Students' Statements

On this page we present statements and reports by former ECLC participants, to give future students and those who are interested in our programme an insight from a student's perspective, and a better idea of what it is like to stay for one semester in Beijng and study at Peking University.

你们好 future Sinology students,

With great pleasure I write this résumé about the exchange semester at Peking University (PKU) in the summer term 2012. The programme I participated in is called the European Chinese Language and Culture Programme (ECLC) and is part of the studies in the sinology department of the University of Wuerzburg. Even for me, who actually studied business administration with Chinese for business students as his major, it was possible to participate. All of my grades from PKU are fully accredited at my home university in Wuerzburg.

But let’s talk more about the actual time here in Beijing. From the organisation before the trip (Bafoeg, scholarships, visa issues, accomodation in Beijing,...) throughout the whole semester in Beijing, the University of Wuerzburg did a great job in providing assistance. You don’t have to do all the displeasing organisational stuff by yourself. There is always a staff member of the Department of Chinese Studies taking care of these things. Even in Beijing, there is a representative of the University of Wuerzburg arranging the excursions, and helping out in daily situations. This makes it very convenient for every student to fully focus on his studies and the improvement of his Chinese language skills.
The program at the PKU of course is designed to further deepen the knowledge of the Chinese Language, but furthermore offers the student a chance to deepen his understanding of the Chinese culture. The 2012 summer term covered following areas of Chinese language training: Daily conversation, Chinese texts, economy, Chinese media, grammar, Chinese traditions and culture, and calligraphy. The programme is completely taught in Chinese. The teachers are very committed and moreover are able to adapt to the students' Chinese level. This means that even from the very start you are able to understand and follow the teacher. The class materials are clearly structured, and the vocabulary used is very useful in a student’s daily life. The complete programme is very well aligned with the students' life in Beijing. On the one hand you learn basic vocabulary for day-to-day situations in China, but on the other hand you are also confronted with current problems of the Chinese society and economy. The programme allows you to controversially discuss any topic with the teachers and therefore helps you to quickly make progress in the usage of Chinese language.
The university of Wuerzburg also organizes excursions to other Chinese cities during your exchange semester. In this year we had the opportunity to join trips to Chengde, Datong, and to Hohhot in Inner Mongolia. Also there was the opportunity to visit an acrobatics show in Beijing, and two very famous old Buddhism temples only a few kilometers outside of the Beijing centre. These trips are mostly scheduled on weekends. They are not mandatory, but are a good way to even further explore the Chinese way of living.

Students life
The campus itself offers anything a student can ask for. From sports facilities such as gyms, or tennis courts, to libraries, bookstores, coffee shops and of course canteens. There are around ten canteens on campus that are open during lunch time and also in the evenings. As a „Chinese student“ you pretty much never have to cook by yourself. The different canteens offer a wide variety of Chinese food, so that anyone will be able to appease one’s appetite. If that is not enough there are many little snack stores and corner shops on and off campus that offer the Chinese versions of fast food, e.g. Fried noodles and dumplings in all it’s variations. Hands down, there is no way you will ever starve during this semester! The campus of the University is very close to the Wudaokou district which is very well know for it’s vivid bar life. This of course is a convenient way to distract oneself from the vast amount of Chinese vocabulary...
The apartments are very close to the campus of the Peking University, which means that in general you don’t need more than 20 to 30 minutes to get from your doorstep to the classroom. Most apartments are arranged for three to four students, but there is also the opportunity to live alone. Very close to every apartment are the essential stores for a students life, such as supermarkets, restaurants, dry cleaners and copy shops. The landlord of the apartment is already used to foreign students and if you follow the regulations handed out by the University of Wuerzburg she will not interfere with you during your stay. (I only met mine twice, for the payment and the reception of the security deposit. But as soon as we needed some assistance in the apartment we could always call her and she helped us out.)
Finally I can recommend this program to anyone interested in studying Chinese language. It clearly is an essential part of the sinology studies. The University of Wuerzburg, and the Department of Chinese Studies in particular, manage to perfectly integrate these five months into their curriculum. I would always choose to do it again for all of the reasons mentioned above, but also many more that you will have to find out on your own.

All the best
Tobias Sauer