Harvard Summer Program in Beijing, China
Chinese language immersion in China's cultural and political center
The Harvard Summer Program in Beijing, also known as the Harvard Beijing Academy (HBA), offers you the opportunity to complete a full academic year’s worth of Chinese language study through an intensive, immersive nine-week summer session.
HBA has been a wonderful experience. It’s been tiring, but extremely rewarding.
The program offers five intensive courses in modern Chinese at the intermediate and advanced levels. The course structure is designed to maximize your language acquisition, with five hours of class (lectures, drill sections, and a one-on-one session) every day, Monday through Thursday, from morning until early afternoon. Written and oral exams are held every Friday. You devote much of the remainder of each day to homework, study, and review, but also have time for an array of activities and excursions designed to round out your classroom experience and situate your language learning in authentic Chinese contexts.
I’m amazed at how much progress we’ve made in our Chinese classes. Our teachers are all kind, friendly, inordinately hardworking, and tirelessly passionate. It was an absolute pleasure being one of their students
On weekday afternoons, deepen your appreciation of Chinese culture through extracurriculars covering everything from calligraphy and tea to tai-chi and mah-jiang. Enjoy a relaxing "Chinese table" lunch each week with your teachers and classmates. On Friday afternoons, join an "Interest Group" to explore Beijing and make new friends with local students. On the weekends, join your classmates for excursions to cultural and historical landmarks, including the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, the Imperial Resort at Chengde, and a spectacular Chinese acrobatics show, or spend time with a local Chinese host family. At HBA, Chinese language learning is inseparable from engagement with Chinese society and culture.
During the fifth week of the program, you also have the unique opportunity to participate in a "Social Study Project" outside of Beijing designed to broaden your exposure to Chinese society and culture, and challenge you to apply your language skills to new contexts. Curious to learn more about the Social Study Project? Watch a video by HBA alum Bo Young Choi about her project in Inner Mongolia: Watch the video
CHIN S-120C Study Abroad in Beijing, China: Intermediate Modern Chinese (32805)
In this second-year course, students develop their conversational and narrative skills using carefully selected vocabulary and grammar. The textbook is based on authentic conversation, moving gradually from casual to formal styles. The text covers the most important communicative skills needed by American students studying in China and provides a deeper understanding of cultural and intellectual differences between US and Chinese societies.
CHIN S-130C Study Abroad in Beijing, China: Pre-Advanced Modern Chinese (32806)
In this third-year course, students study contemporary China and develop their speaking and writing skills by constructing new compounds, using idiomatic expressions, and mastering formal and informal styles. The curriculum is designed to further improve listening and reading abilities through texts geared specifically to the understanding of Chinese culture and society.
CHIN S-130XC Study Abroad in Beijing, China: Pre-Advanced Modern Chinese for Heritage Speakers (33270)
In this third-year course intended primarily for heritage speakers, students develop their Chinese proficiency at the pre-advanced level. The curriculum is designed to help students to further expand their vocabulary, to recognize formal and informal styles, to improve their reading and writing skills, and to hone their oral communication. The course makes use of texts related to contemporary issues in China and the wider world, including newspaper articles, dialogues, and essays, as well as supplementary audiovisual materials.
CHIN S-140C Study Abroad in Beijing, China: Advanced Modern Chinese (32807)
In this fourth-year course, students read authentic texts of varied genres and styles emphasizing social and cultural issues in contemporary America and China. Through the extensive readings, students learn reading strategies, and stylistic transformations (casual and formal). Students also write compositions and papers, do formal presentations, and participate in classroom discussions to develop a solid foundation in the four skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—in conversational and formal Chinese.
CHIN S-150C Study Abroad in Beijing, China: Advanced-High Modern Chinese (32808)
This fifth-year course consolidates students' advanced language ability, background knowledge, and independent initiative to pursue academic and professional endeavors in or related to China. Its curriculum—with extra daily tutorials—balances breadth and depth in its exploration of the Chinese humanities and social sciences, with units in economy and business, government and law, journalism and media, health and social welfare, history and literature, international relations, and more. The second half of the curriculum offers an even more individualized approach to study, with course materials selected based on student research and professional interests. The course aims to strength students' formal speaking and writing abilities in both academic endeavors as well practical areas relevant to non-academic employment.
Students enrolled in CHIN S-150c can elect to participate in a twice-weekly internship at a local company or organization, or to conduct intensive research in a specific field of interest, with guidance from their instructors. Students in this course also have the option of designing their own independent social study project, or of joining one of the program's pre-arranged trips.
Where You Live and Study
The host institution, Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU), is located in the modern and trendy Wudaokou District of Beijing.
You live in comfortable rooms on the BLCU campus. Amenities include private bathrooms, air conditioning, TV, and maid service.
The BLCU cafeteria is open all day and offers a wide array of reasonably priced Chinese and foreign food, which you can access with the BLCU campus card that you will be issued.
Just a few minutes walk off campus into the heart of Wudaokou, there are a variety of cheap and fancier restaurants offering everything from traditional Northern Chinese food and Xinjiang-style cuisine, to Cantonese and Vietnamese fare, to Korean BBQ, pizza, Indian food, pastries, and more. Stores and mall shops in Wudaokou sell everything from trendy clothing and electronics to fresh fruit and souvenirs. Movie theaters, karaoke bars, and coffee shops can be found throughout the neighborhood.
Early application is strongly encouraged. Each program has unique requirements included in the online application. Beginning your application early is the best way to ensure that you have sufficient time to review and complete the application requirements by the deadline.
A complete online application includes:
- Basic personal information
- A statement of interest
- Your most recent transcript
- Program-specific requirements (if applicable; may include letters of recommendation, audio or video submissions, etc.)
- A $75 application fee (per program)
Interviews may be requested at the discretion of the program.
Applications are due by 11:59 pm ET on January 24, 2019. You may apply to up to two programs; each program requires a separate application and fee.
The online application will open in early December.
Cost & Expenses
The program fee includes:
- Scheduled program activities
- Some meals (the program will provide further details)
You will also need to budget for a number of expenses not covered by the program fee. The amounts listed below for these out-of-pocket expenses are approximate, and you may incur additional expenses not noted here. Your actual expenses will depend on a number of factors, including personal spending habits and currency exchange rates.
- International airfare ($1,600-$2,000)
- Ground transportation ($200)
- Meals ($1,000)
- Social Study Project fee paid in cash on-site ($400-$500)
- Personal expenditures, communications, and miscellaneous ($500)
If you have specific questions about personal budgeting, please contact the program directly.
See Funding and Payment for information on how to submit payments and funding options.
Find another program
- Aix-en-Provence, France
- Berlin, Germany, and Vienna, Austria
- Calabria, Italy
- Madrid, Spain
- Milan and Siena, Italy
- Nafplio and Crete, Greece (Data Science)
- Nafplio and Thessaloniki, Greece (Humanities)
- Oxford, England
- Paris, France (Biology)
- Paris, France (Cultural Studies)
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Tbilisi, Georgia
- Trento, Italy
- Venice, Italy
- Zagreb and Vis, Croatia