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wingman

Question on studying in China over the summer at BLCU or BFSU

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wingman

I'd really appreciate it if I got some advice as I have not found any information on these forums pertaining to my particular situation.

I am a freshman in college. I am currently in my second semester of Mandarin, ever. I've never been to China. I would like to do something Chinese related this summer, but the Harvard and Princeton programs are too expensive for me. I was looking at applying to BLCU or BFSU, but I don't know if it is recommended for a person with my level of Chinese. Which school would be better for what I want to do? Which school is better overall in the sense of being foreigner-friendly? WIll I enjoy my time in China and at the same time practice and improve my Chinese during one of their summer short-terms?

If you do recommend either of the two schools for my situation, what other suggestions and tips to you have?

Thanks

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xiaotao

Our local city college has a Chinese department and they have a yearly educational fun trips to China every summer (19 days). When I went years ago, it used to be quite affordable. Maybe a junior college near you might have a program like this.

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wingman

I appreciate the response but I do not wish to go to China just for fun. I want to have some sort of language education component. I have looked at programs at other schools other than Princeton or Harvard which are the expensive ones, but most have deadlines that have already passed or they cost close to what Harvard or Princeton programs cost.

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chrix

I keep hearing a lot of good things about the summer programme at Middlebury...

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wingman

I've considered Middlebury because I too have heard great things about the program, but with the $9.5k cost of the Chinese program makes it very unattractive.

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chrix

My personal opinion is that going to China after two semesters is premature, and a summer term will be too short for that. You will speak a lot of English in everyday life, even if you manage to avoid your fellow Westerners. (This is where Middlebury is different as they force everyone from all language levels to speak the target language, punishing violators by sending them home, OTOH in China many Chinese will be eager to speak English with you).

But doubtless it would be a great cultural experience, I'm sure...

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Daan

I think BLCU would be the more foreigner-friendly of the two. As chrix said, you are likely to end up speaking more English than you imagined, simply because you probably don't have the vocabulary needed to express yourself clearly in all situations. But it would be a great experience, certainly, and it's a lot cheaper than a summer programme in the United States.

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Lu

I agree with Daan.

It is a bit premature to go now, and you would likely speak more English than is ideal, but you would also probably learn a lot of Chinese that you otherwise wouldn't have learned (or at least not this summer), experience living in a foreign country, and have a great time.

BLCU is very foreigner-friendly, and offers courses on many levels, from absolute beginner to somewhat more advanced, so I'm sure they have something for you. I don't know much about BFSU, but I think they have a Chinese-for-foreigners program as well, which would mean they're foreigner-friendly and have something on your level. You might want to search for information on the forums.

You could also consider NTNU in Taiwan. Its Mandarin Training Center offers classes on all levels, on various subjects. There are many foreigners from all corners of the world there. Classmates of mine in university went there for a summer course after their first year, they had a great experience and it improved their Chinese quite a bit.

Good luck, and have fun!

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pancake

wingman: I can recommend these guys: these guys. Since they are based in Harbin, I think you will find it entirely possible not to speak English at all while you are here. Most locals don't speak any, and when people see me they assume I'm Russian, and therefore not English practice fodder.

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Meng Lelan

I don't think Middlebury or some US based summer program is a great idea. I tried that 15 years ago at Indiana University because I couldn't go to China that summer so I enrolled in the summer Chinese institute. I hated it because it was such an artificial environment and dropped out after two weeks. You're still getting snacks and drinks in English at the local gas station, you're still going to get laundry tokens from English speaking dorm front desk, etc. Go to China for a summer and make yourself make it as Chinese immersion as possible.

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abcdefg

I studied at the same school in Harbin which Pancake referred to in the Summer of 2008 and was well satisfied. Harbin gave me a totally Chinese immersion environment. Never used English in daily life.

Don't worry overly much about finding the perfect program and arranging every detail in advance as that's nearly impossible to do. A certain amount of "winging it" is going to be required.

Bottom line answer to the original poster: Go to China and do something there. Even if you don't hit the nail right on the head, you will have a memorable and enriching experience.

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