Office of International Programs
Thank you for your interest in our study abroad programs! The goal of this page is to help you better understand the Beijing Semester study abroad program and highlight distinguishing features and components that will interest you as a parent. More detailed and updated information is given to your son or daughter in information sessions, academic reviews, workshops, and predeparture orientations. Once you read this information, we strongly encourage you to discuss this with your son/daughter first. Please know all information is given to the students, and we ask students to share all of this with you.
Sending students abroad is a partnership that includes students, parents, university personnel, and our overseas partners. We realize that you will have questions, and if our website or your son/daughter cannot answer those questions, we will be happy to discuss the study abroad process and program information with you. Please keep in mind that due to the FERPA federal regulation (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act), we will not be able to discuss specific information regarding your son/daughter; however, if your son/daughter is willing to sign a waiver form indicating the specific information to be shared with you, we will be more than happy to discuss specific matters regarding your son/daughter.
We hope you find this information helpful in assisting your son/daughter to accomplish his or her goal of learning, living, and serving abroad. We look forward to working with you and your son/daughter.
Loyola University Maryland has been sending student to Beijing since 1998 through a Jesuit consortium of schools known as The Beijing Center. The Center is housed at the University of Business and Economics in Beijing and is run by a Jesuit-in-residence. The home school that runs the center is Loyola University Chicago.
Criteria for Acceptance
Students must apply to the Office of International Programs at Loyola University Maryland by December 4 (Wednesday after Thanksgiving break) of their sophomore year. Loyola University Maryland will then forward applications on to Loyola University Chicago. Students must have a minimum 2.8 CQPA in order to qualify and they cannot have a disciplinary history. Students with a CQPA of 2.750-2.800 can appeal. No Chinese language is required for the application and no previous language classes are required at all.
Travel to Beijing
Students book their own airfare on the program and there is no group flight to Beijing. You should plan to book a flight into the Beijing (PEK) Airport once you receive further instructions from Loyola University Chicago. Students on the recommended flights will be picked up from the airport by TBC staff.
The Beijing Center must submit your passport number and your full name as it appears on your passport to UIBE, the Chinese university where TBC is based, so they can issue you the documentation needed to apply for a Chinese student visa. This is the reason we ask for a photocopy of your passport at the time of application.
If your passport will expire within the next year, check with a Chinese consulate to see whether they recommend renewing it.
You’ll need a visa before you may enter China. Semester students should apply for the “X” visa, which allows you to stay the full year. Before applying for the “X” visa, you will need a valid passport plus two documents from Loyola University Chicago.
Our partner university in China (UIBE) will issue you the two forms: a "JW202 form," and an "Admission Notice." You must wait until we send you these documents before going to apply for the visa. They are coming from Beijing to Chicago. As soon as they arrive in Chicago, you will be contacted, and the materials will be sent to you along with detailed visa application instructions. This will likely happen sometime in late June to early July. Then you will need to go to the Chinese embassy or consulate that is in the jurisdiction of your residence (there are six throughout the United States; you may check the embassy website to find out which one you should visit). You or someone you trust must go in person to the embassy/consulate both to drop off your visa application and to pick up the visa when it is ready. The normal processing time is about five business days, though most consulates also offer "express" and "rush" services for additional fees, if needed.
If it is not convenient for you to travel to the Chinese consulate, you can have a friend or relative visit the consulate on your behalf, or you may wish to use the services of an agent or company that provides visa application support. There are many such services in existence that will charge you a service fee to bring your application materials to the consulate and pick them up for you. This is a very common practice since many people do not live near one of the consulates. To find such service providers, you could do an Internet search for "Chinese visa services" or "Chinese visa agents," and perhaps include in your search the name of the city of your area’s Chinese consulate. The Beijing Center is not able to recommend any specific companies, but an Internet search should yield several from which to choose.
It is a good idea to think through the process for obtaining the visa while you are waiting for the required admission materials so that you can act as soon as they arrive. Note: If you are not going to be in your home country during the last few weeks before the Beijing program begins, please contact the Chicago office to discuss alternate options for getting your visa.
There is a full range of support on-site ranging from student affairs to academic support. Details can be found here: http://www.thebeijingcenter.org/staff/
Insurance and Health
All students must purchase the required CISI health insurance online. You must pay using a credit card. The cost is $33 per month.You will find a CISI benefits brochure online.
