SSC – Beijing (SSC-BJ): July 4 to August 3

Beijing, the capital of China, is the nation’s political, cultural and educational center. The vast majority of whom speak Mandarin as their native language, there is arguably no better place to learn standard Chinese.

Beijing also offers its visitors an interesting array of contrasts. While portions of the city retain characteristics of traditional ways of life, Beijing is also a microcosm for the rapid economic development occurring throughout China. The city is at once both modern and ancient. It is indeed a unique opportunity to live and study in this country’s capital in the 21st century.

SSC-Beijing offers high school students the opportunity to receive intensive language training within an immersed cultural environment. Living for four weeks in the vibrant metropolis of Beijing, students will use their Chinese to communicate in daily life activities, improving both their fluency and pronunciation. Through rigorous small group daily language lessons, it is expected that they will acquire the equivalent of a full academic year of Chinese.

In the process, students will also gain a greater awareness and understanding of cultural differences and diversity.through a number of on-site activities (e.g. tai chi, calligraphy and paper cutting,etc.). On-site activities are accompanied by excursions into the city and an over night field trip to its surrounding areas. These outings afford students the opportunity to use their newly-acquired language skills with native speakers and visit some of the country’s most stunning sites, including the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall and countless temples, gardens and other places of interest.

The homestay component remains crucial to SSC-Beijing’s continued success. Each student will be partnered with a sibling of similar age and gender and will remain with that family for the entirety of his/her time in Beijing. Host families offer yet another set of activities that frequently involve inclusion in family life and insight into the daily lives of ordinary Chinese people in Beijing today. Summer Study students will eat family meals, be taken to restaurants, go to the movies and just “hang out” with their host brothers and sisters.

Program Features:

  • living with a Chinese host family for the program’s duration;
  • a 3:1 student to faculty/staff ratio;
  • four weeks of daily intensive language classes, equivalent to one year of high school’s Chinese study;
  • cultural workshops, athletics, community service, excursions
  • exciting field trip to Inner Mongolia Plateau that allow students to experience the China’s variety of cultures;
  • a pre-program information session and pre-departure orientation session; and
  • post-program Student Ambassador opportunities.

SSC – Southwest: July 4 to July 24Yunnan – located in China’s far southwest – borders the Southeast Asian countries of Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. Its mild climate, abundant hills, snow-capped mountains, vast river systems and lakes contribute to the region’s biological and cultural diversity; it is home to 17,000 species of plants, fully half of China’s bird and mammal species and the greatest number of China’s 55 officially recognized ethnic minority groups.

Yunnan, like the rest of China, has seen rapid development over the past few decades. Mining, manufacturing, increased agricultural production and tourism have all left their marks on the land. In light of these events, many Chinese are looking for ways to develop Yunnan and its local economies in socially and environmentally responsible ways.

This three-week program will endeavor to explore issues relating to one of China’s most pressing concerns: sustainable development. Yunnan’s natural beauty will provide a scenic backdrop for this journey. Students will not only visit some of the world’s most stunning landscapes, but also discover multiple paths forward. Yunnan’s cultural diversity will also provide students a window into the human tapestry that is China.

We will begin our investigation of the region’s cultural, biological and geological diversity in Kunming, the provincial capital. As we make our way to Zhongdian (otherwise known as Shangri La), major stops may include the ancient cities of Dali and Lijiang and the canyon known as Tiger Leaping Gorge. Upon arrival at Zhongdian, we will begin to explore the town and its cultural heritage alongside the Shangri-la Institute for Sustainable Communities, an independent Chinese non-governmental organization. In addition to better understanding the local Tibetan community through a number of short trips and hands-on activities, students will also be introduced to factors affecting the area, indigenous efforts to conserve the environment and ways they can get involved. Before returning home, students will depart for Beijing and spend a few days exploring the capital’s sites, including: the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and centuries-old neighborhoods located within the ancient city.

As a non-language learning program, SSC-Southwest will place a greater emphasis on experiential learning. The program’s features include:

  • no requirement of Mandarine Chinese proficiency;
  • a three-day crash course in Mandarin as part of the program’s in-country orientation in Kunming;
  • well structured task-based projects and discussion sessions organized by the program, which will give students a chance to discuss and contextualize their experiences;
  • a variety of cultural workshops provided by partner institutes, e.g. tangka painting, dances, etc.;
  • academic subject materials covered during the program will be varied and contain, but not be limited to: environmental studies, government, history, anthropology and economics;
  • a two-day’s trip in Beijing which will allows students to explore the culture and history of the city;
  • a pre-program information session and pre-departure orientation session; and
  • post-program Student Ambassador opportunities.

