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Columbia Summer Program
Foreign Language Learning
Thank you for your interest in the Summer Business Chinese Program in Shanghai!
Most program information for summer 2017 will be available by the end of fall term. For now, we encourage you to click on "Start an Application" at the top or bottom of this page to register your interest.
Once you're registered, we will notify you via email when all application components are finalized and of any upcoming information sessions.
Columbia University's Summer Business Chinese Program in Shanghai is based at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. For 10 weeks, advanced Chinese language students gain a firsthand experience of the language, culture, and customs that drive the economic development of the world's most populated nation.
The program begins with six weeks of intensive, personalized instruction in Chinese language classes that emphasize the specialized vocabulary, jargon, linguistic styles, and appropriate behaviors used in a professional setting. Private tutorials and daily practice with a language partner chosen from local university students supplement class work. A discussion series featuring speakers who provide personal insight into working in China is offered.
During the final four weeks of the program, students have field placements in the Shanghai offices of local or multinational companies giving them an invaluable opportunity to apply their classroom learning of Chinese in a professional setting. Depending on the company, students might attend meetings, assist in projects, translate, research, or observe how the Chinese do business. Program instructors meet weekly with students to answer questions concerning language and linguistics. As final term projects, students write an analytical account in Chinese of their experiences as interns and give an oral presentation in Chinese to instructors and fellow students.
The program includes:
Third and fourth year language courses focusing on the language and customs used in Chinese business settings
Supervised field placements at multinational companies
Weekly lecture series featuring timely issues and insight into global business topics
Excursions and cultural activities
A language pledge in which the students agree to speak Chinese only
The program runs from late May - early August. Please click here for a complete Academic Calendar.
Must be a currently enrolled undergraduate student in good academic standing. Graduate students and post-graduates may also apply.
Must have two years of college-level Chinese or the equivalent
During the first six weeks of the program, language classes meet Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. In the afternoons, students meet daily During the first six weeks of the program, language classes meet Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. In the afternoons, students meet daily with conversation partners and have private tutorials with their instructors twice a week.
During the final four weeks, students spend at least 30 hours a week at an internship and should also plan to meet with their language instructors on a weekly basis.
Students receive ten points of Columbia credit upon successful completion of the full ten-week program. Students take a Business Chinese Test in Shanghai to evaluate their language skills. Upon completion of the test, students receive a certificate from China's National Language Center. No credit is granted to students who do not complete the full program.
Established in 1896, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) is one of China's oldest universities. Identified as one of China's key institutions, it is involved in Project 211, a government-funded initiative to advance the state of higher education in China today. SJTU comprises 21 schools and has undergraduate, master's degree, doctoral, and postdoctoral programs. It has a full-time enrollment of 23,900 students.
SJTU has five campuses and the program is based at the centrally located Xuhui campus in the southwest part of Shanghai. It is also actively involved internationally. It has established relations with over 100 colleges and universities around the world and collaborates on projects with international research institutions and companies.
The Resident Director is Zhongqi Shi who holds an M.A. in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics from Beijing Language and Culture University. He has worked in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University since 2005 where he teaches Advanced Chinese and Business Chinese. He wrote and published a textbook specifically focusing on business Chinese which is used in the third year course (3C Business Chinese). He and his co-authors are currently working on a fourth year business Chinese textbook.
Under the supervision of Columbia faculty, local university instructors will also teach some components of the Chinese language courses.
The program integrates the historical and cultural resources of Shanghai into the program through several excursions to local sites such as Zhou Zhuang, a small canal town that has preserved its historical architecture; Shanghai Museum of Civil Development; and the Oriental Pearl Tower.
Visits are made to companies that give students insight into various industries and if an international company, how they entered the Chinese market, and a first hand look at how business is conducted in China. Past visits have included the stock market, Bao Steel, and Coca Cola. When possible, local young 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.
