Loyola University Maryland

International Programs

Beijing: Information for Parents

Kenneth Kwarciany
Assistant Director
Office of International Programs
410-617-2920
kckwarciany@loyola.edu

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.

General Background

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.

Criteria for Acceptance

Students must apply to the Office of International Programs at Loyola University Maryland by December 3 (Wednesday after Thanksgiving) of their sophomore year. Loyola University Maryland will then forward applications on to The Beijing Center. 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 The Beijing Center. Students on the recommended flights will be picked up from the airport by TBC staff.

Passport

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.

Visa

All non-Chinese citizens must obtain a visa to enter China. Students studying at TBC for one semester should check off “Short-term study for less than 180 days” as the Major purpose of your visit. Students studying at TBC for TWO semesters should check off “Long-term study for over 180 days” as the Major purpose of your visit. Before applying for a visa, you will need a passport (that is valid for at least six months beyond your anticipated departure date from China), plus three documents from our office.

Before applying for a student visa, you will need a valid passport plus three documents from The Beijing Center office in China. You cannot apply for your student visa until you receive the documents and specific instructions from TBC. 

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. 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. This is a common practice and to find such service providers, you could do an internet search for “Chinese visa services” or “Chinese visa agents,” and 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.

THE GENERAL TIMELINE FOR VISA PROCESS

Application Deadline and documentation sent to Beijing for processing*:

  • Fall semester: mid-April, spring semester: late-October
  • Paperwork processed in Beijing: 3-4 weeks
  • Arrival of paperwork: fall students: late June, spring students: late November/early December

Visa processing at Chinese consulate: 5 days for standard processing, if you have to use a visa service please allow for 2-3 weeks for this process to account for shipping time. You can also choose expedited service for an additional fee depending on which consulate you use.  Please note that if you use a service or if you have a friend or family member apply on your behalf when you ship your passport and documents use registered mail or UPS, DHL, etc and make sure you have a tracking number.  Do not put your passport and documents in the regular USPS mail.

Please note if you have travel plans that require your passport and you need your visa documents sooner than the time frame listed please contact TBC to arrange for an early submission date.

*Students who need to receive or renew their passports that have not done so by the program deadline will be submitted to Beijing once they are received. From the point of submission it will be 3-4 weeks until the paperwork from Beijing will be available for the students to apply for their Chinese visa.

On-Site Support

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

A CISI health insurance plan is included as part of the program . CISI benefits brochure online.

Meals

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.

Money 

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

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.

Housing

Students live in dorms with other international students and with American students attending The Beijing Center program.

Academics 

Students in this program take 3-credit courses. Some language courses are 6 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 before they start their semester in Beijing.

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.

Class Offerings

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 Current list online.

Class Schedule

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.

Credit Hours

It is required by The Beijing Center that you enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours and a maximum of 18 per semester.

Course Selection

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.

Placement Testing

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.

Textbooks

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.

Program Charges**

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. T

**Please keep in mind that study abroad information, dates, benefits, and fees are subject to change without notification. You are encouraged to contact the Office of International Programs directly for the most up-to-date information regarding any study abroad programs offered at Loyola.

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