September 14, 2016
This summer marked one of the busiest seasons for the University of Chicago Center in Beijing. Over 100 students participated in six different student programs held at the Center between June and September. Programs ranged from language classes and internships to professional development opportunities. This summer also saw the start of two new student programs at the Center. One program involved local high school students while the other catered to newly admitted UChicago students. Below is a re-cap of the summer.
Summer Language Program
This year, 30 students participated in the Chicago in Beijing Summer Chinese Language Program, held at the UChicago Center in Beijing. UChicago faculty member Youqin WANG, Director of the Chinese Language Program, as well as UChicago faculty member Fangpei CAI, returned to lead the program for its ninth year in Beijing and sixth year at the Center in Beijing.
Over the course of the intensive 10-Week program, students attended morning language classes as well as small-group classes with local instructors. Each week, students had the chance to get outside the classroom and explore the city. This summer, the students climbed the Great Wall, took a boat ride in an ancient empirical garden, and even had a chance to enjoy traditional Peking Opera.
Wanxiang Ambassadors Program – Green Energy Conference
This June, 40 University of Chicago students traveled to China to participate in the 4th year of the Wanxiang Ambassador Fellows Program. The program is focused on professional development and is co-organized by the Office of Career Advancement and the Wanxiang Corporation.
During their first week, students attended a week-long Green Energy Conference held at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing. The Conference attendees had an opportunity to learn about many aspects of green energy in China, including the renewable energy industry, the hydrogen economy, green building development, and much more.
While in Beijing, students also got the chance to see some of the cultural sites of the city. They climbed the Great Wall and visited the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. After the Beijing Conference the students continued onto the City of Hangzhou for the remainder of the program.
UChicago Arts and Sciences Summer in Beijing
Thirteen local high school students took part in the inaugural UChicago Arts and Sciences Summer in Beijing Program. For two weeks, students attended classes taught by Professor David Wray, Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at the University of Chicago and Teaching Assistant Victoria Nguyen, PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Classes focused on exploring “Happiness in Western Thought, Art, and Culture.” Through this topic the students explored skills related to critical thinking, reading, writing, and discussion.
Beijing Pre-Orientation Program
In Mid-August, 13 students traveled to Beijing to participate in the inaugural Beijing Pre-Orientation Program. The program spanned two weeks and gave the newly admitted students the chance to take part in UChicago-style classes while getting to know other students from the new incoming class.
Students spent the first week taking classes with Professor Dali Yang, Department of Political Science, where they learned about the rise of Modern China. In the second week, students took a course with Professor Kenneth Pomeranz, Department of History and East Asian Languages and Civilizations, titled “Beijing: From Imperial Capital to Global City.”
During the program, students went on weekly excursions in and around Beijing. They also made a special trip to the Ministry of Commerce where they were able to ask questions about the bureau.
Public Policy & Science Internship Program
This year, nine students participated in the Public Policy Research Metcalf Internship Program, led by Professor Dali Yang, Department of Political Science. Over the 10 week program, students focused on researching environmental policy issues in China’s Shandong and Hebei Provinces. This year, a group of students also conducted research on children from China’s rural areas, looking into education, economic conditions and emotional health.
Students also participated in a number of Metcalf Science Internships based in Beijing. This year, students were placed in labs at Peking University under University of Chicago Professor Chuan He, Department of Chemistry. One student had an opportunity to complete an internship at the Beijing Museum of Natural History with University of Chicago Professor Zhe-xi Luo from the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy.
Three students helped conduct a psychology experiment based at the UChicago Center in Beijing. Over the course of the summer, the students tested over 300 people for the University of Chicago’s Multilingualism and Decision-Making Lab. These tests took a look at how people categorize and make decisions based on Mandarin, their native language and English, their foreign language.