Critical Language Scholarship Program | Suzhou,China


Program Dates:

June 02 - August 03, 2019

Hosting Institution:

Soochow University

Program Overview

The CLS Program in Suzhou provides an intensive 8-week language learning environment designed to cover the equivalent of one academic year of university-level Chinese study. Students receive a minimum of 20 hours per week of formal classroom instruction that focuses on intensive reading, writing, speaking and listening practice. Formal language instruction is supplemented with additional cultural activities and classes, such as calligraphy, a class about modern Chinese culture, and visits to local enterprises. The CLS program in Suzhou also incorporates a language policy that requires scholarship recipients to speak only Chinese during all program activities, with one another, and with all staff.

Additionally, students meet with a language partner several hours each week to practice language skills and engage in learning outside the classroom with native speakers through activities such as visiting a classical Chinese garden, visiting the Suzhou Museum of Art Gallery, exploring Suzhou by bicycle, and shopping in the Suzhou Times Square. On weekends, students in Suzhou participate in a variety of cultural excursions to explore the rich culture and history of their host city and surrounding areas, such as an overnight trip to Hangzhou. These activities are designed to deepen the students’ understanding of Chinese culture and language through interaction with local Chinese people.

CLS students in Suzhou live with host families, which gives them the opportunity to experience life in a Chinese family and further develop their language skills outside of formal program activities. Students typically eat breakfast and dinner with their host families, giving them an opportunity to practice speaking Chinese, to experience home-cooked Chinese food, and to gain insight into cultural norms and day-to-day life in Suzhou.

The CLS Suzhou Institute is hosted by Soochow University and held on the university’s main campus, Gusu Campus. Soochow University consists of six campuses and the total enrollment is more than 39,000 students, including more than 28,000 graduate and undergraduate students and more than 11,000 nontraditional students. The campus grounds have been described as one of China’s most beautiful, in part based on the incorporation of typical features of the classical gardens in Suzhou. You can learn more about Soochow University on their website.