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sneakymonkey

BCLA (Beijing Culture and Language Academy)

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sneakymonkey

Hello, I'm still researching my options for studying in Beijing. Does anyone have any information on BCLA?? I've heard the class sizes are very small. Please HELP!

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ChinaNick

It's owned by Worldlink Education - small classes they have - around 8 students, but their tuition fees and teacher qualifications are laughable (their "qualified Chinese teachers with advanced degrees" have degrees in geology 'n'stuff :wink: Wouldn't recommend them :nono

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woliveri

ChinaNick, can you give an alternative? Who or what school would you recommend?

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Dan Bang

I'm planning to attend a 12 weeks language course - provided by Beijing Language and Culture University - which begins March 31st. I'm not approaching BLCU via an organisation and the like, in stead I have arranged the application on my own. And I received my admission notice and the JW202-form only 2 weeks after I send my application to them. In addition, I have emailed with them, and they have more or less replied on all my emails. So, I can't see why you should give all that extra money to have an organisation like Worldlink doing everything for you when you can do it yourself less expensive. Of course I have to take care of accommodation on my own, but that isn't impossible. So, without having visited BLCU yet, I would recommend them so far.

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grovernie

just wondering whether anyone has enrolled in BCLA after all? can't seem to find many threads on this academy, and haven't come across anyone who has actually studied there.

would be grateful for any feedback at all on BCLA, as it appears to be the only place which allows late applications for aug/sep 2005...

thanks!

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Dan Bang

Contact BLCU, as far as I know it should still be possible to enroll... It's definitely preferable to BCLA

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grovernie

Thanks, Dan Bang! Actually, I would really like to enrol in BLCU too (that was my first choice), but they have refused to take in any more applications (I tried calling them last week).

I really want to get into somewhere in Aug/Sep, but looks like it's not going to be possible now. :conf

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free_radical

grovernie said "would be grateful for any feedback at all on BCLA, as it appears to be the only place which allows late applications for aug/sep 2005...

thanks!"

Hi grovernie

As ChinaNick stated BCLA is owned and operated by Worldlink Education - see other threads for discussions on them. I was at BCLA on a 3 month, tuition only, 20 hours per week course last year. I knew it was a total rip-off but I decided to take that course because I was very late in applying and my Mandarin knowledge at that time was zero. I arranged my own accom. and travel from the airport.

The class sizes were small, my class on average was around 6 students but the students changed from time to time. I was an absolute beginner but there were people in my class who had already had some exposure to the language which was quite frustrating as they were the ones that received the most attention from the teachers.

The teaching standards varied with each teacher, some liked to practise their English whilst others were very strict about not speaking English in class. The students themselves varied in age from 15 to 60+, some were quite serious about their language study whilst others were not.

The administration was laughable, trying to find out when we had to do exams, if we had to do them and what parts of the syllabus they would cover was a struggle. The student's lounge was absolutely disgusting especially at the weekends when the students dumped their take away food containers all over the place which led to rats living in the sofa.

I don't regret going to BCLA as at the time it was the only option I could find however I definitely wouldn't repeat the experience. The most important reason would have to be the amount of money charged for their courses. After my stint at BCLA I attended a private language school in Wudoukou (sp?), the classes there were 12yuan an hour and the teaching and class sizes compared quite favourably with BCLA.

Anyway, I hope this is the type of information you were looking for, let me know if you have any specific questions you need answered and I will try to help.

free_radical

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got_no_jaffas

i've been debating whether to go to the academy or bclu, my preference was for bclu but i think given the information here i will make it definite.

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speedmonk

Some BLCU things to consider.

1. Most people who take the Intensive seem to regret it. It is not worth it. Private Tutors are SOOOO cheap and Langauge exchange partners so plentiful that the time you spend in those extra 2 hours a day is not worth it.

6 hours of class a day will just melt your brain. You are better off with private tutors. Go for quality learning over quantity. A few hours of learning well is better than 10 hours of stuff you forget.

BLCU only provides one important thing, people to go to Bars with. It's a social club and that is about it. People are more likely to improve their tennis game here than their chinese.

You can get a private tutor for less money, learn faster and learn what you want.

BLCU also provides ZERO service to you when you get here. Absolutely no one here speaks anything other than Chinese. And remember that they will often say yes to something or give you an answer that is COMPLETELY wrong just so you either go away or they don't look stupid for not knowing the answer.

BLCU is not a university by any western standard, it is at best a community college.

The hotel I am at is liveable and only 77Kuai a day for a 3 month stay and 1 block from Campus. You could probably get something cheaper somewhere else but...youll pay for it in other ways like travel time or giant face eating spiders.

When you arrive go to the Friendship store on campus, hire a tutor to hang out with you and go do things like get housing and stuff. It will be worth the 20/kuai an hour. This will save you time and money and you will learn more usefull chinese than you will in the first 5 weeks at BLCU.

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Harvey
BLCU only provides one important thing, people to go to Bars with. It's a social club and that is about it. People are more likely to improve their tennis game here than their chinese.

Can anyone follow this up? I'm curious. Is BCLU class quality really that bad?

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Craig

Here is the thing about BLCU (read any university in the world) you will only get out what you are willing to put in. There are groups of students that go out and drink 5 or 6 nights a week and only go to class on occasion. If that’s what you want you can find it without a problem. In about 8 weeks of class you'll learn aroun 800-1000 words assuming you goto all your classes and do the work assigned. Remember BLCU classes are NOT a survival Chinese course. You won’t learn from a phrase book on how to get from point A to point B. Class time is spent learning grammar, sentence structure, and other technical parts of the language that will allow you to express yourself once you have developed the vocabulary you need, and not just parrot back expressions you read. Yes Chinese is the dominate language on campus… remember you are in China. If people don’t understand you they are likely to just nod and smile or tell you the answer to what they think you asked but that is the case in all of China not just BLCU. The important thing to remember anywhere in china is just keep smiling you can’t come to the country expecting to be able to plan everything. The country will throw you a curve ball and you will have to deal with it; how you react will dictate how you remember your experience in Beijing.

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Lu

You can always find a drinking (or tennis) partner on BLCU, but I did improve my Chinese dramatically there. Like Craig said, it's what you put into it. Go to class and do your homework, talk Chinese as much as possible, and you will improve. There will still be time to go wanr in the evenings and in the weekends.

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