During the travel break, students may travel independently or they may choose to participate for an additional fee in the program-arranged trip to Chengdu which is home to over 300 out of the world's top 500 companies. During the trip, students are paired with local university students to meet with the Hi-Tech Zone's government officials and visit international and local companies. A trip will also be made to the Giant Panda Research and Breeding Center, the world's only giant panda breeding and research base.
Columbia students: Your grades will appear on your transcript in the same way that your grades appear for courses taken at Columbia. Your grades from the program are calculated into your GPA.
Visiting students (including Barnard): To request a transcript, log in to your Columbia Student Services Online (SSOL) account after your grades have been submitted. You do not need to wait for all of your grades to be reported in order to request a transcript. However, if you request a transcript before all of your grades have been submitted, you will need to request additional transcripts once all grades are submitted. You will be able to request transcripts using this system for about a year after the end of your program. After that, you will need to go through the Columbia Registrar to request transcripts: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/registrar/docs/alumni/transcripts.html
Students will live in double rooms in an on campus dormitory. Each room is air-conditioned and has a telephone, television, and refrigerator. No kitchen facilities are available. Students may eat their meals at the on-campus cafeteria or at local restaurants.
With a population of over 14 million is known as the financial and business center of the People's Republic of China. As a port city, Shanghai has long been involved in trade. Silk, tea, and other Chinese commodities caught the eyes of westerners early on and lured the international community to the city Paris of the East. Now, in the new millennium, there is no better place to witness the forces that drive China's modernization and economic development as it competes as a major player in the global marketplace. The city is home to many multinational companies headquartered in downtown Shanghai and the Pudong Special Economic Zone. It is a lively and cosmopolitan city but those in search of old Shanghai can still find remnants of its past.
Billable Expenses Total:
Billable expenses are costs that WILL BE billed by Columbia. Students will either be billed online through e-bill or will need to pay the Office of Global Programs directly for all of these expenses.
* Covers tuition, course materials, housing, orientation, excursions, cultural activities and $1,700 housing fee. Does not cover airfare, visa fees, medical insurance, meals and personal expenses.
**One-time fee for Visiting Students only. Barnard students may be charged this fee if they have never taken a course at Columbia.
***A withdrawal fee of $75 is required of any student who withdraws from the program once they have registered. Students who withdraw may also be responsible for a portion of tuition and housing, depending on the withdrawal date.
Back To TopEstimated Expenses Total:
Estimated expenses are costs NOT billed by Columbia. The estimated figures in this section provide a basis for students to determine their individual budgets. These expenses are NOT paid to the program.
Round-trip airfare NYC-Shanghai
Miscellaneous (including visa fees, local transportation, local cell phone usage, personal travel, etc.)
*Please note that all students must have health insurance which covers them overseas.
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 WEAI 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.
Prospective students should visit the Freeman-ASIA website (http://www.iie.org/programs/freeman-asia#.V9cJ2zWPuSa) for eligibility requirements, full application instructions and a list of deadlines.
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.
Columbia Ph.D. students who wish to use the summer tuition credit must apply directly to GSAS. The instructions and guidelines for this award can be found at the following website: http://gsas.columbia.edu/content/summer-tuition-credit.
If there is a comprehensive Program Fee that covers both tuition and housing, please note that you will be responsible for paying out of pocket the portion that is attributed to housing. The summer tuition credit only covers tuition and not housing.
Graduate students from other schools should check with their home schools and their departments for funding.
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.
A student in good academic standing who is not subject to discipline may be permitted to withdraw at any time. Withdrawal is defined as the dropping of one's entire program in a given term as opposed to dropping a portion of one's program.
Any student must notify the Resident Director in China in writing; failure to attend classes or notification of instructors does not constitute formal withdrawal and will result in failing grades in all courses.
Any adjustment of paid tuition is calculated from the date on which the Resident Director receives the student's written notification (see Refund Schedule below). Only a percentage of the tuition will be refunded. Only tuition is refunded. Fees (application, transcript, housing, etc.) are never refunded, either in full or in part. All students who withdraw will be charged a $75.00 withdrawal fee.
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. I also learned a little Shanghaiese.
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.