Beijing, one of the world’s oldest cities, is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, and the country’s political, economic, and cultural center. 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. Many changes have taken place for the Olympic games that Beijing hosted in 2008.
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 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.
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.
Students at Peking University live in international student dormitories, where double rooms are available with A/C, TV, phone, and shared baths. Alternatively. as of the Fall of 2010, students will have the option of a homestay with a Chinese family in the city.
The China Studies Institute offers excursions in and around Beijing, including trips to the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, and Marco Polo Bridge. Additionally, the program offers trips to the Northern and Southern parts of China and explores other cities such as Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Nanjing.