What Studying in Beijing Is Really Like

One week from today my class time studying in Beijing will officially be done!  It’s a pretty bittersweet feeling.  While Janterm (my winter program I am currently studying under with CET) has been exhausting, and I am excited to see what’s next in store, I am also sad to leave Beijing!  To be completely cliché, Beijing has really become home to me over the last five months.  I feel completely comfortable navigating around the city and I’ve become more or less accustomed to the Beijing lifestyle (still working on drinking more hot water tho).  With that being said, I thought I’d share with you guys what studying abroad in Beijing with CET is really like on a day to day basis, apart from all the fantastic adventures:

I wake up at 7am Monday – Friday, get ready for class, and walk about 10 minutes to my academic building.  I use my phone to buy a cup of coffee for 10 RMB (about $1.50) and prepare for my classes.

I have morning class from 8:25am (do NOT be late) to 11:30am with about 10-20 minutes of rest in between.  Every morning starts with a 小考, which is a quiz on the vocabulary you should have memorized the night before.

What our classroom white board looks like every morning, covered in grammar structures and vocab

After 11:30 I usually have about an hour and a half off for lunch, which is a great time to go to the cafeteria, buy some baozis, or get an early start on some homework due the next day.

The afternoons vary from day to day.  Twice a week I have 副课 which is a supplementary afternoon class in which we usually watch a Chinese movie and discuss related themes.  Once a week we have a practicum class in the afternoon during which the whole class takes a trip somewhere in Beijing (park, museum, etc) related to what we are learning that week.  Usually in practicum class we are tasked to interview several Beijing locals and later create a PowerPoint presentation on our findings.  Practically every day of the working week I have both 一对一and一对二, which are one on one with a professor or two students with one professor.  It’s a great time to get really personalized attention and ask any questions about something you didn’t quite understand.

Conducting a group interview in a local park

Generally speaking, I am not done for the day until around 3:00pm, although it varies depending on what afternoon classes I have.  Usually I immediately start homework and studying for the next day after I am done with class, and the best place to do this is at a local bubble tea shop.  On top of daily assignments, preparing for the next day, and staying on top of long term assignments, I am typically not done until it is time for bed.

While it truly is exhausting, I can’t say enough about how the language pledge and sole focus on intensively studying Chinese every day has improved my language ability, especially in speaking.  Every ounce of hard work here has really paid off, and I am so happy with my decision to study here.  To any current Holy Cross sophomores who may be considering this opportunity with CET/study abroad – please find my email in the directory and feel free to reach out with any questions!  I’d love to talk more about my experience so far!

The Holy Cross banner hanging proudly in the academic building!

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