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Wen512

Beida or BNU for serious chinese student?

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Wen512

Is BNU or Beida better to study Chinese at long term (at least one year). I plan to study until I have some degree of fluency. I have a basic foundation (12 units) of Chinese taken at my local American college. I would like to go to a college with minimal westerners present and with students serious about studying Chinese as a second language. I’m looking to leave in December 05. Any advice/comments would be appreciated.

Thank You

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Zhende ma?

I'd say BNU (of course I'm biased because I went there). They have an excellent curriculum and there are comparatively few westerners both in the school and surrounding area so Chinese is a must to have friends, get around, etc. I can't knock Beida since I didn't go there but multiple comments indicated the Chinese program as not good. Maybe someone can counter this conception? BNU has the most homework though, expect about 2 hours per night. You still have plenty of time to do other things though

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woliveri

It depends on the college. Over here they offer a class of Chinese at 5 credits per class. It seems doubtful that he'd have 6 credits per class so I might guess 4 or 3 credits per class making it 1 1/2 academic years or 2 academic years repsectively.

Of course, this really means little as it depends on the absorbtion rate of the individual and exposure to native Chinese.

For me, I had 4 (two academic years, repeating the same courses with a different college/teacher) semesters of community college Chinese. So it was like one academic year repeated twice, and I progressed a little. It wasn't until I organized a language exchange with a native Chinese person did I make any real progress.

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Wen512

12 units is a year and half at my school. I’m by no means fluent but can get around China with few problems.

The reason I ask, is all the native Chinese students tell me Beida is a much better school. Basically what I was told is Beida is a much more famous school with allot more government funding. While the people on this forum seem to agree that BNU has the better Chinese program. I’m leaning towards Beida but have not made up my mind. The application process for Beida I’m told opens sometime in August (for fall 06). So I don’t have a whole lot of time to choose.

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roddy

Chinese people's opinions of universities are, reasonably enough, formed on the quality of their degree courses and the reputation of the university within China. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but these factors impact little, if at all, on the quality of their Chinese language programs for foreigners - which are usually run largely as an extra cash earner and separate from the rest of courses.

These 'domestic' rankings, if you like, can be useful - on balance, a university with a very good reputation is hopefully likely to be more efficient and well-run, which will have a knock-on effect on the quality of Chinese language course provision. However, it isn't always going to be the case, and the perception you get from dealing with the foreign students office, and judgements from foreign students already there are much more valuable.

This is a case in point - while both Beida and BNU have very good reputations in China, Beida is clearly a 'superior' university in these terms. However, from what I've read on here and learnt from speaking to foreign students in Beijing, the BNU program for foreigners is better run and more effective.

Roddy

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StealthyBurrito

I will largely agree with what everyone else has said. Beida is arguably the most prestigious university in China (with the exception of Qinghua for science and engineering), and in the eyes of the native Chinese, prestige (thus name) is more important than anything else. Beida does have the more talented and experienced faculty, the better looking campus, more funding, but as a foreign student studying Chinese, you will for the most part not experience these benefits.

Beishida really specializes in training foreigners in Chinese, and although the campus is not as beautiful as Beida, the experience and enthusiasm of the faculty is truly amazing. I will be attending Beida in the fall so I can't make a full comparison yet, but I think it would be safe to say that Beishida is a better fit for learning Chinese.

Of course, if you will be looking for connections with the local students and perhaps want to work in China in the future, the Beida name carries its advantages. Or you can do what I am and enroll in both programs :wink:

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stephanhodges

StealthyBurrito:

What's your opinion so far at BeiDa?

Also, where are BeiDa, BeiShiDa (BNU?), and BLCU in relation to each other?

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amandagmu

Beida, Qinghua (Tsinghua) and BLCU are all really close, literally with a mile or less of each other along the same road (Beida is at the intersection of one end, Tsinghua in the center next to WuDaoKou and BLCU maybe 1/4 mile opposite direction). Blocks are long in Beijing but you can walk from Beida to Qinghua to BLCU (front gates that is) in probably 20-25 minutes max, all along the same road. BNU, on the other hand, is not along the same road. I once went there and remember it being a bit out of the way, though probably 10-15 minutes by bus (which in Beijing is still pretty close). It's not a direct walk like the others are. Even if you end up at one of those other three you can easily get to the other two universities without a problem, on foot or by the 307 bus which shows up every 5-10 minutes during rush hour times. I don't know what bus goes directly to BNU, but it's not that one.

~Amanda

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roddy

726 is the best option for getting from Wudaokou to BNU. It'll also pass by Jishuitan subway and ends up at Qianmen. The rickety old 331s will also get you to BNU, but check your keys didn't get shaken out of your pocket.

Roddy

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StealthyBurrito

All the 331s have been replaced with brand new, quiet, and very smooth Jinghua buses now. So have about 75% of the 323s (that's a guess, I've actually witnessed this transformation from 0% to what it is now) and the 320s too. It's pretty amazing how nice the new buses are compared to the old white-red ones with wooden plank floors (I kid you not).

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stephanhodges

StealthyBurrito:

What's your opinion of Beida so far?

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StealthyBurrito

Sorry Stephan, I didn't see your post the first time around. Not intentionally ignoring you :wink:

My Chinese class is actually not graded (long story there) so I don't take it quite as seriously as I should (in fact after a while I started skipping class), so take that in mind when reading my opinion. It seems that Beida Chinese teachers are a little disappointing. That's not to say they are smart and capable of teaching -- they are very smart, as both of mine are graduates from Beida with Master's degrees. However, teaching foreigners seems to be a transitionary job, then they move elsewhere. That's why all the teachers are relatively young (late 20s early 30s). The fact is they are not trained to be teachers for life. This has an impact on both their experience in teaching and also passion for teaching. Yes, it's not that hard to teach Chinese, but when your teacher is really passionate about really teaching, it makes a difference to the student. I just don't find that here at Beida, and I believe a lot of my friends feel similarly. It may also be that I came from Beishida where I had a great learning experience, so take that into consideration as you will.

If you have any other questions, I'll try to answer as best I can. I'm not actually a student in the Hanyu Xueyuan (College of Chinese), which is why I am not taking courses for a grade, but I have a number of friends and classmates who are, and I hear a lot from them daily.

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stephanhodges

Thanks. (I just mentioned in a different thread a reminder of this thread). But, I read and replied to that one before seeing this one).

Would you have a skype account? I'd like to talk sometime in more detail about school. If so, you can PM me.

Stephan

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waijohn

Hi Stealthy, Go Bears! I think you mentioned your alma mater in one of your posts. (?)

First, thanks a bunch for the thorough information you have so far shared with us, more especifically, comparing BNU with BeiDa. The info has helped a lot.

Now that you have been at BeiDa more time, do you have any other insights you'd like to share about the university, especially in relation to BNU? (I know you are not taking classes at the language school, but perhaps you have heard more stories from friends?).

Also, the opinions on BNU's language program in this forum seem to be mostly REALLY positive, yet a significant number here (and people that I have spoken with) seem to be choosing BeiDa over BNU, even in the cases when they are in Beijing solely to learn the language; rather than Chinese Philosophy, for example. Why would you say that is?

Thanks in advance! Wai John

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