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Programs : Brochure

Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: Mandarin Chinese Language Prerequisite: 2 semesters of college level language (or equivalent)
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Credit Available For: College
Other Eligibility Requirements: 1 Area Studies Course in Language or Culture (Recommended) Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Housing Options: University Residence Hall/Apartment Application Deadline: Fall/Year: March 1, Spring: October 15
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

BIE LogoCET Beijing: Intensive Chinese Language

CET’s Beijing Intensive Chinese Language program is a high-intensity language acquisition program designed to emphasize the synthesis of classroom study with real world experience. The program’s curriculum is both intensive and integrated: a core course gives equal emphasis to the four main language skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening while focusing on a different topic of study each week. 

The program is hosted by Capital Normal University (CNU), a large university with a longstanding relationship with CET – it was CNU that hosted CET’s flagship program in 1982. The Intensive Chinese Language Program is based at CNU’s main campus, and students reside in a building designed solely for CET use.

For additional information, visit the CET Beijing website
The City of Beijing

As China’s capital and cultural center, Beijing is arguably China’s most important city. With a population of 22 million and counting, people from all over China, and the world, have flocked here for new opportunities as China’s economy and international power grow. Beijing is home to some of China’s most treasured historical sites, like the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. It is also very cosmopolitan and is home to some of China’s best theaters.  Beijing boasts the highest concentration of top research institutions and technology companies.

Did you know…?

There are around 800 buildings in the Forbidden City, one of Beijing’s most famous tourist spots. 



The CET Beijing: Intensive Chinese Language program is for College credit only.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Language Prerequisite: Successful completion of 2 semesters of college-level language or the equivalent, by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure. 
Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of 1 Area Studies course by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure is recommended, but not required.  


Language of Instruction

Mandarin Chinese


A full course load at CET consists of 20 class hours per week of language instruction plus two electives, which typically results in 5 credit units at Penn per semester.  Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.

CET Beijing Intensive Academic Calendar
CET Beijing Intensive Language Curriculum
Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.

Special Features

BIE Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by CET prior to the start of each semester. 

Group Excursions

The program arranges for students a myriad of activities and excursions in and around Beijing. In some cases, class work is directly related to outings and students are required to complete assignments during the activity.

In addition, each fall and spring, CET's Beijing Chinese Language program arranges three overnight weekend excursions. One trip introduces students to a nearby city of historical or cultural significance, such as Datong, Chengde or Pingyao. The second excursion, designed for the more adventurous, may be a visit to a traditional village, camping on the Great Wall or a visit to the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. The third trip is the Immersion Retreat. This trip, centered on language learning, uses skits, debates and games, along with the participation of Chinese roommates and teachers, to further bolster student confidence in speaking Mandarin.

BIE Special FeaturesLanguage Pledge

All students on the CET Intensive Chinese Language program take a full-time Chinese language pledge, even beginners! The pledge is challenging yet ultimately well worth the struggle. Because the success of the language pledge relies wholly on the dedication of its participants, CET accepts only students who are excited to rise to this challenge. If you are concerned about your ability to uphold a full-time language pledge, please contact CET for more information.


BIE CampusParticipants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

All students are required to live on campus in CET dormitories. The west dorm houses all double rooms, the CET office, a student lounge, kitchen and a small library. The east dorm houses all single rooms, classrooms, a study lounge and a small computer lab. Small stores where students can purchase miscellaneous items such as bottled water, phone cards, snacks, etc. are also located in each dormitory.

Students may choose to live either in a double room with a Chinese student or in a single room. The unique opportunity to live with a Chinese roommate offers students deeper levels of immersion. Chinese roommates are chosen from local universities and are accepted into the program after an application process. Roommates participate in all trips and activities, and many become good friends with their CET counterparts.

Single rooms, a few of which include private bathrooms, are limited in number and are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. All rooms are simple but comfortable. Though meals are not include, lunch each weekday is provided in the CET dining hall.

Cost and Finance

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.

Budget Sheets

Academic Year

Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad: Supports undergraduate study abroad focusing on geographical areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to US national security. (Excludes study in US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.) These US government grants entail a service obligation. 

Next Steps

For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Beijing, contact a Penn Abroad Past-Participant or Exchange Student.