The Chinese Flagship program is a two-tier program, meaning that you must be enrolled in a Domestic Flagship program, at one of our Flagship Universities in order to go abroad.

For Fall 2016, the group consists of 16 students (this is a smaller group compared to the Nanjing program, which is 45 students). Small classes allow each student to receive specific guidance from the instructor, and frequent interactions in Chinese, which are essential towards attaining high Chinese proficiency. For Fall 2015, the group consists of 14 students. The program is expected to increase in enrollment gradually over time.

In late August or early September, before departing for China, students travel to Washington DC to attend a two-day orientation with American Councils staff (travel and lodging will be arranged by American Councils). All aspects of the program are discussed: the academic program, life as a student abroad, getting around in Beijing, culture shock, health and safety issues, keeping in touch with friends and family in the US and other issues. After the orientation, students will then depart directly for China.

Yes. Students who successfully complete the Chinese Overseas Flagship Program receive academic credits for their Flagship course. Students are eligible to receive academic credit of 4.0 units (the equivalent of 16 semester hours) of undergraduate credit per semester from Bryn Mawr College for their participation in the Beijing Chinese Flagship program.

Please refer to the "Program Costs" section.

The Chinese Flagship program helps students attain near-native proficiency in Mandarin and allows them to apply their language and cultural knowledge abroad through direct enrollment classes at Beijing Union University and a part-time internship. After students have attained a certain level of proficiency through the Flagship program at their home university, they will spend their capstone year at Beijing Union University. With specially-designed curriculum, small classroom settings, excursions within China, and a part-time internship with a local organization during their second semester, Flagship students are able to graduate with a high-proficiency of Chinese, whether in an informal or a professional environment. In addition to language proficiency, during their capstone year, Flagship students are able to gain cultural insights and a profound understanding of Chinese society, which allow our alumni to pursue Chinese-related careers.

Both programs require students to take direct enrollment classes, and intensive Mandarin courses during the first semester. Please choose a program that better suits your academic, professional, and personal needs. Students in the Nanjing program dedicate their second semester to a full-time internship. Students in the Beijing program start a local part-time internship in the second semester while continuing their intensive language studies in Beijing.

Yes, some of our previous Flagship students are heritage speakers, your level will be analyzed on a case-by-case basis depending on your home university.

Yes. American Councils will obtain visa documents for those selected to participate in the program shortly after acceptance letters are sent. We require your passport information to obtain the visa documents.

Participants’ passports must be valid six months from the end of their program. For example, if a participant’s program ends in June 2017, their passport must be valid through January 2018.

Yes, The Language Flagship does provide support for students enrolled in domestic Flagship institutions. Please contact your domestic Flagship program for information. American Councils does not distribute any of these funds.

The Fall 2017 - Spring 2018 Application will open in fall 2016. Please consult with your domestic Flagship program coordinator for application details.

No.  However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you may not be eligible to apply for government financial aid.

Students who would like to apply to the Flagship program must be currently enrolled at one of our 12 Flagship Universities.

Most of the money which students plan to spend should be brought IN CASH (or in a cash-accessible form, such as an ATM card) as cash is easier to exchange and will trade at a relatively more advantageous rate. Participants should consider bringing a small amount of cash to China to act as EMERGENCY FUNDS.

American Councils strongly encourages all students to take some form of credit card to China. Even if you do not use the card for purchases, it will serve as an emergency back-up if you do run out of money and can be used to pay medical fees in advance. Please make sure that your credit and debit cards will not expire during your capstone year, as it is easier to renew a card while you are still state-side. Please also be sure to notify your credit card companies that you will be out of the country to avoid issues with using your card later. Some credit cards also charge fees for purchases made abroad, so please be sure to verify all terms with your credit card company before leaving home. For major credit cards, there are nearby ATM machines, and there may be a withdrawal maximum of 2000 RMB.

Credit cards such as American Express, Master Card, and Visa are acceptable for payment at hotels or tourist stores. However, most places will not accept credit card so you will need to bring RMB. Even if the store/restaurant indicates they do accept credit cards, they might tell you it doesn’t work when you go to pay the bill.

