Set in China's fascinating, history-rich capital, this program is designed for students who are serious about expanding their spoken and written Chinese language skills. The program is based at Beijing Foreign Studies University, one of Beijing's premier universities. In addition to intensive study of Chinese 8 hours per week, students connect with the local community by living with Chinese families or a Chinese roommate and adhere to a language pledge. A wide range of elective courses in Chinese Studies are available. The program also features a 10-day field trip to provinces in Western or Southwest China.

“It is a program that focuses on helping you improve all aspects of your Chinese, and helps integrate you into Chinese culture. The mobile learning trip takes you beyond the modernity of Beijing and shows you other ways of life in China. You get to experience historical sites for yourself and travel along with ordinary Chinese people and see what their life is like. It is a program that not only teaches you Mandarin, but Chinese history and culture. It helps you understand China, not just learn about it.” - Lila S. '16

Student Blog:

Lila Stange | Fall 2014

Fields of study:

Chinese language, Asian Studies, politics, history, sociology, and economics


Minimum cumulative GPA requirement 2.8 (Whitman requirement)

Language Prerequisite:

Minimum 2 semesters of college-level Mandarin Chinese (Whitman requirement)


15–19 credits per semester - Required Courses:
Chinese Language Courses (6 credits)
IES Area Studies Courses (3 credits each)
Chinese Language Elective Courses (2 credits each)

Credit Conversion:

1 IES credit = 1 Whitman credit




Students live with Chinese host families. Depending on availability, students may opt to live in a Chinese residence hall with a Chinese roommate.


Students in host families eat breakfast and dinner 7 days per week at the homestay. Students in the University residence hall eat at one of several university cafeterias, or at local restaurants, or cook their own meals in shared kitchens.

Semesters Offered:

Fall, Spring, Academic Year


Late August–December; January-May


IES Abroad Scholarships

Program Link:

IES: Beijing Contemporary China & Chinese Language