SSC – East China: July 4 to August 3

Built upon the success of 2013 SSC-East China program, which has brought 13 high school students to Beijing, Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai for the first time, 2014 SSC-East China will be open again to encourage more high school-age students to explore the cultural diversity of the country.

This program will continually combine a fully language immersion with a series of structured projects, excursions and field trips to different cities. In the first two weeks, students will live with their host families in Beijing and will immerse themselves in Chinese language and culture. An intensive Chinese language course is provided everyday, as well as cultural workshops and excursions to Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall, etc. At the end of the second week, students will take a bullet train to Nanjing, where students will not only capture the history and development of the city, but also have a rare opportunity to explore rural area nearby the city. The third step of the program is Suzhou, a beautiful city with historical gardens and relics. Students will spend a week in Suzhou, exploring the city, attending various kinds of cultural events and workshops, and communicating with local high school students. Each student will live with a host family in Suzhou which will once again immerse our students into Chinese daily life. At the end of the fourth week, students will go to Shanghai, the financial center of the country, and will depart from Shanghai to the U.S.

SSC-East China will allow students to explore the country from every aspect, from the North to the South, from the urban areas to the scenic rural destinations, from the past to the present. Through this program students will understand the country’s people, culture and history more deeply than ever possible from a classroom.

Program features:

  • living with a Chinese host family in Beijing and Suzhou;
  • living with a roommate in a hotel in Nanjing and Shanghai;
  • two weeks of daily intensive language classes, equivalent to one semester of high school Chinese study;
  • two weeks of field trips to the southeast of China that allows students to experience China’s variety of cultures;
  • a variety of activities including culture workshops, excursions, task-based projects, community service, farm work, etc.;
  • academic subject materials covered during the field trip will be varied and contain, but not limited to: history, economics, and enviromental studies;
  • a pre-program information session and pre-departure orientation session; and
  • post-program Student Ambassador opportunities.

Costs and Financial Assistance

The cost of the program is inclusive of:

  • Instruction and material costs
  • Room and board with host families
  • All lodge and transportation within China
  • All cultural workshops, excursions, trips and related expenses scheduled by China Institute during the program
  • Pre-departure orientation and packet
  • Pick-up/drop off at Beijing Capital Airport on your arrival/departure date

Expenses not included in the fee are international airfare, passport, transportation to and from the point of embarkation and arrival home in the U.S., health care, personal expenses such as telephone, fax, Internet access charges outside the host campus, costs of souvenirs, and additional meals and other activities.

The cost of the program in 2014: $6000

Participants must make a deposit of $1,000 within one week of notification of acceptance. The total program fees, payment schedule, and cancellation policies will be included in the admission packet.

China Institute reserves the right to, cancel any program that fails to garner sufficient enrollment, and raise program fees, with due notice in the case of unforeseen circumstances, such as monetary exchange, rate fluctuations; etc.

China Institute is a non-profit organization and we provide scholarships ranging from full tuition scholarship, half tuition scholarship to partial tuition scholarship, based on students’ financial need.

Summer Study in China 2014 Open House

Saturday, February 1, 2014
5:30 – 7:00 PM
Location: China Institute, 125 E. 65th Street, New York, NY 10065

Are you interested in studying abroad in China with China Institute this summer? Do you want to learn more about your teachers and the classes you’d be taking, the host families that you’d be living with, and the places you’d be visiting?

China Institute’s Summer Study in China (SSC) program invites high school students interested in applying for our summer 2014 to an open house. Students and their families will join SSC’s administrators and past participants for an evening of refreshments and conversation. Program leaders will introduce the anticipated offerings for summer 2014 and, along with a number of former students, remain on hand throughout the evening to discuss the program and answer any questions you may have.

SSC gives high school students the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in Chinese language and culture for an unforgettable summer experience.

This event is open to all interested parties. For general inquiries, please contact Miaomiao Wang by e-mail at or at 212-744-8181 ext. 145. RSVP by January 31, 2014.

