Chinese Programs

Intensive Beginning Chinese (LC 123)

Location: Boston, MA

Dates: June 30 – August 10, 2018 (6 weeks)

Program info:

Intensive Summer Chinese (LC 123) at Boston University is a super-intensive 8-credit beginners’ program for students with no previous exposure to the Chinese language. The course meets four hours a day, five days a week, enabling us to cover the equivalent of two semesters of Chinese language at Boston University in the space of just six weeks. By the end of the course, students will be able to function in a variety of social contexts in Chinese, such as conversing on most common topics, including Chinese culture, food, customs, and local arts; they will also be able to read and write approximately 550 Chinese characters and will have mastered a large part of Chinese grammar. The course is extremely time-intensive and participants should not plan to have any other significant commitments during these six weeks.

Boston University


Chinese 2nd, 3rd or 4th year

Location: Shanghai, China

Dates: June – August 2018 (8 weeks)

Program Info: Shanghai Chinese Studies Program (Summer)

Prerequisite: Applicants MUST have completed at least two semesters of Chinese by May 2018 or demonstrate equivalent proficiency. Acceptance will be contingent on successful completion of this prerequisite.

BU’s Shanghai Chinese Studies Program at Shanghai’s Fudan University offers intensive language study, alone or in combination with an elective course. Students spend eight weeks living and studying in China’s largest and most vibrant city. An undeniably modern city, Shanghai preserves the legacy of its strong colonial past.

The core curriculum centers around approximately 15-18 hours each week of language instruction, emphasizing communicative proficiency and the fundamental structures of the language. Courses are augmented by travel to historic northern cities such as Beijing and Xi’an, weekend travel to a nearby Yangzi River delta city like Suzhou or another “water town,” and visits to local cultural sites.

Students complete the equivalent of two semesters of Chinese language (eight credits) at the second-, third- or fourth-year level by the end of the program.


Summer 2017 PGO-BU Chinese scholars in Guilin, China

Photo courtesy of Chinese scholar, Robert Ticzon


Why study Chinese?

  1. China is one of the world’s oldest and richest continuous cultures, over 5000 years old.
  2. China is the most populous nation in the world, with 1.28 billion people.
  3. Currently Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over 1 billion people around the world, about one fifth of the global population, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world.
  4. In addition to the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, Mandarin Chinese is also spoken in the important and influential Chinese communities of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, and Mongolia.
  5. China is the second largest economy in the world.
  6. China is one of largest trading partners of the United States as of many other countries.
  7. Many US companies do business in China and have long-term investments there.
  8. International businesses prefer to hire people who speak more than one language. China has become a huge market, and business leaders are looking for people who can speak Chinese and operate successfully in a Chinese cultural context.

Some surprising facts

Chinese has a relatively uncomplicated grammar. Unlike Spanish, German or English, Chinese has no verb conjugation (i.e., tense inflection) and no noun declension (e.g., gender and number distinctions). For example, while someone learning English has to memorize different verb forms of “see/saw/seen,” all you need to do in Chinese is just to remember one word: kan. While in English you have to distinguish between “cat” and “cats,” in Chinese there is only one form: mao. (Of course Chinese can indicate tense and singular/plural in other ways, but these are simple to learn.)

The basic word order of Chinese is subject — verb — object, exactly as in English. A large number of the key terms of Mandarin Chinese (such as the terms for state, health, science, party, inflation, and even literature) have been formed as translations of English concepts. You are entering a different culture, but the content of many of the modern key concepts is familiar.

Project GO-BU Boston University