News: World's First Online Chinese Teacher Training Programme Launched By The Beijing Language And Culture University


Here at The BLCU Blog we aim to bring you interesting and relevant news related to the Beijing Language and Culture University, so you don't have to go any further than this blog to know what headlines your favourite Chinese university is making in the global media.

Earlier this month, on April 8, the Beijing Language and Culture University announced a new initiative with Academic Partnerships (AP) to "launch of the world's first online International Chinese Teacher Training Program (ICTP)," according to a report by PRNewswire. A new website, BLCUOnline.net, has been set up to promote the programme. At the time of writing, applications are still being accepted.

In an official statement, BLCU President Cui Xiliang said: "BLCU is an international university where students from all over the world study together and diverse cultures exchange with one another."

BLCU's Online Education College Dean Li Wei also added: "The online ICTP, which will now allow BLCU to serve students near and far, is a reflection of the University's commitment to being a truly international institution and promoting collaborations across cultures and borders."

Transport Guide To The Beijing Language And Culture University

Subway


Public transport around the Beijing Language and Culture University is convenient. The university itself is located on College Road and is close to the Beijing North Fourth Ring Road. College Road connects to subway Line 13 at Wudaokou Station. From this subway stop you can get to every corner of the city (with a few changes). After taxis, this is almost certainly the most convenient way to get around Beijing.

Buses


The nearest bus station is called Beijing Language and Culture University Station (formerly known as Language College Station). Bus routes that come through the stop include 307, 331, 375, 630, 656, 690, 743, 957. There are also a handful of other stops in the general area that you can explore for yourself, but this is the main one used by most students.

Related post: How To Get A Beijing Transport Card

From here you can easily get to places such as Xi Zhi Men, Xin Jie Kou, Qian Men, Zhong Guan Cun (the nearby electronics district), Summer Palace, Fragrant Hills, the Botanical Gardens, the Asian Games Village, and many other great areas in Beijing.

Happiness Supermarket: A Canteen Food Alternative At The Beijing Language and Culture University

This is a guest post by Ran Etya, fourth (and last!) year student studying Chinese at the Beijing Language and Culture University and the blogger behind FOODragon.

Okay, I am going to just say it -- I am not a big fan of the cafeteria in BLCU. To be fair, I tried it only a couple of times and it was alright. I mean, it was crowded and noisy but the food was totally decent. I just don’t see the need to go there when you got such great restaurants in and around the campus.

Most people go the shitang (canteen) for three reasons -- it’s convenient, cheap and fast. Well, today I would like to suggest a nice alternative which also meets these three criteria – the food court of Happiness Supermarket.

Happiness Supermarket (幸福超市 – xìng fú chāo shì) is just a couple of minutes walk from the east gate of BLCU. On top of being one of the cheapest supermarkets in Wudaokou, it also has a nice little food court. This means you can combine your grocery shopping with grabbing a quick yet tasty lunch, dinner or even just a midday snack.

The food court offer pretty much any type of Chinese food. You got your rice, noodles, dumplings, jiachangcai and more. Here are a couple of photos for some visual tasting of what I like to get there.

My absolute favorite there is the shuijiao (水饺 -- boiled dumplings). For 12 kuai you get four portions (20 dumplings which is the minimal order) and it doesn’t matter which filling you pick. In fact you can even mix half and half. Fillings are either pork or egg with veggies.

6 Clubs And Bars Near The Beijing Language and Culture University


Studying in China and learning Chinese can sometimes be stressful and demanding. As a student, it’s often good to get a break from books to have some fun.  Most students prefer creating time especially during the weekend to unwind and get in touch with their social sides. The vibrant nightlife around Beijing Language and Culture University is what makes it a darling with many students.

Wudaokou is the paradise of universities in Beijing since most universities are situated there. It has a number of social places mostly frequented by college students; foreign and local. Some of the most popular clubs found here include; Propaganda and Lush.

Studying Chinese Online With StudyHSK

This is a guest post by Michael Santangelo of StudyHSK, the most intensive and structured online course.