Student Testimonials:

“The China Institute’s summer study in China program has helped me reach my goals of becoming involved in the Chinese world as well as proficiency in the language. Their amazing program had the perfect balance of instruction as well as cultural experiences and because of the program I have been able to advance two years of high school Mandarin study.”
- D.K. (SSC-Beijing, 2013)

“My adventure in China, with the China Institute as my guide, was an experience I will absolutely never forget. The strides I made in my language abilities, and the incredible amount of knowledge I gained about the country, its history, and its culture, are nothing compared to the lessons I learned about tolerance, open mindedness, and risk taking……The China Institute’s program allowed me the freedom to experience these moments and learn these lessons, and through teaching me about a foreign country thousands of miles away, taught me more about myself than I ever imagined possible.”
- I.F. (SSC-East China, 2013)

“My host mother and grandmother taught me to cook Chinese food (I’m now a dumplings expert!) and my grandfather would talk to me every night after dinner about more serious topics, like the ups and downs of life in China. They never spoke English to me even when I didn’t know a word, and helped me improve my Chinese so much.”
- A.V. (SSC-Beijing, 2012)

China Press: Interview with Summer Study in China Participant, Kyle Lui

For general inquiries, please contact Miaomiao Wang by e-mail at or at 212-744-8181 ext. 145.

Program Overview

From its inception in 2005, China Institute’s Summer Study in China program has maintained a reputation as one of the nation’s foremost study abroad programs for high school students learning Mandarin Chinese. During its inaugural year, the program drew international support from a variety of educational bodies, including: the New York City Board of Education, China’s National Office for the Teaching of Chinese as a Foreign Language and the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York.

In 2006 and 2007, the U.S. State Department awarded China Institute the privilege of administering the Department’s first ever Summer Language Institute for Youth in China. The Institute was able to leverage the Summer Study in China program’s preexisting infrastructure in support of this initiative, creating a vibrant language learning environment for 20 American high school students in the process. Students underwent a six-week intensive Mandarin course and lived with host families for the program’s entirety.

From 2008 through the present, Summer Study in China – Beijing (SSC-BJ) has successfully partnered with the Yucai School: a highly regarded public school first founded in 1937 by a tutor of Mao Zedong. Housed on the grounds of the Beijing Museum of Ancient Architecture, the Yucai School’s campus is one of near unparalleled beauty within the capital. The school’s grounds are surrounded by beautifully preserved buildings and its broad boulevards are lined with tall cypresses and pine trees. For over five years, the Yucai School has provided the Summer Study in China program with high-level administrative and logistical support, as they are intricately involved in the host family recruitment process. In the past few years, groups ranging from 20 to 35 students have participated in this four to five week-long program dedicated to providing a rich, immersive environment for the intensive study of Mandarin Chinese.

In 2012, the Summer Study in China program expanded its offerings to the city of Shanghai. Partnering with East China Normal University, 14 students spent their summer living and studying in Shanghai, and traveled to the mountainous province of Anhui at the end of the program.

During the summer of 2013, a new program, SSC-East China program, was open to all high school students. This brand new program combined a two-week language course in Beijing with a two-week field trip to Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai, which allowed students the freedom to explore different cultures from the North to the South.

From the program’s inception to today, more than 250 high school students have enjoyed a life-changing experience through the Summer Study in China program. Contributing to the program’s success is a team of high quality staff and teachers. Program resident directors include full-time China Institute staff members and university lecturers with strong program management experience.

Lead teachers sourced from top U.S. colleges and universities – including Harvard and Stanford – are responsible for maintaining the Institute’s language learning standards abroad, developing course curricula, recruiting teachers and administering professional development training for our Chinese staff members.

Chinese language teachers are recruited from some of China’s top universities, including: Beijing Normal University, Beijing Language University and East China Normal University. Teachers are usually ABD doctoral candidates specializing in the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language. All teachers undergo a series of professional development workshops prior to working with students to ensure that they are fully versed in American educational methodologies.

