"Before leaving CSI, I kept finding myself saying that I couldn't bear the idea of putting my life in China behind me and moving past it. Now, I realize this is because my time spent at Peking University was not and will never be something that I am simply supposed to "put behind me". My opportunity to study abroad was an experience that will be forever interwoven with the person I am now and the person I will someday become. Never have I been a part of such a warm, loving community of students and teachers, and never have I been so excited to go to class each day. My teachers and the program directors did not just expose me to new cultures, teach me a new language, and offer me adventures; they helped me to become better acquainted with and more comfortable with myself, as well as constantly surrounding me with a group of people as passionate about learning and cultural exchange as I have always been. China was a place where I laughed, loved ,and lived as I never had before. ... Thank you for everything CSI. I will miss you dearly."--From her personal blog
Mount Holyoke College
I had an amazing 4 months in China through the CSI program. My whole experience was more than what I expected before coming abroad. It was the people-teacher, students-that made my study abroad experience. My stay in China wouldn't have been the same without them. Everyone in the program was great in helping each other out. When a student got sick, teachers and students alike would offer their help without hesitation. The teachers provided personal attention and support. Our teachers are our friends. We have gone to KTV together, and had class while eating pizza at Tube Station. And let's not forget about the 2 week study trip. It was awesome since it was a lot of fun travelling with friends. It was definitely worth the fatigue and long bus and train rides. I have many fond memories and have made many lasting friends. I really hate to part with CSI.
College of William and Mary
"I came into the Chinese Studies Institute without being able to comfortably speak with my peers or professors. Within a couple weeks of the immersion program, I quickly got over my resistance to using my language skills. From then on, I was more and more able to converse with my professors, classmates, and even strangers with much more confidence. The professors at Peking University from CSI are the most personable and intelligent professors I have had in any of the 4 languages I have studied previously. Every day was exciting and the classroom environment was very enjoyable. By the end of the program during our amazing two week study trip to various cities including Lhasa, I was able to navigate through China without hesitation. This semester has changed the way I see the world, how I converse with strangers from different cultural backgrounds, and has granted me a once in a lifetime peek into the real China. As I always said throughout the semester to my friends and teachers, 做你自己， or "Be yourself."
College of William and Mary
"CSI made me feel right at home in China. The teachers were so fun and helpful with any problems I had. You could tell the program really cared about us and our studies, and loved teaching us. The study trip at the end of the program was also the experience of a lifetime, traveling all around China with friends and teachers I'd bonded with over the semester. The immersive environment greatly contributed to my studies, as well as helped me build friendships with all sorts of people. Thanks CSI, I now feel confident I could live in China."
University of Denver
My semester at CSI in the fall of 2013 was one of constant learning. As an immersion student, I had the opportunity to live with a Chinese family during the semester. Living with a host family allowed me to continue practicing what I had learned in class with my family while at the same time experiencing different aspects of Chinese culture first hand. Having meals and spending time with my family gave me a true representation of living in Beijing. The city has such a historical importance and living there allowed me to gain an understanding the history that surrounds you. The language immersion program helped me improve my language skills far more than I could have imagined in the short time I was there. The program is challenging, but all of the instructors are always there to help. With what I have learned in my time at CSI, I now have the ability and the desire to continue studying Mandarin. If I was given the chance to redo my study abroad experience, I would select CSI again in an instant.
University of Chicago
"The immersion program was very intense but has immensely helped me with Chinese speaking, reading, and writing. Due to the small class size of the program, most of the times I felt that I wan in one-to-one tutorial. Every single teacher was so patient, energetic and willing to address my needs. Not only has the immersion program allowed me to increase my learning of Chinese, but also helped me experience Chinese culture through the study trips. Especially , the long March trip from Ruijin to Yangshou was very memorable."
"My spring semester in CSI was one of the best experiences I have ever had. The non-immersion program was a great balance between learning Chinese and exploring Beijing. The teachers were wonderful and enthusiastic, and always helpful. The end-of-semester trip was also incredible, in the sense that my classmates and I could travel to places like Tibet. I had a lot of fun, improved my Chinese a lot, and grew up under CSI's program. I decided to stay on for the summer to join the language immersion program."
University of Richmond
"Words can never capture the gratitude I feel for teachers and staff of the CSI program. Upon arriving in Beijing, I was unable to communicate with Chinese people around me. During just one semester in the immersion track, my Mandarin progressed at an exponential rate. The mandated small class sizes, language pledge and dedicated teaching staff create an unparalleled learning environment that allows for progress unattainable in the United States. While the curriculum of program is difficult, CSI allowed me to grow academically and personally, so much so that I will be returning for a third academic semester. Outside of class, opportunities for learning only continue to abound. Students can interact with brilliant young minds at one of China's most prestigious universities, can attend world class performances and can visit numerous historical sites in Beijing. I will always cherish the time that I spent at CSI."
"The China Studies Institute differs from many typical study-abroad programs in that it tries to challenge its students intellectually as well as encourage them to have fun. Besides enjoying the many weekend activities that the program arranged for us (the Great Wall, Forbidden City, etc.), we also threw ourselves into studying Chinese. CSI's professors really engaged us, and were always willing to answer any of our questions. In my experience, I found that this sort of academic atmosphere attracted a really impressive group of students --my classmates always truly inspired me. By the end of my semester I had not only surprised myself by how much I had improved in speaking Chinese, but I had gained an invaluable understanding of history and politics from a Chinese perspective. CSI provides a great environment for students to practice their Chinese, meet new people, and explore all the wonders of life in China!"
The College of Wooster
CSI is tough love. The program is extremely demanding, especially the intensive route for those who like a challenge (try too hard, and you’ll end up with a Chinese version of yourself). I know the family trope is trite, but all of the teachers that I had soon became my caring friends and mentors. Despite the heavy coursework, CSI gives me ample time and hosts various activities to get to know Chinese people and to reexamine the countless stereotypes I held about China. Take your time to explore the locality and talk to anyone, whether a random passenger on a packed-as-hell morning bus ride, or a loner drinking by himself because he couldn’t afford to go home for New Year. Strangers can be surprisingly open and honest to each other. It is perhaps far-fetched to say CSI alters my worldview, but it is fair to say CSI enabled me to do just that.