Acquiring a foreign language is made difficult through random concepts that cannot be explained through rules. In western languages many such random concepts exist in relation to the use of articles: in English the use of the indefinite article “a”, in German or French the use of definite articles like “der, die, das” or “le, la” respectively. In Mandarin Chinese two such major random concepts exist, namely the tonal system and Chinese character handwriting. However, if you take these random concepts out of the equation, Mandarin Chinese is not harder to learn than any other language.

The only solution to mastering these random concepts is through studying them one word at a time. Knowing which tone goes with which syllable or how to handwrite a certain character will only manifest itself through constant use – and even then, you will probably forget this information more often than not. This is normal (even Chinese native speakers face the same obstacles) and once you accept that everyone has to deal with this frustration you are already on the way to being a happier student of Mandarin.

Separation of Speech and Script

As soon as it was accepted that these random concepts are a great source of frustration for Mandarin Chinese students, a study method was developed by StudyHSK isolating the problem of character handwriting. Known as the Separation of Speech and Script theory, the method considers the handwriting of characters (calligraphy) a mechanical skill that should and can most effectively be taught separately from the other skills of Mandarin Chinese language learning, i.e. speaking, listening and reading. Please note that typing Chinese on a computer using Pinyin recognition software does not fall into the handwriting but reading/speaking category.

The Beijing Language and Culture University of 10 Years Ago


This is a guest post by Andreas Laimboeck, Director of LTL MandarinSchool and former BLCU student.

I started my intensive course at the Beijing Language and Culture University in September 2002, when Beijing was a very different city to today. While often frustrating, it was also an amazing experience to live and learn in China during that time.

Registration and Course

Back then there was pretty much no choice: if you wanted to learn Mandarin in Beijing you had to go to BLCU, whether you liked it or not. Getting accepted into the program was not difficult -- the only requirement was to be between 18 and 99 years old -- however signing up for it was quite an adventure. The weirdest part was the requirement to make pre-payment in person at the university two months before arrival in China. It took me a month to get an English speaking person on the phone in the registration department so that I could explain the technical and logical impossibility of doing so.

Beijing Language and Culture University Photos March 2014

The BLCU Blog is launching a new and exciting multimedia initiative. They say that a photo tells a thousand words, and that's true. But even more importantly: photos and multimedia sharing on social networks and across the web is expected to be a driving force in 2014, with platforms such as Instagram, Vine and Facebook (of course) dominating the online social scene.

We don't like to stand still or be left behind here at The BLCU Blog, so we've hand-picked a selection of the best Beijing Language and Culture University photos for your viewing pleasure from across the web for March 2014. They are all available to be viewed in the public album on our Facebook page (be sure to 'Like' our page to get all the good updates we put out) and also right here on the blog itself.

The original owner of every photo can be found within the photo, as we have made sure to include their details with each upload. So, if you want to get in touch with them, all you have to do is search their username on the specific network (by and large Instagram) and find them that way. You can view all the photos here on blog by scrolling down!

Beijing Language and Culture University Q&A (2014): Sriparna Pathak

Photos courtesy of Sriparna Pathak
In this lengthy and detailed BLCU Q&A we talk with Sriparna Pathak from New Delhi, a specialist at the Centre for Development and Peace Studies (CDPS) and guest lecturer at several universities across India. She discusses her time at the Beijing Language and Culture University where she studied Mandarin between 2011-2013.

Sriparna tells us about her journey to BLCU (and her possible future plans for China), and considers some of the areas she feels the university still has room for improvement, while admitting that she had a lot of great experiences there. After all, although it's easy to remember all the joy from our time in Beijing, perhaps it is too easy to overlook some of the downsides and 'mafan'!

You can find all of our BLCU Q&As here, so be sure to check the rest out! For now, let's jump straight in and see what Sriparna has to share. I recommend you set aside some time to read the whole post, as it's a very worthwhile read and raises a lot of good points about the BLCU experience.

Please give me some background about yourself, including why you decided to study Chinese at BLCU.

My Masters was in International Relations, after which I opted for an M.Phil in Chinese Studies. (M.Phil is restricted to the Indian sub continent largely, and is an intervening period/degree between Masters and PhD.) My M.Phil dissertation was on the impact of the Global Financial Crisis on the Chinese economy.