Students who are applying to the Flagship Program are expected to be at the Advanced-Low for speaking and Advanced Mid-Level (2 rating on ILR-scale) for reading or listening.

Flagship encourages students from all academic backgrounds to participate, as Chinese can be a useful skill towards any professional career. In previous years, Flagship applicants held majors in music, biology, political science, and business. In fact, our Flagship Program is designed for students learning Chinese at different levels. At the domestic institution, students are placed in classes that are specific to their proficiency levels. With individualized assistance, students are able to reach advanced low-mid proficiency, required for the Capstone year in China. Students with little to no background in Chinese are strongly encouraged to enroll in your Flagship University's Summer Chinese courses (please refer to your Flagship program for more information).

Exchanging cur­rency in Beijing is easy, and banks and exchange offices offer competitive exchange rates. Nevertheless, you should exercise caution when exchanging currency. Because of the volatility of the Chinese money market, you should plan ahead on the amounts you want to exchange. Each time money is changed you can receive a receipt or certificate. Be sure to have your passport with you in order to exchange money at banks. If your U.S. bank has a global alliance with a Chinese bank, you may be able to withdraw money from the ATM without incurring fees; however, there is usually a limit to how much money you can withdraw.

It is also possible to convert dollars to RMB at any tourist hotel or foreign exchange bank with a valid passport. However, avoid any black-market transactions, as it is illegal to exchange dollars for RMB except at banks, hotels, and official exchange offices. You are advised to keep all receipts from money exchanges, as they may be required to exchange RMB back to USD.

By law, business transactions in China are made only in renminbi. Credit cards are used in some areas but cash is more versatile in China when making purchases. If you make a large purchase, save your receipts and price stickers for possible customs inspection.

Places associated with tourists and foreign currency are likely to attract crime. We therefore strongly advise that, when you are changing money or withdrawing cash, you do so in the company of a friend. Exercise basic prudence—avoid these transactions when it is dark outside and avoid calling attention to yourself by speaking English loudly. Count your money before stepping away from the exchange counter. You will need to present identification when exchanging money. Your passport is ideal.

Please note that it is common for Chinese banks to accept only new, clean and crisp dollar bills. If a bill is old or torn or has any marking on it, you may not be able to exchange it.

Yes, but only during academic breaks in the program. Participants cannot miss classes due to having guests.

Participants can travel independently, with host families or local friends, or with program colleagues and/or alumni. Independent/leisure travel is permitted as long as participants fulfill the requirements of their programs or specific grants, and notify the Resident Director prior to purchasing tickets or reserving hotel rooms. The American Councils Resident Director can advise on making travel arrangements, but does not arrange or finance participants’ trips if they are not part of the academic program. Travel within the host country is enriching and usually inexpensive, but not always safe. American Councils requires that you register with STEP and receive approval prior to finalizing travel plans. 

Please note that if you are planning to stay anywhere outside of the host city overnight, you need to inform the resident director at least two weeks before departure, and fill out the travel request form to report your plans in advance. Submission of travel request form does not constitute approval. Only travel deemed safe by the U.S. State Department can be approved.

Wi-fi is available at the host institutions.

Yes. There are a number of clinics with emergency services in the area. American Councils has a full-time resident director who is ready to provide emergency aid at any time. The resident director will be available by phone 24/7 in the event of an emergency.

Basic medical care is widely available in the host country. Participants are urged to talk with their resident director about any medical concerns and to seek second opinions from medical professionals as needed. Participants should never visit hospitals or clinics without their resident director. The resident director will escort participants to the clinic in order to facilitate admission and care.

American Councils has a full-time resident director in each host country who is ready to provide emergency aid at any time. During in-country orientation, participants will be given a wallet-sized card listing all important numbers. The resident director should be contacted in case of emergency. 

Your round trip ticket to your overseas program location will be either on United Airlines, American Airlines, or Delta. Visit the following links to view current information about checked and carry-on baggage:

American Airlines: Click here

United Airlines: Click here

Delta Airlines: Click here

Click here to learn more about Boren Scholarships and fellowships