Summer Palace

Virtual Columbia Summer: Chinese Language

Language of Instruction: Chinese
Term: Summer

Improve your Chinese language skills on this intensive, virtual summer program

The next application deadline is Mar 10, 2023
See other program dates

Immerse yourself in the Chinese language this summer! This virtual program offers four levels of intensive language study from first through fourth-year Chinese.

"I couldn’t have been happier with the summer online. [The professors] work tirelessly to construct a new course, [and] was also able to execute each lesson as though they had been teaching it for years. This summer has been
the first Chinese class where I have felt like I could take my time and
as a consequence I felt proud of my work."

- Summer 2022 Virtual Program Participant

Program Overview

This intensive virtual Chinese language program offers all levels of Chinese from elementary to advanced. Classes will be taught by the faculty from the Columbia Chinese Language Program who will offer live, highly interactive instruction. All four skills-- reading, writing, speaking and listening-- are emphasized and integrated into the curriculum.


8-week program: June 5, 2023 — July 28, 2023

4-week program (1st semester course): June 5, 2023 — June 30, 2023

4-week program (2nd semester course): July 3, 2023 — July 28, 2023

Eligibility and Application


  • Must be a currently enrolled undergraduate student in good academic and disciplinary standing. Graduate students and post-graduates may also apply
  • Minimum 3.0 average language GPA
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA


Click the “Start Your Application” button above. If the button doesn't appear above, the program is not yet accepting applications. You will be asked to set up a short profile, allowing us to send you relevant information about your application. Once you’ve created a profile, you will see a checklist of items that you will need to submit. These generally include:

  • Application questionnaire(s)
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcript(s)

Please note applications will be reviewed on a rolling admissions basis.



We recommend that students enroll in a full year of Chinese during the summer. However, those who may be interested in enrolling in one semester of Chinese (4-week program) should contact the UGE Adviser noted at the bottom of this page to discuss enrollment options.

Based on your application, you will provisionally be placed in one of the courses below. Final placement occurs after you take a placement test.

Note: The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.

Chinese 1101-1102 O. Elementary Chinese I-II (First-Year Level). 10 points.

Instructor: TBD
Prerequisites: None
Texts: Approaching China (Columbia University staff, published by Peking University Press)

Introduces basic sentence structures and vocabulary in colloquial Chinese and focuses on developing basic skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The Pinyin system and traditional characters are used.

CHNS 2201-2202 C UN. Second Year Chinese I-II. 10 points.

Instructor: Lingjun Hu
Prerequisites: One (1) year of college-level Chinese or the equivalent
Texts: Jingua Chinese (Columbia University staff, published by Peking University Press; traditional and simplified characters)

Consolidates and develops language skills used in everyday communication. Texts are presented in the form of a narrative that provides language situations, sentence patterns, word usage, and cultural information. Comprehensive exercises rely on highly structured practice in vocabulary, grammar, listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Semi-formal and literary styles are introduced in later lessons as transition to more advanced levels of Chinese language study. The first half of the course emphasizes skills for conducting everyday tasks such as shopping, making telephone calls, seeing a doctor, or looking for a job. The second half focuses on aspects of Chinese culture: the social norms of politeness and gift-giving, traditions such as inter-generational relationships and marriage ceremonies, customs such as special foods and holidays. While providing practical training, the course aims to raise the student's linguistic competence in preparation for advanced studies in Mandarin.

CHNS 3003-3004 W UN. Third Year Chinese I-II. 10 points.

Instructor: Zhirong Wang
Prerequisites: Two (2) years of college-level Chinese or the equivalent
Texts: Jingua Chinese (Columbia University staff, published by Peking University Press; simplified characters)

Introduces Chinese social values and attitudes, focusing on the rapid changes now taking place in China. Uses materials from Chinese newspapers and modern short stories to teach essential elements of semi-formal and formal writing. Reading and writing are routine tasks, and oral discussion and debate are important components of the class, allowing students to integrate and improve their communication skills in Chinese.

CHNS 4015-4016 OC. Reading in Modern Chinese I-II (Fourth-Year Level). 10 points.

Instructor: Ling Yan
Prerequisites: Three (3) years of college-level Chinese or the equivalent, at least
Texts: Articles by contemporary and modern writers; Readings from current newspapers and magazines; Simplified characters used

Furthers students' language skills in semi-formal, formal, or written styles through reading and writing, while improving fluency in oral communication. Weekly individual oral presentations and written reports are required.



For more information about the Grading Policy, please click here for the Columbia-Led summer programs.


Credit is not granted to students who do not complete the full program.

All courses taken on the program are converted to an American grading scale and transmitted to students as follows:

  • Columbia Students: Grades appear on SSOL and your transcript as semester grades from courses taken at Columbia. For more information, please see the section on Academic Credit in Steps to Study Abroad.
  • Barnard Students: Grades appear on eBear and your transcript as any semester grades from courses taken at Barnard. For more information, please see the section on Credit and Transcripts for Barnard Students on our Barnard student pages.
  • Non-Columbia Students: can request electronic transcripts online through the Columbia University registrar.