TED Talks At The Beijing Language And Culture University

Photo by TEDx
Who knew that TEDx, the series of independently organised TED events, has hosted several talks at the Beijing Language and Culture University over recent years? The events have all been suitably named TEDxBLCU, and you can find some example photos on one of the 2010 events' Flickr page.

The most recent TEDxBLCU event was held in June 2011, with two prior to that in 2010. A lot of people who were at BLCU during that time, including myself, probably never even knew that TEDx had organised an event there, and many may have wished to have attended if they'd had the chance.

It just goes to serve as a reminder to current students at BLCU not to forget to keep up to date with what events are currently being held by the uni, as you never know when TEDx, or a similarly famous organisation, may stop by again. And if you miss the opportunity you might kick yourself.

As an example, the theme of one of the 2010 talks was "Make A Difference". The official TEDx page describes the event as follows: "Our event is all about change and making a difference in life. Four speakers from distinct walks of life give their unique views on how to live a fulfilled life. With their personal experience and reflection on how to make a courageous first step, they tell vivid stories and demonstrate convincingly that life is full of possibilities."

China Q&A (2014): Carl Ji

Chinese national Carl Ji during his year-long
exchange in the UK in 2014
Although we cover almost exclusively topics directly or indirectly related to the Beijing Language and Culture University here on The BLCU Blog, just once in a while it's interesting to look further afield at China as a whole. We got in touch with one of our good friends, Carl Ji, a Chinese national from Shenzhen, to have a chat about the North-South divide, culture, Beijing, and education.

If nothing else, it may give you some talking points with your new (or old) BLCU friends. But above all, hopefully you find it interesting reading in its own right! Remember to check out the rest of our Q&A sessions here.

There is a saying in Chinese which goes, “If you want to be famous, go to the North (Beijing); if you want to be rich, go to the South (Shenzhen).” Can you tell us more about this?

Yes, especially for singers and actors that want to become famous, there is an idea engrained in the Chinese culture that they need to go to Beijing to have the best chance (in the same way that Americans for years, and still today, go to New York or Hollywood to find fame). By "North" in the context of the saying, really we are talking specifically about Beijing.

In Beijing there are many famous movie directors who will screen actors and hold auditions for new films and projects. Meanwhile singers will try to get a public audience and exposure by singing in places like the subway and major pedestrian tunnels (such as ones that go under large sections of road in busy areas). They hope a music agent will find them and offer them a record deal or opportunity to get rich.

Beijing Language and Culture University Q&A (2014): Chelsey Mark

It's not often that The BLCU Blog gets to interview a high-profile Chinese presenter from national TV channels and shows. Chelsey Mark (麦小龙) is none other. A Canadian student at the Beijing Language and Culture University over 10 years ago, Chelsey has gone on to lead a highly successful career in Chinese showbiz.

His achievements are numberless, but include being "the first foreign TV presenter to host long term programmes on China's biggest platforms" (CCTV, Music and English Channel, Hunan TV, Shandong TV, The Travel Channel, Beijing TV, and Tianjin TV), according to his professional resume.

He has also hosted live events for international brands such as Microsoft, Volkswagen, BMW, Nikes, Jordan, MTV, Red Bull, Pepsi, Men's Health, NBA, The North Face, Acer, and many more.

Between 2007-2010, Chelsey was the official presenter of the Chinese TV show NBA "Made in China", interviewing some of the greats of the game that included Darryl Dawkins and Lebron James.

Impressed yet? Read on to find out what Chelsey had to share with The BLCU Blog in this exclusive interview. Remember, you can find all our previous Q&As here.

Beijing Language and Culture University Q&A (2014): Brian Liu


In this BLCU Q&A with local Chinese student Brian Liu, from Hunan Province, we get a look into the life of a non-foreigner studying at the Beijing Language and Culture University. He takes a look at his typical day, what it's like to be surrounded by so many foreigners on campus, and the tireless hours that go into getting into a reputable university in China.

