A Chinese language intensive program in China might be more than just the language education you’ve been looking for. Sure, it could give you the rigorous program that helps you develop and apply new skills unique to this immersive opportunity. Not to be forgotten, though, are the cultural experiences you could also partake in. Living in China could give you the opportunity to sample the food, learn about the rich history of China, and engage with the people that make up this distinct country. Intensive Language Programs in China could be much more than just studying a language – it could also be about diving head first into a culture!
Why Consider a Chinese Language Intensive Program in China?
Pursuing a language intensive program in China could give you a unique opportunity: you may have practiced your language skills in the classroom, but have you gotten a chance to use it in practice? This program could enable you to do just that! To not only develop new skills in a traditional classroom setting, but possibly get the opportunity to use them on a daily basis: ordering at a restaurant, chatting with your new neighbors, reading street signs, or getting directions.
Specifically, studying Chinese in China presents another opportunity: the ability to practice either Mandarin or Cantonese. If you’re looking to study Mandarin, you could study in most major cities throughout China because it is the official state language of the country. Cantonese, on the other hand, could require you to study in cities such as Hong Kong or any in the Guangdong Province. Of course, there’s plenty of regional dialects to engage with across the continent that you may not have access to studying at home!
What Could Life Be Like When I Pursue a Language Intensive Program in China?
Its food: With many distinct regional cuisines, China is a country known for its gastronomy. Confucius even notes in his writing how elevated Chinese cuisine has become. There are many staples that transverse the provinces. Rice – specifically steamed, white rice – usually accompanies meals. Noodles are also a common ingredient or side dish to many meals. The long noodles symbolize long life and good health according to tradition. Soybeans are also a common part of the Chinese diet: either in their natural form, soy sauce, or tofu. Staple vegetables are bok choy, spinach, bitter melon, broccoli, and bean sprouts. Foods are often seasoned with ginger, garlic, scallions, white pepper, and sesame oil. Regions might also favor seasonings such as Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, cilantro, fennel, and cloves.
When perusing menus, here are a few starter dishes to keep your eye out to try:
- Dim Sum is a specialty of Hong Kong, but might be found throughout China. Dim sum is not a particular dish, but an assortment of dishes. Think of it as Asian tapas! The snack-like plates might include things like dumplings, congee (rice porridge), noodles, and other regional specialties.
- “Phoenix Claws” are a dish reserved for the adventurous eaters. That’s because they’re actually chicken feet! This is a popular snack food in China, and is often covered in a soy based sauce.
- Ma Po Tofu is a great “stick to your ribs” dish. The stew-like meal combines soft tofu with beef, onions, and spicy chilies. It’s a great way to warm you up!
- Gong Bao Chicken is a Chinese staple that could be a great first step for internationals. This dish includes diced chicken, dried chilies, and fried peanuts. The Western version of this dish is much sweeter, so be sure to grab a plate of the original while in the country!
Westerners may not be used to eating out in China. Many dishes are order “family style,” and are intended to be shared with the entire table. Serve yourself a small portion of the dishes available and be sure to try as many as you’re able to!
Its culture: Many of China’s customs and traditions are heavily influenced by Confucianism and Taoism. These religions emphasize concepts like responsibility to one’s community, obedience to your elders, as well as the ideas of balance and order. Deference to the older members of society, in particular, might be seen in certain social interactions like greetings and serving food.
You might also notice that some of your new acquaintances are visiting you – either to hang out or enjoy an impromptu meal. This is normal part of Chinese society and highly encouraged. Don’t be afraid to return the favor!
Its sights: China is full of adventurous opportunities for internationals. You could try to seek out some of the following experiences during your stay in China:
- China is the home to many pandas and related conservation efforts. Check out environmental centers to see one – or maybe even hold one!
- The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure that could be seen from space. Many of the major Chinese cities have access to different sections of the wall. This could be great weekend hiking trip no matter where your program is located.
- The Terracotta Army was uncovered in 1974 and is now a well-known archaeological site. Hundreds of life-sized models represent a huge army that was decisive in uniting China.
In addition to these sights, China is full of historical sites, city centers, environmental excursions, and other UNESCO World Heritage sights. Ask your neighbors for their suggestions!
Find Intensive Language Programs in China
A language intensive program in China is a two-part program: one that focuses on the intense study inherent in an immersive program and another that focuses on exploring a new country. To begin your program search, browse the links listed below. If you find a program that interests you, click through the link to request more information. Good luck finding a language intensive program in China today!