Language Learning Curriculum

The language learning curriculum shared by our intensive Mandarin programs is a synthesis of the National Standards for Foreign Language Education guidelines set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the pedagogical methodology used at programs operated by both Harvard University and Princeton University. The teaching methods employed by SSC instructors are focused on communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities. Our students learn Mandarin through a variety of methods, each of which emphasizes the importance of developing his/her speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

Shortly after arrival, each student is given a Chinese proficiency examination and placed into the appropriate class for his/her level. On average, class sizes range between 3-5 students. Formal Chinese language instruction occurs over four periods lasting from 8am to 12pm each weekday. Classroom learning is supplemented by daily assignments and language practicum, including those requiring students to converse with ordinary Chinese citizens in “real world” contexts. Language learning is assessed through daily class participation, weekly quizzes and an end-of-program exam and/or presentation.


The homestay is the centerpiece of our intensive language programs. Living with a host family offers our students the opportunity to be immersed in the daily life of Chinese families. During their homestay students learn and practice Chinese, as well as familiarize themselves with everything from the Chinese diet to family celebrations.

Choosing our host families and placing our students appropriately is a task we take very seriously. All host families include a corresponding Chinese host brother or sister of approximately the same age as the student and most host families will provide the student with his/her own room. Children around the world easily bond with their peers and having access to a teenage Chinese student provides added depth to the program.

Past Programs

During the past two summers, our programs kept blogs detailing students’ activities during their time in China. Please feel free to look at the collected posts below, which will give you and your family a much better sense of our programming.

Summer Study in China – Beijing 2013 Blog

Summer Study in China – East China 2013 Blog

Summer Study in China – Beijing 2012 Blog

Summer Study in China – Shanghai 2012 Blog

Examining the Beijing program’s itinerary and a typical day from last summer will provide a clear picture of the program’s structure and a student’s day-to-day life.

Summer Study in China – Beijing 2013

7.5 — Depart from JFK International Airport

7.6 — Arrive at Beijing Capital Airport
Get to know campus & Live in the International Student Dormitory at Beijing Yucai School

7.7 — Placement Test & Orientation
Visit Temple of Heaven

7.8 — Classes Begin (M-F)

7.9 — Welcome Banquet with Host Families
Move to Host Families

7.27 — Two-Day Trip to the Bashang Plateau for Horse Trekking

8.01 — Classes Resume

8.02 — Final Exam
Graduation Ceremony
Talent Show
Farewell Banquet

8.03 — Free time with Host Families

8.04 — Depart Beijing
Arrive Newark

A Typical Day

07:00 AM – 08:00 AM
Wake-Up, Breakfast, Depart for School

08:00 AM – 08:20 AM
Taichi Class

08:30 AM – 12:30 AM
Language Classes

12:30 PM – 13:30 PM
Lunch Break

13:30 PM – 17:00 PM
Cultural workshops, excursions, community services, free time

17:00 PM – 23:00 PM
Return Home, Dinner, Homework
Communicate with host families

  • mehta_240 Neha Mehta
  • savino_240 Shahn Savino
  • kress_240 Zoe Kress
  • klafter_240 Maxwell Klafter

Our Summer Study in China student ambassadors were interviewed by W.E Talk, SinoVision, in April 2013.

“Overall, I could not have dreamed of having a better trip. Through my schoolwork and practice with my host family and the local people, my Mandarin proficiency increased so much that I was able to jump a level once I came back to school in New York! I was so blessed to have such a sweet and supportive host family, and I know I will keep in touch with them for years to come.” — S.P. (China Institute ‘13)

“My language classes at China Institute have moved me toward this vision by filling an educational niche that is not available in my suburban community.” — M.B. (China Institute ‘13)

“As if these amazing experiences were not enough, my China Institute Summer Study in Beijing taught me a great deal about myself. It has given me a sense of independence and fearlessness that I know will serve me throughout my life. Living and studying away from home, in such a foreign land, gave me a lot of insight into what it means to be a responsible young adult who can be counted on to behave maturely.” –O.J (China Institute ‘12)

“My six weeks in China were the best six consecutive weeks of my life. I know that my experience is unlike any other I will ever have, and what I learned there will carry with me for the rest of my life.” – D.A. (China Institute ’10)

“In China I had the most amazing six weeks of my life…I came back from China not only more experienced and exposed to Mandarin and to Chinese culture but also a better, more thankful and humble student, sister, daughter and independent person.” – C.P. (China Institute ’10)