Remember to check out all our Q&A posts here. Thanks to Brian for his time, and remember that you too could appear in the series: just email theblcublog@gmail.com and let us know that you're interested to be interviewed.

HelloTalk Chinese Language Exchange App (iOS/Android)


In this post, The BLCU Blog takes a look at the Chinese language exchange app HelloTalk, available on both iOS and Android platforms. After spending some time with it, we are confident in recommending it to anyone studying Chinese at the Beijing Language and Culture University, or anywhere else for that matter. The app offers almost all the benefits of a Chinese language partner from the comfort of your own home (or home country), and caters to different levels of learners from beginner to advanced.

Let's be clear, this is a free service and so there's no reason not to at least check it out. All the Chinese students you can find on it are simply wishing to practice their English (or other language) with a native speaker, giving you the chance to do the same with your Mandarin or Cantonese. Don't confuse this with a paid teaching platform.

Finally, don't forget to check out The BLCU Blog's exclusive Q&A with one of HelloTalk's main developers at the end of the post.

Beijing Language and Culture University Q&A (2014): Thomas Longrigg

This fantastic and extensive Q&A with Tommy Longrigg is one of the most in-depth interviews that The BLCU Blog has done to date, and we are very excited to share it with you all. Although you may initially be put off by the sheer amount of words offered here by Tommy (who was very generous with his time), for anyone serious about getting to know the Beijing Language and Culture University, and for advice from someone who has been extremely successful in leading a life in Beijing after graduating, you would be wise to learn a thing or two from what he has to say.

Remember that you can find all our previous Q&A posts here, but for now let's jump straight into this interview with Tommy.

Could you share with us briefly your background and why you ended up at BLCU?

I was a transfer student from Dalian University of Foreign Languages in 2011. I won a scholarship in Dalian and gained the attention of BLCU who offered me a place there. I wanted to transfer because I was thinking about leaving Dalian, and BLCU is a great school. A better place to have one's degree from, especially in Chinese education.

So, I was finishing my degree there. I was ban zhang for a couple of terms, I was also in the Hanyu Qiao competition in 2009, as well as in the business sketch we did when Liu Yandong from the Central Government came to visit I graduated in top 10 of class of 2011, one of only two europeans in the list. I now work for an international school in the marketing and admissions offices.

Beijing Language and Culture University Q&A (2014): Olga Razumovskaya

Olga Razumovskaya
Hello all and thanks for joining us in the first of a new 2014 series of BLCU question and answer (Q&A) sessions. This one is with Olga Razumovskaya, a Russian student currently studying Chinese at the Beijing Language and Culture University. Many thanks to Olga for agreeing to answer the questions below for the benefit of all our readers.

If you would like to appear in this year's BLCU Q&A series (2014), please get in touch with us at theblcublog@gmail.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also find all the other BLCU Q&A sessions here. Now, let's take a look at what Olga had to share.

Briefly, why did you decide to study at BLCU?

Well, my previous education is closely connected with English, but after I started working I realised that knowing only one foreign language isn't enough. As China nowadays is one of the fastest growing economies, and because of close Russian-Chinese business relations, I decided that it could be useful to know Chinese.

When I'd just started learning Chinese in Russia I already knew that I'd have to go to China to study the language there. My first teacher advised me to go to Wuhan, where she used to study. Compared to Beijing it is much cheaper and offers much more language practice, but as I was going to have to travel alone and my Chinese speaking was far from survival level, I decided to study in Beijing instead.

Beijing Language and Culture University Video: 1-minute Campus Tour (on a Motorbike!)


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News: Beijing Language and Culture University Student Now Professor of Chinese

Photo by Zhang Yunbi / China Daily

Here at The BLCU Blog we aim to bring you interesting and relevant news related to the Beijing Language and Culture University, so you don't have to go any further than this blog to know what headlines your favourite Chinese university is making in the global media.

Former BLCU student Misbah Rashid, who is now an assistant professor of the Department of Chinese at the National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad, spoke to China Daily about the growing importance of Mandarin in a report published Monday.

