Classes normally meet for four hours daily, five days a week, including one hour of lecture, one hour of drill, one hour of discussion session (three-on-one), and one hour of individual session (one-on-one). In addition, teacher consultation/tutoring hours are scheduled in the evenings, and there is a test, a language practicum, and language table every Friday.
You will take a placement exam at the beginning of the session that will determine your level. After you have been placed, you will be assigned the courses at your level that are available for that session.
Because it is difficult to arrange for students to take courses in other programs, and because those courses often do not prove satisfactory, we strongly encourage all our students to limit themselves to our own course offerings. The program, however, remains willing to try to satisfy a particular and urgent need for a course that is not among the ACC offerings. We assume that non-Chinese-related courses, if required by your school or your major, can be taken after returning home. If your participation in the program hinges on you taking such a course (e.g., French, mathematics), please contact us right away.
ACC is the only study abroad program in Beijing that has an independent research project component, or dúlìbàogào (for fall and spring students only). Through the independent projects, students engage more fully with local Chinese people. The ultimate goal for the project is for students to develop comprehensive language skills and better understand what local Chinese think about specific facets of Chinese culture, society, or history.
It is ACC’s hope that you approach the project proactively. Rather than hole up in your room and read extensively on your topic, you should get out of the ACC dorm and head into the field to do your research. To that end, the project should not be approached as a typical research project like those you may undertake in the United States. Rather, it is a field study project.
Please start thinking about potential topics even before you arrive in Beijing as this helps facilitate the research process. Topics students have researched in the past include but are not limited to: Chinese media restrictions; the state of Chinese mental and emotional health; dragon symbolism in Chinese culture; Chinese auto advertisements on TV; and the practice of traditional Chinese medicine.
Language and Culture Practicum
After the weekly exam on Friday, ACC students participate in the Language and Culture Practicum, yuyánshíjiàn, something that is unique to the ACC program. Teams of students are presented with a topic of inquiry and asked to venture into the community in search of information pertinent to the week’s lessons. These activities provide students with the opportunity to use the phrases and grammar learned that week while simultaneously experiencing Beijing and Chinese society. The weekly practicum is a great way to engage in meaningful interaction and conversation with your peers, teachers, and local residents of Beijing.
Starting the second Friday of classes (according to the academic calendar of Minzu University, this is subject to change), each student will be assigned a new language partner(s)(“yubànr”) who is a Chinese college student in ACC’s Language Partner Program. You and your language partner(s) can decide how often to meet and what kinds of activities you’d like to do together.