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international programs

Beijing, China

program description


The City

Beijing, one of the world’s oldest cities, is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. Located on the edge of the North China Plain, it is the second largest city in the country with a population of more than 12 million. Beijing is a city of contrasts where the ultra-modern and the historical live side by side: the latest computers and cell phones coexist with the abacus; neon discos and nightclubs stand next to ancient temples. Inhabited by cave dwellers some 500,000 years ago and rebuilt by Kublai Khan in 1215 AD, Beijing—once a capital for Mongol and Manchu—is destined to be one of the most important cities of the 21st century. Fresh from a massive urban renewal in conjunction with the 2008 Olympic Games, China’s bustling capital city of Beijing is the nation’s political, educational, and cultural center. It has more universities and research institutes than any other city in China, making it the intellectual hub of the country.


The Host Universities

BC/Alliance Program

The BC/Alliance for Global Education Program is hosted at the Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU). Founded in 1962, BLCU is considered to be one of China’s premier institutions for the teaching of Chinese language and culture to foreigners. The majority of Chinese language textbooks are written at and by BLCU professors and are used in Chinese classrooms across the U.S. and throughout the world. Beijing Language and Culture University confers degrees at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels and is comprised of 11 faculties and research institutes. The university hosts 14,000 foreign and Chinese students and is located in the Haidian district, which is home to the majority of Beijing’s universities.

China Studies Institute

The China Studies Institute is based at Peking University (Beida), the first national university in Chinese modern history. Located in the northwest of Beijing, the University has charming lakes and ponds, exquisite traditional-style buildings, and a well-designed pagoda which has been regarded as a landmark of Beida. The University consists of five faculties— Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences, Medicine, and Information and Engineering —and there are thirty schools and colleges offering 93 undergraduate programs, 199 postgraduate programs, and 173 doctoral programs. Peking University has over 26,000 students. On campus there are also 1,500 long-term international students and over 2,500 short-term international students from 80 countries. With a collection of 5.51 million books and more than 6,500 titles of Chinese and foreign journals and newspapers, the University library is the largest university library in Asia. The library also serves as a comprehensive modern information center.


The Programs

BC/Alliance Program

The Alliance for Global Education is a partnership of the College of Global Studies at Arcadia University and the Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University. The Alliance program for BC students will run Fall and Spring semesters beginning in Fall 2014. Students take a 3-credit Chinese language course, with no language prerequisite (in addition to a 6-credit track option), a designated core course, and choose electives in economics, environmental studies, film studies, fine arts, international affairs, political science, and sociology. Internships are also available at Chinese and foreign-owned companies, think tanks, NGOs, and media or art studios, in addition to volunteer opportunities with local and international organizations.

China Studies Institute 

The China Studies Institute offers a broad range of courses in English across the disciplines, taught by leading Chinese scholars in their fields. A distinguished speakers “Forum” is organized each semester to address pressing issues in China. 
Internships and volunteer projects are an integral part of the program, and provide opportunities to gain work experience and exposure to contemporary Chinese economy and society. Students choose from a broad range of Chinese and international institutions, such as Women of China Magazine, CNN, The Economist magazine and Lockheed Martin. With the approval of the program director, students may also design independent service and volunteer projects.

Orientation/Academic support

BC/Alliance Program

The Alliance provides a mandatory 3-4 day orientation program upon students’ arrival in country to introduce them to different aspects of the program. The Alliance’s Resident Director, Ms. Katharine (Kitty) Poundstone, is responsible for directing the academic program and placing students in internship sites, organizing and leading orientation and excursions, serves as a cultural resource, upholds the Alliance’s academic and health and safety policies, and provides emergency assistance.

China Studies Institute 

The Director of the China Studies Institute, Dr. Youli Sun, oversees activities during students’ stay in Beijing. In addition, a BC on-site coordinator assists students in academic and personal issues and organizes regular excursions through the city. BC students may contact academic advisors, deans, OIP staff, and other BC administrative staff for assistance as needed.



BC/Alliance Program

On-campus housing or homestays with Beijing families are two options that students can choose from. Student accommodation will be in an international student dormitory in double rooms with other Alliance students. Rooms are wired for high-speed internet. Each floor is equipped with washing machines and kitchen with stove and microwave. Two semesters of Chinese language are a prerequisite to placement in a homestay with a local family.

China Studies Institute 

Students at Peking University live in international student dormitories, where double rooms are available with A/C, TV, phone, and shared baths. Alternatively, students have the option of a homestay with a Chinese family in Beijing.



BC/Alliance Program

Moving beyond the classroom, students integrate into the local community through co-curricular activities and volunteer opportunities. The Alliance for Global Education offers co-curricular activities such as calligraphy, Chinese cooking, and kung fu lessons during the semester program.  Field visits to local museums, corporations, and historic sites are included as well as a week-long filed study trip to central and western Chinese provinces, which exposes students to China’s social, economic, and geographic diversity.

China Studies Institute 

The China Studies Institute offers excursions in and around Beijing, including trips to the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Marco Polo Bridge, Xiyu Village, and the 798 Art Village. Additionally, the program includes a two-week study trip at the end of the semester. Students choose among six different travel itineraries, each focusing on a particular theme, all essential to the understanding of China. To further consolidate what is learned in participants are required to read two books related to their chosen trip theme, attend all lectures or corporate visits, and complete individual projects, approved prior to the trips. Activities related to the study of Chinese language include “Chinese Tables”, a speaking contest, and debate in Chinese during the semester.


BC/Alliance Program



China Studies Institute

Program Guide

Course Offerings


Information Booklet

Student Blog: "Orient Express: Life in Beijing"

Semester in Beijing: "the most opportunistic place in the world." John R. R. Howie is "World Class" on