Summer Study in China

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Travel to China for a life changing experience! Differentiate and enhance your college applications! China Institute has taken over 300 students to China, allowing them to select from two different itineraries. Our program consists of three basic components – classroom language learning, activities and excursions, and the hallmark homestay experience, all of which are discussed in more detail below. Together, the Summer Study in China program aims not just to help students improve their Chinese, and give them an up-close look at Chinese culture as it really is, but also to provide our students with an opportunity to “live like a local” in China.

Our 2016 SSC program from July 10 to August 7 completed successfully. We invite you to visit 2016 SSC blog to view students wonderful adventures in Beijing.


100,000 Strong began as an initiative from President Obama helping to increase and diversify the pool of American students studying Mandarin in China. Learn more

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SSC – Beijing

SSC-Beijing is a four-week program offering high school students the opportunity to receive intensive language training within an immersive cultural environment. Students use their Chinese to communicate in daily life, improving both their fluency, pronunciation, and confidence. Through rigorous classroom hours five days a week, daily real-life practice, and four weeks of homestay experience, language acquisition in SSC-Beijing is equivalent to a full academic year of Chinese.

Throughout the experience, our students also gain a deeper understanding and awareness of Chinese culture through a number of on-site activities (e.g. tai chi, calligraphy, paper cutting, etc.). In addition to these cultural workshops, there are weekly excursions into the city and surrounding mountains. 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 as well as endless wanderings through old neighborhoods.

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 Chinese study;
• Cultural workshops, athletics, community service, and city excursions;
• Trips to the surrounding mountains outside of Beijing to catch a glimpse of rural life;
• A pre-program information session and pre-departure orientation session;
• Post-program Student Ambassador opportunities with CI and 100 Thousand Strong. Learn More

SSC – East China


SSC-East China combines the language intensity of the Beijing program with an exciting journey to explore China’s cultural diversity. In this four-week program, our students begin by exploring some of Beijing’s highlights before taking off on a trek around Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai, each with a distinctive culture and history all its own.

We begin by mirroring the Beijing program exactly for the first two weeks, living with host families and immersing ourselves in Chinese language and culture with daily classes as well as cultural workshops and excursions to places like the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and Great Wall.

At the end of the second week, our students board a high-speed train to Nanjing, the “southern capital” of China during several dynasties beginning in 3 AD. Few people know that some of China’s most well-known traditional art forms (including calligraphy and brush painting) originated in Nanjing. With rich history and depth, Nanjing serves as the perfect gate-way to introduce our students to China’s “southern culture.” In fact, China Institute’s new exhibition in the fall of 2016, Art in a Time of Chaos: Masterworks from Six Dynasties China, will feature artwork from Nanjing and the museums our students will visit.

It’s then onward to Suzhou, the “Venice of China,” and a charming city with over 1,500 years of history. Students will spend a week exploring the city’s famous scholar gardens and old town via winding canals, while attending cultural workshops in silk production, architectural design, and the art of tea. Each student will also get a glimpse of daily life in this quaint yet fast-growing city through a short stay with a local host family.

The journey will end in Shanghai, China’s most cosmopolitan city, with a long history of interaction with the West. From grand colonial buildings on the Bund to the small alleys in the French Concession, our students will get to experience the juxtaposition of past, present and future in a modern Shanghai.

We then return to Beijing to meet the rest of the group, swap stories, and say one final goodbye to our host families before boarding a plane to New York.

Program features:

• Living with a Chinese host family in Beijing and Suzhou;
• Stay in hotels, two to a room, 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 the variety of China’s 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 environmental studies;
• A pre-program information session and pre-departure orientation session;
• Post-program Student Ambassador opportunities.

Shortly after arrival, each student is given a Chinese proficiency exam 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 usually lasting from 8:30am 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.

Contributing to our program’s success is a team of high quality staff and teachers. Lead teachers sourced from top U.S. universities and K-12 schools – 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.

Our Chinese language teachers in Beijing are recruited from some of China’s top universities, including: Beijing Normal University, Beijing Language University, and East China Normal University. 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.

The language learning curriculum shared by our summer 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 top American universities. In short, our students learn Mandarin through a variety of methods, each of which emphasizes his/her speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.

The program is led on the ground in Beijing by a full-time China Institute staff member who specializes in program management, is experienced in China, and there to ensure quality.

Beijing is China’s cultural and political capital with lots to see and do. Nearly every afternoon after class students launch out into the city for a cultural workshop, site visit, or adventure of some kind.

