Chinese Programs

Great Wall of China - Photo by Gabrielle Johnson, Project GO-BU summer 2013 in Shanghai

 

 

Intensive Beginning Chinese (LC 123)

Location: Boston, MA

Dates: July – August 2015

Intensive Summer Chinese (LC 123) at Boston University is a superintensive 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.

Note: If you have already completed 2 semesters or more in Chinese, you are ineligible for Summer Study at BU and should apply only for the program in Shanghai, which offers instruction for all levels.

Shanghai Chinese Studies Program

Location: Shanghai, China

Dates: June – August 2015

Prerequisite: Applicants MUST have completed at least one semester of Chinese by May 2015. If you plan on applying for this program and have not yet taken Chinese, you may show us proof of enrollment for a Chinese course for the spring semester at your institution. Acceptance will be contingent on successful completion of that course.

The 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 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) by the end of the program.

Program Info: Shanghai Chinese Studies Program (Summer)

 

Photo by Gabrielle Johnson, Project GO-BU summer 2013 in Shanghai

Photo by Gabrielle Johnson, Project GO-BU summer 2013 in Shanghai

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 has now become the second largest economy in the world.
  6. China is one of largest trading partners of the United States.
  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.

Students learn about tea culture in China from a tea brewing master in Shanghai. Photo by Jason Anderson, Project GO-BU alumnus 2012.

Students learn about tea culture in China from a tea brewing master in Shanghai. Photo by Jason Anderson, Project GO-BU alumnus 2012.

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 not complicated.)

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.

 

photo by Gabrielle Johnson, Project GO-BU summer 2013 in Shanghai

photo by Gabrielle Johnson, Project GO-BU summer 2013 in Shanghai

Project GO-BU Boston University