can and meet people - though I don't really drink at all and I'm not a partier, just very friendly and like group settings.

What are you recommendations?

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Hey there...I spent a summer in Dalian and a year in Beijing. I loved both experiences. From the way you are talking I would suggest Dalian. You can always go back to live in Beijing (and there will be other opportunities).

Dalian is a pretty city and I just had a fun summer there. And like others said, there is plenty to do there. I was out in the suburbs of Dalian and still had a blast there. I felt my experience in Dalian was more of an immersion experience then Beijing.

Don't get me down though, I am also a big fan of studying in Beijing. I really liked how I met so many international friends.

Enjoy your summer!

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  • 1 year later...

I'm also in a similar situation. I will be going this upcoming summer to Beijing (or Dalian) and my main goal is to learn Mandarin. What did you end up deciding to do?

Which school in Dalian did you study?

How did you find a place to live in Dalian?

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