Understand China by understanding how the Chinese do business.
Gain firsthand experience of the language, culture, and customs that drive the economic development of the world's most populated nation in a nine-week program that combines intensive study of Chinese for business purposes with a practical language practicum in a local or multinational business.
Program Structure and Costs
During the first month of the program, students attend an intensive business Chinese language course that focuses on the specialized vocabulary, jargon, linguistic styles, and appropriate behaviors used in a professional setting. Students are also introduced to different industries through articles and case studies. Private tutorials with language instructors provide a chance to focus on individual language needs. During this time, students develop a Chinese resume, practice interviewing skills, and participate in interviews with local organizations.
During the final four weeks of the program, students participate in a language practicum and are placed with local or multinational companies, giving them an invaluable opportunity to apply their formal learning of business Chinese in context. Depending on the placement, students might attend meetings, assist in projects, translate, research, or observe how the Chinese do business. On a daily basis, students are also expected to complete academic assignments related to their practicum. Students meet weekly with their language instructors to discuss linguistic and cultural interactions related to their practicum. As final term projects, students write an analytical account in Chinese about their practicum and give an oral presentation in Chinese to instructors and fellow students.
Between the business Chinese course and the language practicum, students can explore China by travelling independently during a one-week break.
Applications due: March 1
Arrival in Beijing: June 15
Travel break: July 15-23
Program ends: August 19
Click on the "Budget Sheets: Summer" link above for program costs.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Check with your home school's department, study abroad office, or scholarship office to see if any funding or scholarships are available to you.
Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarship (FLAS)
Find out who administers the summer FLAS program at your home school. For Columbia/Barnard students, the FLAS Fellowship competition is open to undergraduates and graduate students, including Ph.D. candidates, who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents. Undergraduates must be applying to study the third year level of the language or above.
Weatherhead East Asian Institute Funding for Columbia Students
Columbia University's Weatherhead East Asian Institute offers funding for research, language acquisition, unpaid internships, and dissertation write-up during the summer and academic year to selected Columbia students committed to professional and academic engagement with East and Southeast Asia. Eligibility varies depending on the particular funding opportunity.
Freeman Awards for Study in Asia
Created to assist U.S. undergraduate students (U.S. citizens or permanent residents only) with demonstrated financial need and limited prior experience in East and Southeast Asia, Freeman-ASIA will fund approximately 400 U.S. students over the next two academic years (2016-17, 2017-18), with awards ranging from $3,000 per student for summer study and $5,000 per semester, to a maximum of $7,000 for a full year abroad.
The Blakemore Foundation
For those who already have a bachelor's degree.
David L. Boren Scholarship
Summer-only programs must be eight (8) weeks or more and are limited to science, technology, engineering and mathematics students.
Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship
Award amounts will vary depending on the length of study and student need with the average award being approximately $4,000. Undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at two-year or four-year colleges or universities are eligible to apply. Students who apply for and receive the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad are then eligible to receive an additional $3,000 Critical Need Language Supplement from the Gilman Scholarship Program for a total possible award of up to $8,000.
Graduate Student Summer Tuition Credit
Columbia Ph.D. students who wish to use the summer tuition credit must apply directly to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Since the program fee covers both tuition and housing, please note that you will be responsible for paying out-of-pocket the portion that is attributed to housing.
Graduate students from other schools should check with their home schools and their departments for funding.
Summer Language Fellowship for International Students
The Summer Language Fellowship for International Students supports international Ph.D. students in the humanities and social sciences who need to study a foreign language (applies to all languages) abroad during the summer. GSAS will endow summer fellowships with a maximum award of $3,000.
Other Financing Opportunities:
For current Columbia University students and alumni, reach out to the Office of Global Programs and Fellowships to explore and apply for internal, national, and international fellowships. The Fellowships team will inform students about a full range of opportunities and help them determine which programs best meet their goals.
For Columbia College & SEAS students, financial aid is usually not eligible to be applied to study overseas in the summer. Please note that different schools do follow different policies. For this reason, meet with your financial aid advisor as soon as you can to discuss your personal financial situation.
- Must be a currently enrolled undergraduate student in good academic and disciplinary standing. Graduate students and post-graduates may also apply.
