The ACC Intensive Language & Culture Program in Beijing is a Chinese language program administered by Hamilton College and hosted by Minzu University of China (MUC) in Beijing. We offer students the opportunity to improve their Chinese language skills and cultural fluency during fall, spring, or summer terms. Your time with us promises to be richly rewarding.
It must be emphasized that ACC is a language-intensive program with an extremely rigorous schedule. Students should expect to spend most of their time with the program attending classes, completing assignments and studying. Strict attendance policies and language pledge are applied and upheld by professors and by the field director. For Fall and Spring terms, an independent research project in Chinese is required of every student.
ACC accepts more than 50 students each semester. Courses are offered for intermediate and advanced students who wish to study Chinese in an intensive program during the summer, fall, spring or any combination of these terms. It has been the experience of ACC's faculty and most graduates that six months to one year of continuous study and residence in Beijing is the minimum needed to attain fluency in the language. For this reason, we strongly encourage students, if at all possible, to combine two terms. We will enroll summer-only students on a space-available basis but, for the pedagogical reasons cited above, students enrolling for combined semesters will have priority.
GPA of 82/2.7 (for at least 2 terms prior to planned study abroad). Those students who have done exceptionally well in a strong first-year Chinese program in the U.S. may consider enrolling at ACC to continue their study of Chinese. Many other students will find it advisable to study two full years of Chinese in the U.S. prior to enrollment at ACC, so as to be able to take maximum advantage of the academic and experiential study abroad environment that ACC offers.
All students as well as the Field Director, the RA and the primary teachers are housed in doubles in the Foreign Students Dormitory. This complex has comfortable rooms with air-conditioning, private baths and a 24-hour hot water supply. In addition, all students have host families with whom they may visit during the weekends. Experience from over the years has proven that this is one of the most successful features, since students can observe and participate in the daily life of Chinese families and gain some knowledge of Chinese culture, social etiquette and customs--all in a friendly and supportive environment.
In addition to the formal curriculum, students take part in numerous activities, as described below, which are designed to support their learning Chinese in a natural setting. Students pay no extra charge for participating in these events.
- Language Pledge
Only Chinese will be spoken, especially with other members of the group, including roommates, instructors and staff. This is the Program's most important regulation and constitutes the very backbone of its philosophy. The purpose of the Language Pledge is to help you become immersed in the language and to encourage you not only to speak Chinese, but to think Chinese as well. When English is spoken by students, their immersion into the Chinese language is limited and the learning process is hindered.
All students who are admitted will be asked to sign a language pledge, indidcating their agreement to speak Chinese to all people at all times (with the exception of dire emergencies). Failure of students to abide by the language pledge will result in disciplinary action, including possible expulsion from the program.
- Language Practicum
Each week, students participate in two to four hours of language practicum, where they are assigned projects which require them to use their Chinese outside of the classroom with local citizens. The formats include on-site visits, information-gathering, interviews, oral presentations, news reports and debates. Once a project has been completed, students report on it to their class.
- Chinese Language Tables
All students in the program meet every Friday to eat lunch with several of the instructors. This is a good opportunity for teachers and students from all levels to become acquainted with each other.
- Guest Lectures
Every few weeks, outside speakers will be invited to give a talk or a demonstration.
- Field Trips
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 and 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.
- Extracurricular Activities
Students meet once a week to learn calligraphy, tai-chi, cooking and to take choir classes. Toward the end of the semester, students demonstrate the skills they have learned in front of an audience of classmates, faculty and friends.