Program Schedule

During this intensive program, students should expect to meet daily from Monday through Friday during the program duration. The program schedule will be as follows:

9:00 AM —
11:00 AM
Language class

11:00 AM —12:00 PM

1:30 PM —
2:30 PM

Drill sessions
2:30 PM —
5:00 PM
One-on-one individual sessions rotating among three different instructors. Each student will have a one-hour maximum time slot during this timeframe.


The Program Director, Lening Liu, holds a Ph.D. in linguistics and has been a faculty member in Columbia University's Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures since 1995. Currently, Professor Liu is Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Director of Columbia's Chinese Language Program. He also serves as the co-director of the Certificate Program of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages. He has taught in the Summer Language Program in Beijing since 1997.

The head instructors for the language courses are:

  • Ling Yan, Senior Lecturer in Chinese at Columbia University

  • Lingjun Hu, Senior Lecturer in Chinese at Columbia University

  • Zhirong Wang, Senior Lecturer in Chinese, Associate Director of the Chinese Language Program

Trained language tutors from Columbia's Chinese Language Program are assigned to support students on an individual basis.

Find Out More

Watch a recorded information session from February 24, 2022, to learn more:

Program Director Lening Liu:

Financial Considerations

PROGRAM COSTS (Summer 2023 Tuition and Fees will be updated soon)

Summer 2022 Tuition and Fees*: Please see our cost breakdown for detailed information.

*Tuition and fees are subject to the Board of Trustees' approval and may change.


All students who are accepted to the program will need to confirm participation with a non-refundable deposit. Columbia students do not need to submit a deposit but will be charged a $500 withdrawal fee if they withdraw after confirming.


If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to studying abroad. In general, summer financial aid is not available to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering students, but may be available to School of General Studies students. Non-Columbia students should check with their home schools for funding availability.

Global Learning Scholarship (GLS)

The Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement is pleased to announce Global Learning Scholarships to help students fund their participation in this program. If awarded, these partial scholarships will be applied toward tuition charges for this program.


  • Open to Columbia University and non-Columbia undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need

  • Recipients must be accepted to this Columbia-Led program

To Apply:

After starting a program application, complete the “Global Learning Scholarship” questionnaire in your UGE account.

Scholarship Applications Due:

The Summer 2023 GLS applications are due on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 (closes at 11:59 PM EST) or by the program application deadline, whichever occurs first.

Weatherhead East Asian Institute Funding

Columbia University's WEAI offers funding for research, language acquisition, unpaid internships, and dissertation write-up during the summer and academic year to selected Columbia students committed to professional and academic engagement with East and Southeast Asia. Eligibility varies depending on the particular funding opportunity.

Theodore de Bary Undergraduate Language Study Fellowship

Provides a maximum award of $10,000 for intensive summer study of an approved language. This award is open only to Columbia University students who are non-U.S. citizens and non-Permanent Residents. Recipients must be enrolled in a credible program of instruction approved by the Fellowships Committee.

Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarship (FLAS)
Find out who administers the summer FLAS program at your home school. For Columbia/Barnard students, the FLAS Fellowship competition is open to undergraduates and graduate students, including Ph.D. candidates, who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents. Undergraduates must be applying to study the third year level of the language or above. There is one exception for study at the Beginning level: Students who have achieved fluency or high advanced proficiency in one language may apply for study at the Beginning level to learn a second language in the same world area of concentration.

Summer Language Fellowship for International Ph.D. Students

The Summer Language Fellowship for International Students supports international Ph.D. students (who are not permanent residents) in the humanities and social sciences at Columbia who need to study a foreign language (applies to all languages) abroad during the summer. The fellowship award maximum is $3,000. Students can apply online and should contact with questions.

For more general information and resources on financing your time abroad, please see the pages below:


If you decide to withdraw from the program once it has already started, please be aware of the financial consequences and the office policies by clicking here.

Global Columbia Collaboratory

All participants in summer programs will have access to the Global Columbia Collaboratory, a non-credit virtual exchange experience that helps students learn more about global challenges, enhance their global competencies by connecting and cooperating across a global network, and empower students to make a difference in the world as global citizens. In the Collaboratory, students can engage with fellow students and the broader Columbia network to:

  • Participate in regularly scheduled theme-based global seminars from faculty and experts drawn from Columbia’s global networks;

  • Exchange perspectives and engage together in reflection on the global challenges framed by the global seminars; and

  • Engage in collaboration and ideation on projects and ideas that impact today’s society.

Fact Sheet

Foreign Language Learning
Barnard College, Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia General Studies, Columbia Graduate Students, Non-Columbia Graduate Students, Non-Columbia Undergraduates
Language of Instruction:

Dates & Deadlines

Application Deadline: 
Friday, March 10, 2023
Admissions Decision Date: 
Monday, March 20, 2023
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling admissions basis. Please note dates are subject to change. We are open to accept late applications.