- Must have two years of college-level Chinese or the equivalent
- Minimum 3.0 average language GPA
- Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
How to Apply
Want to apply? Click the “Apply Now” button located at the top and bottom of this page. You will be asked to set up a short profile, which will allow us to send you relevant information about your application. Once you’ve created a profile, you will see a checklist of items that you will need to submit. These generally include:
- Application questionnaire(s)
- Letter(s) of recommendation
- Official transcript(s)
Based on their applications, students are provisionally placed in one of the courses below. Final placement occurs in Beijing after students take a placement test.
The program organizes students to take the national Business Chinese Test. If successful, students may also receive a certificate from China's National Language Center.
Note: The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.
Chinese 3014 OC. Third Year Business Chinese and Practicum. 8 points.
Prerequisites: Two years of college-level Chinese or the equivalent
This course is an intensive summer course for third-year business Chinese, which is designed to help students who have studied at least two years of Chinese (or the equivalent) to achieve greater proficiency in the oral and written use of the language. The emphasis will be on the specialized vocabulary, jargon, linguistic styles, and appropriate behaviors used in a professional setting. The purpose is to develop students’ natural flow of the spoken language, expand vocabulary and produce written paragraph-length Chinese.
Chinese 4023 OC. Fourth Year Business Chinese and Practicum. 8 points.
Prerequisites: At least three years of college-level Chinese or the equivalent
This course is an intensive summer course for four-year business Chinese, which is designed to help students who have studied at least three years of Chinese (or the equivalent) to achieve greater proficiency in the oral and written use of the language. Working with real case studies of international and Chinese companies within the Chinese marketplace, students will gain insight into Chinese business practices, develop cultural awareness, and get a feel for the excitement and challenge of working in today's global business world. Student will critically examine the successes and failures of firms within the Chinese business arena. Topics of wide interest such as international marketing and trade, finance, management strategy, business politics, and business ethics will be addressed.
During the first four weeks of the program, language classes meet Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. In the afternoons, students have private tutorials with their instructors for an hour and a half. Program participants have the option of meeting with language partners from whom they can deeper understanding about the city as well as ordinary people's livers which they cannot learn in the classroom setting.
During the final four weeks, students spend at least 30 hours a week at their language practicum which is a placement at a local or multinational company. Students are required to meet with language course instructors for one hour classes on Saturdays. Language practicum placements will be finalized in Beijing, so we ask students to remain flexible about the type of company with which they may be placed.
Upon successful completion of the program, grades are entered into Columbia's online grading system. Non-Columbia students (including Barnard) can request electronic transcripts online through the Columbia University registrar.
No credit is granted to students who do not complete the full program.
Life in Beijing
You will live with another program participant in a shared suite in the student dormitory of Peking University's Global Village. Each suite includes a bathroom, air conditioning, telephone, TV and internet access.
Most meals are not included in the program fee. You should plan to bring between $5-$10 a day to cover the cost of your meals and bottled water. You will be issued a Peking University student ID which can be used as a meal card to be used in the dining halls on campus. The cafeterias have a wide range of food and are really inexpensive, about $1 per meal. A meal at a local restaurant is not very expensive either. Places that cater to foreigners and offer western foods tend to be more expensive where prices can be similar to those in the U.S. If you think you will frequent these types of places often, you should plan to budget more money for food.
The program will include several group trips to historic and cultural sites including: Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, watching an acrobatic show (Chaoyang Theater) and a Peking Opera show (Huguang Theater).
Depending on student interest, workshops in taijiquan, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese traditional music, and Chinese dance may be available.
In past years, program students have participated with university students in round-table discussions and an end-of-program talent show. Local experts are invited to speak about contemporary topics such as the Chinese economy and doing business in China. When possible, young local alumni are invited to speak with the group so they can learn more about how what it is like to actually live and work in China.
Part of your summer experience includes time spent with language partners: selected students from local universities that spend time with you in a relaxed, out-of-class setting, not only to practice your Chinese, but also giving you their perspectives on what to see and do while in Beijing.
