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Summer Program in Beijing, China


Due to the pandemic, Mount Holyoke and its host partner in China, Peking University, has suspended the program through summer 2022. The ability to resume the program in summer 2023 has not yet been determined.

The Mount Holyoke summer program in Beijing offers an intensive program of language immersion that covers a full year of Chinese language study in eight weeks. Students spend the mornings engaged in classroom instruction, and the afternoons with language partners and activities that introduce them to Chinese arts and culture. Tours to major historic and cultural sites round out the program.

Watch the video for an overview of the program.


“The two months I spend studying abroad in Beijing, China through the MHC-CSI Intensive Chinese Summer Program at Peking University this past summer were very rewarding and unforgettable.  This allowed me to immerse myself in Chinese and improve my language skills by learning from passionate and patient teachers.  I also had many opportunities outside of class in my daily life to apply and further hone those skills. Thank you, Mount Holyoke and the Gilman Scholarship Program, for making this experience possible for me!” — Anna Zheng ‘18 

“Participating in the Mount Holyoke Intensive Chinese Language Summer Program in Beijing was truly one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I learned many things that I will definitely utilize in my future career.  And my proficiency in Chinese has increased significantly!  Not only did my Chinese improve, I also learned a lot about Chinese culture and visited many famous locations, which really enhanced my understanding of China's history.  I highly encourage anyone interested in studying in China to choose this program.  You'll be very glad you did!” — Kela Harrington '19 (Smith College)

International relations major Claire Dunnigan '14 describes her experiences in Mount Holyoke's intensive summer program at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU). Watch the video.

About Beijing

Beijing is the cultural and political center of China. With its long history, rich culture, hospitable inhabitants, and modern developments, Beijing quickly mesmerizes visitors. Students have the opportunity to walk on the Great Wall, visit the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties, see the Beijing Opera, and taste the most authentic Beijing duck. They experience Beijing's beauty and charm firsthand and improve their Mandarin in an environment where standard Mandarin is spoken.

About China Studies Institute, Peking University

Mount Holyoke is delighted to offer the Beijing Summer Program in cooperation with the China Studies Institute, based at Peking University (PKU).  PKU is the oldest and most influential institution of higher learning in China. Many Mount Holyoke students have participated in other summer and semester programs offered by the China Studies Institute. As in years past, the Chinese program at MHC organizes the academic component of the program and ensures its alignment with MHC texts and curricula.

PKU is located in the northwest part of Beijing. Its beautiful campus is set on the prior site of royal gardens and is notable for traditional Chinese landscaping and historic buildings. The University is proximate to historic sites such as the Summer Palace and Old Summer Palace, as well as a commercial district called Wudao kou, where local residents and international students go for shopping and entertainment. A city railway in Wudao kou offers a convenient connection to the downtown area of Beijing.


Photo of students taking part in papermaking project

Students taking part in a papermaking project

Photo of an opera in Beijing

The Beijing Opera

The program facilitates learning through both curricular and extra curricular activities. Every day, classroom teaching is divided into lectures and drill sections in the morning, which are reinforced by individual help from language partners in the afternoon. The relatively small size of the program means that students receive a lot of individual attention: lectures typically have 10 to 12 students in each section, drill sessions only 4 to 5. Every student is assigned a Chinese language partner who, in addition to individual tutorials, is responsible for arranging language-related activities outside the classroom.

Students can also participate in optional cultural activities, such as Taiji boxing, Taiji sword, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese songs, and cooking, which usually meet in the afternoon. In addition, cultural tours will be arranged by the program. Historically, these have included visits to the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Beijing Opera, 798 Art Community, the Temple of Heaven, and the Chinese Acrobats.


MHC students who complete the program successfully will receive a total of 8 credits. These credits count against the maximum of 8 summer school credits that students may use toward the Mount Holyoke degree. (Students who have already transferred in some summer credits may petition for an exception to the 8-credit limit.) Students from other colleges should consult their home institution about credit transfer.


Students will live in double rooms in PKU's modern dormitories. Rooms are equipped with air conditioning, television, refrigerator, and a private bath. Every floor has a laundry room and kitchen.

Fees and Financial Aid

The program fee for Summer 2020 was $5,900. Fees if/when the program is able to resume is TBD. This covers tuition, program and application fees, accommodations and cultural activities. Students will be responsible for their own airfare (estimated at $1,400) and for their meals and personal expenses while in China (estimated at $1,100).

Mount Holyoke offers a very limited amount of financial aid for the program, available to MHC students only; see the application form for details. Students from other colleges should check with their home institutions about financial aid.

We strongly encourage students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents (green card) to apply for the Benjamin Gilman Scholarships or the Freeman-ASIA Grants sponsored by the Freeman Foundation.  We also encourage students to explore the IIEPassport Study Abroad Funding directory. MHC students should review the Outside Scholarships page for additional instructions.

Requirements and Application

The program is open to students who have completed successfully (B- or better) at least one year of Chinese language in college. Students who studied Chinese in high school (or elsewhere) but have not taken the language in college should consult with Prof. Ying Wang in the Asian Studies Program at Mount Holyoke to determine whether they meet the requirements for the program. Students will be placed at the appropriate language level (intermediate or advanced) upon their arrival.

To apply, submit the program application and the waiver of liability form to the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives by the first Monday in February.  The McCulloch Center is located in 108 Dwight Hall; its mailing address is:

McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives
Mount Holyoke College
50 College Street
South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075-6451

Students will be notified of the results of their application within about two weeks of the deadline, and will be required to pay a deposit at that time to hold their place on the program. The program requires a minimum enrollment of ten students in order to run.


Questions about the program may be directed to:

Prof. Ying Wang
Department of Asian Studies
Telephone: 413-538-2885

April Stroud
Director of Study Abroad
McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives
Telephone: 413-538-2072