"There is a growing number of Chinese enterprises running businesses here," Rashid told China Daily. "Cross-border trade is thriving there, and Mandarin skills are needed."

She explained: "I spent four years as an undergraduate student at Beijing Language and Culture University and another two years studying for a master's degree at Peking University in Beijing."

Meanwhile, Shameel Farhan, a security officer in Pakistan and student at Rashid's university, said: "You see, China is the fastest growing economy nowadays in every part of life in every field. We are a neighbouring country of China, so we should learn how China developed so quickly."

To read the full China Daily article, click here.

Beijing Language and Culture University Q&A #4: David

Image source

Hello everyone! It's been a while since I last put up a new post here at The BLCU Blog, so I figured if I at least put up one of my recent email exchanges with a reader in the form of a Q&A it would be better than nothing.

Obviously now is a busy time for people who are planning to go study Chinese at BLCU because the new term is about to begin. This has been reflected in the number of emails I've been receiving from readers and I'll try my best to get some more Q&As up on the blog. I've been busy with real life things for the past few months.

Beijing Language and Culture University Social #2: Tablets

Hi guys and welcome to round 2 of the BLCU Social in which I'm going to chat a little bit about using tablets and apps to assist in your Chinese study. If you didn't already check it out, be sure to have a read through the BLCU Social #1: Beijing Weather.

As I explained in my opening post of the series, I'm going to be using content from around the Internet (mainly via Twitter) that is related to BLCU as a basis for wider discussion on certain topics. The idea is that this is a good way to engage with the online community and others who are at BLCU whilst at the same time keeping content here on The BLCU Blog fresh.

Thanks to Audi Ghozalli (@audighozalli) for inspiring this post by sharing the photo above via Twitter!

I think this is a pretty interesting subject for a lot of readers. The tech world is changing fast and the devices now available are capable of doing so much more than they were a few years ago. Look how the iPad revolutionised the way we do stuff on the go. You no longer need to drag a laptop with you everywhere because you feel the small screen of a smartphone just won't cut it.

If you're going to study Chinese at BLCU and are someone who likes to take thorough notes in class, the idea of taking a tablet to your Mandarin lessons could be quite attractive. Sure, you could just stick to traditional handwritten notes, but if you have a tablet anyway and an array of great apps running on it, why not take full advantage?

Beijing Language and Culture University Q&A #3: Maria


Thanks fo tuning in to the third BLCU question and answer! If you would like to have your question featured as a post here on The BLCU Blog, please get in touch in the comments section or by email at theblcublog@gmail.com.

As always, I will do my best answer them as soon as possible, though can't promise a set time frame. Usually it should be a day or two, though depending on what is going on in my personal life it may be a little (or a lot) longer!

You can find the previous Q&A posts, including video Q&As done on YouTube, here.

Beijing Language and Culture University Q&A #2: Anna


Hello all and thanks for stopping by! This is the second written question and answer I have done here on The BLCU Blog (the first can be found here). You can find more as YouTube videos which I did earlier this year. They are also available here on the blog.

If you have any of your own questions you would like me to address, please send them in to theblcublog@gmail.com and I will do my best to answer them as soon as possible in the form of a Q&A for the benefit of everyone. Sometimes it can take me a few days to get it posted, but please bare with me. I'm only human!

So, without further adue, let's take a look at today's Q&A which comes from a reader called Anna.

Beijing Language and Culture University Q&A #1: Olivia


I'm going to begin replying publicly to email enquiries I get so that my answer does not benefit just one person but instead everyone that visits this blog. That seems to make a lot more sense to me.

I have posted reader questions before in the form of a Q&A like this, but not in recent versions of The BLCU Blog (i.e. not since before it underwent some major changes back in July 2011 at which time I took down a lot of old content that I didn't think stood up to the new standard of quality I was attempting to set and maintain with all articles that I post).

Some of you may already be aware that I have done a few YouTube video Q&As on BLCU in which I've answered readers comments for the benefit of everyone. However, I generally am going to keep content on this blog in the written form, so here is the first Q&A as a post.