Our cultural workshops are a way for students to get up close and personal with Chinese culture, and range in things like mask and dumpling-making, music lessons, and paper-cutting. Sometimes this is onsite at school, other times we go into the city to learn from a professional in town.

And as China’s cultural and political capital, we do their best to see as much of Beijing as possible. There are countless ancient and historical neighborhoods to get lost in, temples to see, and sites to visit. But at the same time, there’s so much value in slowing down, and placing quality over quantity. We’re not tourists, we’re not here to tick off boxes while rushing monuments and statues. Many of our visits to places like the Lama Temple or an old Beijing Hutong leave room for time for students to visit with the locals, chances to ask questions of them and practice what they’ve been learning.

SSC East China in particular, focuses on this cultural aspect and getting out into the world. After two weeks of morning classes, the program leaves for Southeastern China where students spend the morning and afternoon seeing Sun Yat Sen’s mausoleum, or taking boat boxing classes on a river. China is a puzzlingly diverse place, and SSC East China attempts to make sense of that with days packed full.

The homestay component is the centerpiece of our intensive language program. Living with a host family for the duration of the program offers our students the opportunity to be immersed in the daily life of local Chinese families. During their homestay, students learn and practice Chinese while getting to see and experience everything from authentic Chinese cuisine to family celebrations.

Our students will wake up for breakfast with their host family and will be expected home for dinner each night. Popular after-dinner activities will include - aside from homework - going for walks to explore the neighborhood, playing a game of ping-pong with their host-sibling, or Chinese chess with a host-grandparent. Many families will take our student along to their host-sibling’s soccer practice, out to dinner, or perhaps to meet some extended family.

Living with another family for 4 weeks can be a daunting task, especially with a language and culture barrier present. Both students and families receive orientations from CI staff on how to get the most out of the experience, leading discussions and helping each side learn about what to expect. While challenging, many of our previous students say that spending time with their host families is what they remember most.

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 this relationship with a young Chinese student provides a terrific amount of depth to the experience.

Cost for Summer Study in China in 2016:
SSC-Beijing $6,000
SSC-East China $6,000

The cost of the program includes:

• All language instruction and material costs
• All lodging, transportation, and meals within China
• Room and board with host families
• A mobile phone for domestic calls and texts
• All cultural workshops, excursions, trips and related expenses scheduled by China Institute
• Pre-departure orientation and packet
• Pick-up/drop off at Beijing Capital Airport on your arrival/departure date

Expenses not included are international airfare as well as passport fees, travel insurance, and spending money. China Institute can assist you in procuring a Chinese Visa for a small fee.

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 acceptance 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 provides scholarships based on students’ financial need and the Institute’s ability to provide.

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 make great efforts in learning the language and understanding the culture.

Admission decisions will be made on a rolling basis. The sooner we receive your application materials and fee, the sooner we will be able to schedule your interview. The process of reviewing applications and rendering decisions will start in January 2016.

Dates for both SSC Beijing and East China are July 10 to August 7, 2016.

Still unsure? Attend one of our SSC Information Sessions at our offices on Washington Street; hear from our SSC team, ask questions, and meet a student alumni.
• Saturday February 20th, 2-4 pm
• Saturday March 19th, 2-4 pm
• Saturday April 16th, 2-4 pm

Apply Now

A complete application packet includes:
• An on-line application form, linked above;
• Supplementary materials - including at least one of the following (the more, the better):
a) a handwritten Chinese personal statement (think self-introduction; the length may depend on your Chinese level)
b) a typed English personal statement (think goals and interest in the program, prior language study if any, ways in which you’ve adapted or been outside your comfort zone)
c) an oral self-introduction in Mandarin Chinese (in .mp3 format; the length and depth may depend on your Chinese level)
• Two recommendation letters from teachers and counselors (Instruction for Recommendation Letter)
• A $50 non-refundable application fee

Please mail application fee to:
Summer Study in China
China Institute in America
100 Washington Street
New York, NY, 10006

If you have any further questions regarding the application process, please feel free to contact Aaron Nicholson at [email protected] or call 212-744-8181 ext.138

Each year our programs keep a blog of what’s happening in their day-to-day to keep friends and families posted on their adventures. Take a look at the blogs from some of our previous programs below:

2016 Summer Study in China

2015 Summer Study in China - Beijing

2014 Summer Study in China - Beijing & East China

2013 Summer Study in China - Beijing & East China