Housing & Student Life
Minzu University is located in the northwestern part of Beijing near the National Library, which has a large number of hotels, restaurants, and office buildings. Getting around in Beijing is very cheap and convenient with the subway, city buses, and taxis all available in the area surrounding the university (See Google map).
All students will be housed in Minzu’s Foreign Students’ Dormitory in double rooms. Each student will have a bed, desk with chair, a lamp, a small closet, and a safe (for storing valuables). The room is equipped with air conditioning, heating, telephone, cable television, internet, and a bathroom with a shower, sink, and toilet. It should be noted that while Minzu does provide students with access to free internet, previous students have noted that the service is sporadic at best. Please understand that Chinese technology, while advanced, is not as reliable as in the U.S. In the dorms most students rely on wired internet rather than wireless. Besides the dorm rooms, students also have access to internet in the ACC study space, which provides WiFi.
Food and Meals
Students are not required to eat together as a group except for Friday afternoon, which is our “language table day.” Students have their choice of either eating in the foreign students’ cafeteria, a Chinese students’ cafeteria or going out to eat at various restaurants. The main purpose of this arrangement is to encourage students to experience Chinese culture. Thus, unless prevented by medical, moral or religious restrictions, all students are expected to experience all aspects of Chinese cuisine, which is a significant aspect of the culture. Remember, it is not customary to tip in China.
More details about menu favorites and restaurants will be provided in the orientation package you will receive upon arrival at the dorm.
You and another student will be assigned to a host family with whom you may be spending some weekend time. You must be prepared to be accommodating, courteous, and patient. Because of language and cultural barriers, you may not “click” right away with your family. However, if you are open-minded and willing to delve into the host family’s ways and customs, it will surely be a rewarding experience.
The first time you visit your family, you should present them with a small gift (items that have been popular include T-shirts, accessories and apparel with your college logo, chocolates, and other typically American products). It would also be a good idea to bring with you half a dozen or so small gifts for favorite teachers and friends you may make later during your stay in China.
Host families also enjoy seeing photos of you, your own family, your home or college in the U.S., and so forth. Generally, your life at home is quite different from theirs, and getting an idea of where you are coming from is often helpful in bridging cultural gaps and can be very entertaining for host family members.
During each semester, ACC will organize field trips for all students. The summer students will visit the Yungang Buddhist Cave in Datong. In the fall and spring, students will go on two or three field trips to places of cultural interest in various parts of China. The field trips not only offer a change from the usual high-intensity language classes but offer students an opportunity to strengthen their knowledge of Chinese area studies and to continue their practice of Chinese outside the classroom.
Local Excursions & Events
On certain Friday afternoons or Saturdays, students may take part in excursions to nearby scenic locations such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Great Wall. Students may also attend cultural events such as Beijing opera, plays, and acrobatics.
The ACC office also plans weekend excursions that allow students to explore and become acquainted with and further understand Chinese culture and Beijing. It is okay if you choose not to participate in these activities (attendance is not obligatory). Last-minute dropping out, however, is highly discouraged. If, for whatever reason, you change your mind about attending an activity, please notify the office ahead of time.
ACC provides its students with many exciting extracurricular activities and learning opportunities in addition to its academic components. At the beginning of each term, on the second floor of the dormitory facing the stairwell there will be a sign-up sheet posted on the bulletin board for each activity and/or class. If you are interested in one of these classes, please sign up! Please note that enrollment is limited and that you may sign up for no more than three of these activities.
Extracurricular activities are offered depending on the availability of instructors and number of students signed up for the course. Listed below are a few extracurricular activities offered in the past:
- Pronunciation tutorial (15 or 30 minutes/student)
- Taichi boxing
- Taichi sword
- Chinese chess
- Chinese “go”
- Chinese folk songs
- Chinese painting