Coffee At The Beijing Language and Culture University


Let me guess, you love coffee, right? Wait, don't tell me, you drink at least six cups a day? What's that, you drink more than six cups a day? Wow, that is impressive. But hang on a second, you're going to to study Chinese at BLCU in Beijing. Surely people in China only drink tea? I mean, China is famous for its tea, right? So what are you going to do in a coffee-less country?

Beijing Language and Culture University Social #1: Beijing Weather


Before I start this post, I want to prep it by saying that this is going to be the first in a series of posts discussing BLCU related media from around the Internet. As you can see from the title of this post, I have decided to call the series BLCU Social, and each time I will try to focus on a different topic. My main focus is going to be on content shared via Twitter, but I may also use images and conversations from other websites, blogs, forums and social networks (Facebook, for example).

Beijing Language and Culture University Video Q&A #9: Nut Allergies, Mobile Phones, Internet Restrictions


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Beijing Language and Culture University Video Q&A #8: Social Life On And Off Campus


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Beijing Language and Culture University Video Q&A #7: Daily Budget


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Beijing Language and Culture University Video Q&A #6: Are Other Universities Just As Good?


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Beijing Language and Culture University Video Q&A #5: Various Topics 1


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Beijing Language and Culture University Video Q&A #4: Arriving After Midnight


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Beijing Language and Culture University Video Q&A #3: Where To Book A Double Room?


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Beijing Language and Culture University Video Q&A #2: Do Classes Fill Up Quickly?


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Beijing Language and Culture University Video Q&A #1: Waiting On Admission Letters


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If you enjoyed this post, you can subscribe to The BLCU Blog for free updates. You can also follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page. Thank you very much for your support!

Buying Fruit And Vegetables At The Beijing Language and Culture University

Image source

Whether you're someone who eats out all the time or prefers to cook your own meals in the kitchen, this post might be of interest. If you're considering coming to study Chinese at the Beijing Language and Culture University, gathering as many tips beforehand is always a good idea - and that's what this blog aims to help you with.

I've already mentioned in previous posts that the on-campus accommodation comes with communal kitchens which allow you to do your own cooking. As such, the question inevitably arises: where should I buy fresh fruit and veg from?

Now, before even arriving in at BLCU, you will know the answer.

5 Medicines You Should Take To The Beijing Language and Culture University

Image source

If you're going to study Chinese at the Beijing Language and Culture University, it would be a good idea to take some basic medicine and other supplies for your first few weeks.

Note that most, if not all, of this stuff can be bought in Beijing and the Wudaokou area (around BLCU) but by having some already with you it will make the first few weeks easier. The last thing you want to do is get ill early on and then have to go searching round shops and using your non-existant Chinese (if you're just starting to learn the language) to find what you need.

In this post I've come up with a very small and basic list of what I consider the most important and obvious items to pack in your medicine bag before leaving to China. I hope it helps!

How To Access Blocked Websites At The Beijing Language and Culture University [Paid]

There's a number of reasons you might want to consider paying for VPN software during your time at the Beijing Language and Culture University.  A VPN is a virtual private network that will allow you to bypass the firewall in China and access restricted sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter - to name just a few.

You simply sign up for the service on their website, download and install the software and you're good to go. It usually works on a monthly subscription basis.

I have also written a post that mentions free VPN software and websites, but the truth is that good free software is very hard to come by and the website options are usually quite slow as far as performance is concerned. It can also be risky for security reasons - a friend of mine said his Facebook password was compromised after logging in through the popular Vtunnel service.

Staying In Touch With Skype At The Beijing Language and Culture University


I have little doubt that Skype is going to become your best friend soon after arriving at the Beijing Language and Culture University. A bit of homesickness is to be expected and natural, but you can make the transition into Beijing life that must smoother by having a live video connection with friends and family back home.

Most of the people I met at BLCU used Skype on a regular basis and I suggest that if you haven't already got it installed on your laptop before going, you make it a top priority to do so too.

Learn Chinese From The Locals At The Beijing Language and Culture University

Image source

I think it's vitally important for people going to study Chinese at the Beijing Language and Culture University to understand that their progress in the language will not just be defined by attending classes.

