March 14, COVID-19 Update, Moving to Distance Learning – Learn more


The Center for Language Studies has been offering Chinese for more than twenty-five years. Our program strikes the perfect balance between fostering oral immersion and building a strong foundation in reading and writing. During seven weeks students live in Chinese, speaking to their teachers and peers in class, at meal times, during cultural excursions and activities. A significant amount of time is also devoted to learning to read and write Chinese characters, as they can open up doors to broad areas of Chinese culture. For over three thousand years, Chinese characters have played and continue to play a significant role in Chinese culture through art, history, and philosophy.

Thanks to our proximity to Chicago’s vibrant Chinatown, our Chinese program can participate in cultural events like the Chicago Dragonboat Festival, attend Chinese variety performances, and eat at authentic restaurants. Past cultural events have included a calligraphy workshop hosted by Andy Chan, the President of the Chinese Artists Association of North America, and demonstrations by the Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera Company.

Available Courses

First Year Chinese

100 - 105A. First-Year Chinese I, II (four semester credit hours each). Students of first-year Chinese receive an intensive introduction to Mandarin. Class sessions establish a solid foundation of conversational, reading, writing, and listening comprehension skills. Traditional characters will be taught. A cultural component is interspersed with the daily language studies.

Second Year Chinese

110A - 115A. Second-Year Chinese I, II (four semester credit hours each). The second-year intensive course is designed for students who have completed one year of formal training (or its equivalent) in both written and spoken Mandarin. Through oral/aural exercises and graded reading sections, the course amplifies the material taught at the beginning level. After a thorough review of basic Mandarin grammatical structures and vocabulary, students add more complex and simplified characters to perfect their skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. In the process, students transfer knowledge gained from the character-pattern learning approach of first-year Chinese to work with original Chinese texts drawn from literature, history, politics, and business.

Third Year Chinese

200A - 205A. Third-Year Chinese I, II (four semester credit hours each). A course in conversation and composition, third-year intensive Chinese increases proficiency in the four language skills, by developing fluency in expression through reading, writing, and speaking Chinese. The course introduces students to a range of authentic materials, including essays, short stories, and newspaper articles in both simplified and complex characters. The course also provides personalized instruction through selected readings in literature and the social sciences.

Fourth Year Chinese

210A - 215A. Fourth-Year Chinese I, II (four semester credit hours each). This intensive course is designed for advanced students who want to master their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills, as well as their competence in Chinese history, literature and culture, politics, and business. Students continue their learning of advanced vocabulary and usage of more complex sentence structures. Besides, this course enhances students’ social-linguistic sensitivity and awareness to help them use more cohesive devices in their discourse on a wide range of topics at an advanced level.


Xiao Hu

Senior Instructor Third-year Chinese, since Summer 2013

“I have been teaching Chinese at Beloit for five summers now. I keep coming back to CLS and would like to recommend it to everyone I know for its strong learning atmosphere and the feeling of being a harmonious cultural community. This intensive program provides teachers chances to not only teach students language but share their experience and cultural knowledge in and out of class. The language classes with abundant practice and all the cultural activities together like the Chinese dinner night, the trip to Chinatown, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese chess and so on involve the whole Chinese language team and enhance the teaching effectiveness. The experience, knowledge and friendships gained at CLS last me well beyond the summer and will continue to enrich me for life.”

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