“In only six weeks I had accomplished so much: I built a lasting relationship with my host family, I became skilled in the Mandarin language and I explored Beijing, taking in the city’s beautiful temples, parks and markets. That fall, I skipped two full academic years of Chinese, becoming an active participant in the most advanced Chinese class in my school.” – Anonymous (China Institute ’09)

“The China Institute’s Summer Study Abroad program is in a league of its own. I researched a number of study abroad programs, and found the China Institute’s program to be unparalleled in its design. After experiencing the program, I now also know it is unparalleled – in every way. The program has three special features that set it apart from other programs:

First, this program has a home-stay component. Living with a local family enabled me to learn more Chinese than I had originally expected. Practicing the language at home with your host family allows you to learn more natural speech patterns and exposes you to a more expansive vocabulary. I also developed a very close relationship with my host family, and was able to learn much about life in China by hearing their life stories.

The second compelling feature of the program is the city itself. Beijing is a vibrant, international city, and provides a rich learning environment. My daily routine began with a bus ride to the west gate of the Temple of Heaven, which is located a few blocks away from the school. Every day, I stepped off the bus into a sea of commuters. I saw the temple gates to my right and the school neighborhood to my left. Walking to school, I passed the neighborhood shops and usually stopped to get two jian bing (savory crepes) for breakfast. From the time I left my door to the time I started class, I spoke to at least two local residents in Chinese.

Finally, the program is superior because of the students it attracts. The program’s application and selection process is rigorous. As a result, it attracts some of the country’s best and brightest students. My classmates were highly motivated and took their studies very seriously. I also made several close friends through the program that I still stay in touch with today.” – J.H. (China Institute ’08)

“I jumped ahead of the highest level of Chinese class at school meaning that I got more than two years of worth of my school’s Chinese. I want you to know how much it means for me to have participated; I will carry this with me for the rest of my life.” – J.P. (China Institute ’08)

“My experience in Beijing was unforgettable. Not only did my language skills reach a level of fluency, but I made lasting connections with people that still stand today and gained valuable insight into a world other than my own. The experience of living abroad certainly helped shape who I am today.” – B.S. (China Institute ’07)

“The families are so excited to host us! My host father would read the newspaper headlines with me every morning over breakfast, and I watched Chinese drama on TV with my host mother. I was so happy with my experiences from that summer that I later returned to Beijing to participate in School Year Abroad and was even able to live with the same host family.” – A.M. (China Institute ’06)

“After studying at the University of Vermont, the University of Michigan, as well as through private tutoring with a Middlebury Professor, I can say that the quality and intensity of the China Institute program is something that is unparalleled elsewhere. Even when compared to the five-day-a-week college course that I am currently attending at Michigan, the China institute program is superior. The sheer amount of material that was crammed into that 6-week program is astonishing.” Anonymous, (China Institute ’06)

“Since the program in 2006, I have stayed in touch with my host family, have had my host brother over to my home for Thanksgiving dinner, as well as stayed with my host family again in the summer of 2009. The China Institute program, through the host family program, and activities involving the host family, helped me forge a strong and long-lasting relationship with my host family.” – S.B. (China Institute ’06)

“Studying with the China Institute Summer Study program was one of the best summers I have ever had. That summer, my Chinese improved astronomically. The Summer Study program also gave me the confidence to take the Chinese SAT II. It was largely thanks to the China Institute that I scored so well.” – D.K. (China Institute ’06)


Participation in China Institute’s Summer Study in China programs is open to all high school students. To apply to our programs, applicants must be in good academic and disciplinary standing. We look for well- rounded students prepared to master this language and understand the culture inside and outside the classroom.

Admission decisions will be made on a rolling basis. The sooner we receive the application form and fee, the sooner we will be able to schedule your interview. The process of reviewing applications and rendering decisions will start in February.

A complete application packet includes:

  • An on-line application form;
  • Supplementary materials submitted along with the application form;
  • Two recommendation letters from teachers and counselors;
  • Instruction of Recommendation Letter

Please send to;

  • A $50 nonrefundable application fee.

Please mail to:
Miaomiao Wang
Summer Study in China
China Institute in America
125 East 65th Street
New York, NY, 10065-7088

If you have any further question regarding the application process, please feel free to contact Ms. Miaomiao Wang, the Resident Director of Summer Study in China by phone (212-744-8181 ext. 145) or by email (