"The experiences I had with my language partner made the summer semester infinitely more fulfilling...I was able to transcend the tourist and international student barrier and integrate into the Beijing community."
The program is based at Peking University (PKU). Founded in 1898, PKU (commonly known as “Beida”) is one of the most prestigious and selective universities in China. It was the first national university covering comprehensive disciplines in China, and has been a leading institution of higher education in China since its establishment. The campus, known as “Yan Yuan” (the garden of Yan), is situated at Haidian District in the western suburb of Beijing. It is located near the Yuanmingyuan Garden and the Summer Palace. Peking University is proud of its outstanding faculty, brilliant students, and open and diversified atmosphere. Its aim is to rank among the world’s best universities in the future, and has fostered extensive linkages with more than 260 universities and research institutions all over the globe.
Zhirong Wang received her B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature from Peking University, and her Ph.D. in Chinese Language from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She joined Columbia University in 1996 and has taught courses ranging from Elementary Chinese to Advanced Chinese. She is the author of several Chinese textbooks including Renwen Tianxia: Advanced Chinese for Humanities (Beijing Language and Culture University Press); An Elementary Chinese Reader (Beijing University Press); A Primer for Advanced Beginners of Chinese (co-author, Columbia University Press).
Under the supervision of Columbia faculty, local university instructors will also teach some components of the Chinese language courses.
Company: Pudong Art
Field Placement Reports from Past Participants
I felt that I learned most during the field placement period. It’s the perfect way to apply language and it served as an incredible motivation. I also learned many things about cultural and oral Chinese that I never would have learned in a class setting! My responsibilities were translation, writing product descriptions, and conducting product research and creating reports. I learned so much about Chinese art, traditional Chinese cultural, how to better communicate in Chinese and how to improve my spoken colloquial Chinese.
Company: Pudong Art
My goals were to improve my Chinese speaking and listening ability, become more fluent, expand my vocabulary and find an internship that suited my interests. I met these goals. The field placement component was amazing, the best part of my time here. It is very necessary because I think it was the part of the program where I learned most daily used Chinese words and got to apply what I learned during the language portion of the program. My responsibilities were translation, editing, research on foreign markets, writing English descriptions for products, and surveying and promoting products.
I worked at Giant, which is the fifth largest video game company in China. My field placement responsibilities included primarily market research. My supervisor was very helpful as she taught us more complicated/technical words and phrases. She oversaw our work and progress. I learned a great deal of business vocabulary and grammar from the academic portion.
Company: U-Learn Shanghai Educational Group
My field placement was with U-Learn Education (www.shyulun.com), a Shanghai-based company that provides educational services to Chinese middle and high school students who are looking to study in the U.S. for college. They operate two schools in the Shanghai and Suzhou area, as well as provide college application and academic tutoring resources to students. My responsibilities included reading over client’s college essays and developing college workshop curricula, weekly presentations to the company on research and case studies. My supervisor George set me up with different mentors every week which helped me get to know my co-workers very quickly. He always looked over my presentations and gave me feedback.
Company: Shanghai Roger
My goals were to learn what are the differences between doing business in China and the United States. I did meet my goals. The field placement component is necessary for this specific program because we were able to apply what we learned in class in the office. My responsibilities were to research and write reports, assist in making a movie, and translation. I learned electrical engineering terms and concepts, Chinese business culture, how to give presentations, and how to communicate with bosses and colleagues.
Company: Guan Pu Real Estate
My goals were to learn Chinese cultural and business practices and practice my Chinese. I met my goals. I think this field placement gave the program an extremely unique aspect and was critical to feeling immersed in Chinese culture. My responsibilities were to compare the L.A., San Francisco real estate markets with Shanghai. My supervisor Lang Zong was incredibly helpful and eager to help us learn. We learned so much about how the Chinese conduct business, hold meetings and interact with each other as well as so many facets of Chinese culture.
Main Contacts in New York
Office of Global Programs
606 Kent Hall
1140 Amsterdam, Mail Code 3948
New York, NY 10027-6902
For questions related to the topics below, please contact the person listed:
In the event of an emergency after office hours, please contact Columbia University Emergency at 212-854-5555 or Columbia University Security at 212-854-2796.