Students feed themselves on the campus. There are cafeterias and restaurants within walking distance of the dormitories. The cost of food is very, very affordable in China.
It is recommended that you use cash for most purchases in China. Multiple ATMs surround the campus and cash can be accessed easily from them. It is best to check with your bank ahead of time to find out if they have any partner banks in China that will not charge ATM fees. Bank of America has been suggested by numerous students in the past.
Expenses will be quite affordable for most of our students. The average amount spent per Loyola student last year on all travel, food, and souvenirs for an entire semester in China was $2,000.
Length of Stay
This program is available for a fall semester, a spring semester, or a full academic year. The academic calendar matches that of Loyola University Maryland very closely.
Students live in dorms with other international students and with American students attending The Beijing Center program.
The program includes one major and one minor excursion each semester.
Students in this program take 3-credit courses that are printed on a Loyola University Chicago transcript. Some language courses are 4 credits. Students typically take a 15-credit course load, and one class in Chinese language is required. Available courses are located online.
Students will register for courses online through Loyola University Chicago’s system about 10-12 weeks before their semester starts.
Add-Drop Week in Beijing
After online registration closes, the next opportunity for you to make any changes to your class choices is in Beijing during the add/drop period, which is after the first week of classes in Beijing. Though several students do participate in add/drop, it is not advisable to plan on it, as some courses may be filled up by that time, and purchasing textbooks is only very rarely an option within China.
Official course offerings may not be announced until right before online registration starts. The course listing on our website is only a tentative list based upon courses that have been offered in the past. They are subject to change at any time. Some may be removed and others added. You should use the list only as a guide for what might be offered. Keep this in mind as you consult with your home university to work out how courses will count toward your degree. We recommend getting several more courses approved than you will actually take in Beijing. We also recommend that you get courses approved now rather than waiting until you receive the instructions to register online. View the tentative list online
When registering for classes, you will know the schedule of classes including course times. You will be notified if any of your courses are being cancelled due to under-enrollment or a sudden conflict with a professor's schedule after the initial registration period. While somewhat rare, such cancellations could occur anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of days before classes start. If there are schedule conflicts or cancellations, you will be given the opportunity to choose alternative courses. This is another good reason to have back up courses approved by your home university, especially if you must complete certain degree requirements while in Beijing.
It is required by The Beijing Center that you enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours and a maximum of 18 per semester. Please refer to our website for an explanation of course credits.
The Beijing Center's curriculum is at least as academically intensive as, if not more so, than some programs in the United States. For example, the study of Chinese will demand a significant investment in time. The trips arranged by The Beijing Center are academic excursions, in which you are expected to read, research, write, and to provide presentations on various aspects of the journey. Studying China in China is an especially unique challenge. You are advised to keep all of this in mind when selecting courses.
You should register for one Chinese language class unless already fluent (speaking, reading, and writing) in Mandarin Chinese. The Chicago office may be able to help you decide which Chinese level is best for you. Fluent students who wish to be exempt from taking Chinese should consult The Beijing Center's Chicago office at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Students who believe they fit into this category will be asked to provide documentation attesting to their level of competence and may also be asked to take a Chinese placement exam in Beijing to confirm their fluency.
If you choose to enroll in any Chinese class other than one of our introductory courses ("Regular Elementary Chinese I" or "Intensive Elementary Chinese") you will be required to take a placement test in Beijing before classes start to help ensure that you’re enrolled in the correct level.
For most courses, textbooks are to be purchased before you go to Beijing. You will need to allow space in your luggage for them. Closer to the time of departure, we’ll send you a list of the required textbooks for each class. If you’ve noticed that some course syllabi on our website have textbooks listed, please note that these may or may not end up being the actual books required. We advise you to purchase our books only after we confirm your course schedule and send you the book list. We will do these things in enough time to allow you to purchase your textbooks before you leave.
Your Loyola University Maryland housing bill covers the standard housing arrangement for semester students in China. The standard housing arrangement for semester students is a double room in the dormitory style residence hall. Students may choose to opt for supplemental housing options, and they are available for an extra fee per semester. The supplemental housing fees include:
- $1,400 (per semester): Single room in apartment style residence hall
- $1,200 (per semester): Single room in traditional dormitory style residence hall
- $450 (per semester): Double room in apartment style residence hall