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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

The Asian Studies Institute in Beijing at Peking University

Peking University is a comprehensive and national key university. The campus, known as “Yan Yuan”(the garden of Yan), is situated at Haidian District in the western suburb of Beijing, with a total area of 2,743,532 square meters (or 274 hectares). It stands near to the Yuanmingyuan Garden and the Summer Palace.

Peking University is proud of its outstanding faculty, including 53 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), 7 members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), and 14 members of the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).

Program Type

Direct Enroll



Languages of Instruction

English; Mandarin Chinese

Program Dates

Fall 2018: August to December 

Spring 2019: January to April

 All dates are tentative and may change. The host institution will alert all accepted students of final dates. 


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College before participation and be at least second-semester sophomore status. (Transfer students may participate after the first semester on campus)
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Preferred GPA is 3.0, though students with a lower GPA can appeal to Professor Chen for special permission.
  • Due to rules of the host institution, Chinese citizens are not eligible to apply for this program. 
  • Preferred: Coursework in Chinese language or Asian studies.


Host Institution

Established by American University in Washington, D.C. in 1986, China Studies Institute is one of the foremost programs for American students in Beijing.  CSI is affiliated with Peking University, a well-respected Chinese institution.


Academic Environment and Teaching Style

As this program was designed in conjunction with a US university, the professors understand the unique higher education system and culture of US students. Professors may be from Peking University or their partner schools in the US, such as Knox, American, or others.

There are two tracks for this program: Area Studies and Immersion.  Area studies students take a variety of courses in Chinese history, culture, business, religion, and international relations.

The immersion track is for students who want to devote themselves to Chinese language training full time, through 27 hours of class instruction per week and lots of time for homework and other activities. Classes usually do not exceed five students, so there is plenty of time for individualized learning.

More information about courses offered can be found here


Credits and Grading

Each course is worth 3 - 6 credits. Students must take a total of 15 credit hours to earn the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits. Lake Forest students must take at least one course in the Chinese language.


Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.


Lake Forest College Requirements

Lake Forest students must take at least one course in the Chinese language. Though it is not required, we strongly recommend participating in the internship program.

Experiential Opportunities

Internships have been an integral part of this study abroad program since 1998. By working with American expats and Chinese professionals alike, students gain valuable first-hand experience about the Chinese economy and society.

An internship is offered as one course with 3 credits, and earn a letter grade for this internship. Students are expected to work two full-days per week during the semester.  This program is only available for the Area Studies program and is not compatible with the Immersion program.

Recent students have interned at the American Chamber of Commerce, Economist, Gallup Organization, Edelman, Lockheed Martin, T & D Law Associates, US-China Business Council, not-for-profit agencies, news agencies, and many others.

Housing and Meals

Most Area Studies students will live in dorms on campus in double rooms, though some may be located off-campus in institute-run hotels or apartments.  Rooms are equipped with private bath, air-conditioning, TV, internet access, and telephone.

Language immersion students will live off-campus in either double-room apartments or in homestays.

Meals are not included.

Financial Information

For all programs, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee.  The program fee for the Asian Studies Institute in Beijing program includes orientation, housing, some excursions, and the travel period at the end of the term.  Meals are NOT included. 

Here is an estimated budget for your Fall 2018/Spring 2019 program:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)


Lake Forest College Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Lake Forest College Deposit (non-refundable)


Additional Meals not included in program


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (visas, passport, books, supplies, etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was estimated as of February 2018.The program fee and other expenses are subject to change. The College will notify applicants if any fees do change, and will update this page accordingly. Deposits to other programs, if required, will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate.

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  Students going to China are especially competitive for awards including Gilman, FreemanASIA, and Boren. 

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

 You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package, and your expected family contribution.

Experiences of Former Students

The Beijing Program of Asian Studies was one of the best experiences of my life.  I learned about Chinese history, culture, and language.  The challenge of assimilating myself into Chinese society allowed me enormous personal growth. – Alicia Frenette ’07


Marina Alessi, a participant in the Beijing program in Fall 2014, discussed her experiences at the ACM Symposium: http://www.acm.edu/features/Student_Symposium_on_Off_Campus_Study/2015_Student_Symposium/2015_Symposium_Participants/Marina_Alessi.html


Peking University is such a prestigious university, and the structure of the academic program is very vigorous.

—Student in Spring 2015 program 


Notes from Abroad: Ed in China

Click here!