Learning Abroad in Asian Languages and Literatures: Chinese Language Concentration

Learning Abroad in Asian Languages and Literatures: Chinese Language and Culture Concentration

Living and learning in China and Taiwan is essential to bring your knowledge of Chinese language and culture to a professional level. Proficiency in Chinese is not just about becoming fluent in the language, but also knowing how to use your language in ways that are appropriate and effective. How to tell a joke in Chinese, and when not to. How to respond to social and historical references in an informed way. That type of deep cultural knowledge comes only from studying the culture and experiencing Chinese society first hand.

—Professor Joe Allen, Asian Languages & Literatures


Department Recommendations

Review the following suggestions from the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures

Program Selection

There are three basic types of programs:

Best Time to Go Abroad

Meet With the ALL Academic Adviser 

Fulfill Academic Requirements

Liberal Education Requirements 

Major and Minor Requirements

Language Coursework

Language Coursework Upon Return

Consult with the ALL academic adviser to determine:

Contact the ALL adviser for placement and proficiency testing dates, and take the exam as soon as possible upon your return.

Because of the sequencing of ALL language courses offered, in some cases, you may not be able to enroll in the next language level immediately after returning from abroad. Be prepared to wait an additional semester before you can enroll in the next language level. For this reason, ALL generally encourages intensive summer language programs or academic year programs.

Upon Return

Scholarship Opportunities

University of Minnesota

Government Scholarships


Asia and Oceania


Language Immersion in China

  • Located in the cosmopolitan city of Beijing at Capital Normal University
  • Study intensive Chinese language and complete up to a full year of Chinese
  • 2nd and 3rd-year Chinese coursework pre-approved by ALL
  • Live with Chinese roommates and take part in a language pledge to enhance language acquisition
  • Summer session only
  • Minimum 2 semesters college-level Chinese and 3.0 GPA required
  • Five $1000 scholarships available to students applying specifically for this program

CET China

  • Select from various sites including Beijing, Harbin, or Shanghai, China
  • Focus your studies intensively on Chinese language (complete the equivalent of 2 semesters of Chinese in one semester abroad) or take Chinese language alongside culture courses
  • Coursework available in Chinese film, history, philosophy, economics, politics, health care and environmental issues
  • Service-learning and internship opportunities available for all program terms.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer session
  • No prior Chinese is required

IFSA China

  • Learn about Chinese language and culture in the most populous countries in the world, program offered in Shanghai or Beijing.
  • Includes Chinese language study and choice of other courses in Chinese film, music, international relations, sociology/urban studies, or contemporary society and culture.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer session
  • No prior Chinese is required

CIEE China

  • Locations in Beijing, Nanjing, or Shanghai, China
  • Coursework available in Chinese literature, film, drama, folklore, history, ethnic diversity, intercultural communications, sustainability, international relations, social issues, and business
  • Check CIEE's China programs websites for specific eligibility requirements and program themes and features
  • Internships and independent research opportunities available on select programs
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer session
  • Prior Chinese language study requirement varies from 0 - superior level, depending on the program and track.

Chinese Undergraduate Exchange Program (CUEP) 

  • Program offered through the University of Minnesota China Center
  • Academic year
  • Transfer credit only

AC China Flagship Capstone Year

  • Select from either Nanjing or Tianjin, China
  • Designed to help students attain near-native proficiency in Mandarin
  • Apply your language and cultural knowledge through direct enrollment classes at a local Chinese university and a full- or part-time internship
  • Academic year only
  • This closed application program is available to Chinese Flagship students only


ICLP Taiwan

  • Located in Taipei, at National Taiwan University
  • Study intensive Chinese language; complete a year of Chinese in one summer
  • Summer session only
  • Available to Chinese Flagship students only
  • Minimum 2 semesters college-level Chinese and 3.0 GPA required

CIEE Taiwan

  • Located in Taipei, at National Chengchi University
  • Host university’s Department of Chinese Literature offers a variety of literature courses
  • Independent research and internship opportunities available
  • Fall semester or academic year
  • Minimum 2 semesters college-level Chinese and 3.0 GPA required

Additional Options to Consider

Global Seminars

  • Three-week programs led by University of Minnesota faculty, have no prerequisites, are open to freshmen, and fulfill one or more Liberal Education requirements.
  • Ten or more locations and themes offered each year during winter break and May session. Example of past Global Seminar with a Chinese focus: Made in China
  • A Global Seminar early in your undergraduate experience can give you plenty of time to follow up with a longer study abroad experience later.

Non-Credit Opportunities

  • Non-credit opportunities can be a great option for students who do not need academic credit but want to gain skills and experience abroad related to their field of study.