Speaking with the locals is key to your improvement while at BLCU, both in terms of listening and speaking skills, but particularly speaking. Don't waste this valuable opportunity to make huge strides in your Mandarin by not bothering or being too shy to interact with them.

3 Bakeries Near The Beijing Language and Culture University

Golden Phoenix bakery, Wudaokou
In this post I'm going to look at three popular bakeries near the Beijing Language and Culture University. Each is slightly different from the next, but there are many similarities between them all.

For anyone that is missing some western style snacks from home, this is a good and cheap way of getting a bit of variety from the usual Chinese cuisine you may be used to living in Beijing.

All three bakeries are located in Wudaokou, only a short walk from BLCU. I hope you enjoy the post!

1. Golden Phoenix

Golden Phoenix is located in Wudoakou. From BLCU, take a right out of the southwest gate and head towards the subway station. On your left you will pass the U-Centre and on your right is a cinema (which only shows Chinese movies, I believe).

Continue straight on and under the subway bridge. Here you will come to a crossroads which you should pass through. To your left is now the Hauqing Jiayuan apartment complex and at the end of this road on the same side you can find the Golden Pheonix bakery. Nearby is a Mcdonald's, so keep an eye out for that if you're not sure.

This is the cheapest bakery I came across during my time in Beijing. For example, you can buy a box of eight fresh croissants for only 10 RMB. If that's not good value, I don't know what is. Large baguettes are also only 6 RMB.

They sell a variety of western style snacks, both savoury and sweet. Then there are also Chinese style cakes (lots of cream and fruit). I would say the choice and variety is pretty good, probably better than some of the other bakeries in fact.

The downside to this bakery is that there is a very limited seating area (up some spiral stairs on the second level that overlooks the shop foor). It's more a place to take away from.

Dorm 17 (International Student House) At The Beijing Language and Culture University

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In this post I'm going to look at Dorm 17 on the Beijing Language and Culture University campus - also known as the International Students House. It is the newest, most modern and by far the most popular student accommodation at BLCU (only completed in 2005).

According to its website, the building has a floor space of 28,000 square meters, 600 rooms and over 1,000 beds. Every year more than 3,000 international students stay here, hence the name.

I have put a lot of time into creating this post for the benefit of readers of this blog. I hope you find it useful and informative. For Dorm 17's contact details see my BLCU Contacts page.

The Conference Centre At The Beijing Language and Culture University

The Conference Centre on the BLCU campus

In this post I'm going to talk about the Conference Centre on the Beijing Language and Culture University campus. I've spent several hours constructing this post and it's the result of the knowledge of four months spent living there.

I will look at where you can find the Conference Centre, what the costs of staying there are, what happens if you want to leave early but have already paid, the restaurant and breakfast buffet service, the cafe (called Nowhere Cafe), the roomskitchen and laundry facilities, the small shop on the ground floor as well as internet availability.

In my opinion, the Conference Centre is definitely one of the best places to stay at BLCU along with Dorm 17. I hope you find the information that follows useful and informative.

You can find contact details for the Conference Centre on my BLCU Contacts page.

Medical Examination At The Beijing Language and Culture University


In this post I thought we could take a look at the medical examination you will probably have to do once you arrive at the Beijing Language and Culture University. It is a basic health check that every student is required to undergo, unless you have the results of a health check from your own country of origin that the Chinese government recognises.

An American friend of mine at BLCU had the tests done in the US before coming to Beijing so that he wouldn't have to do them there, but BLCU didn't recognise the certificates and he was required to retake the tests anyway. So keep this in mind if you are thinking along the same lines. Your health check certificates from home may not be accepted in China.

A Typical Day At The Beijing Language and Culture University

A photo of the sun through the trees taken at BLCU

In this post I want to give readers a window into a day at the Beijing Language and Culture University. Of course, each day is different and so is each student, but I will nonetheless recount a typical day for me when I studied at BLCU. This is a fairly large task and I will attempt to go into as much depth as I feel necessary to convey a true sense of the experience.

You should also read the guest post by my friend Ray So on An Introduction To Life At BLCU for his perspective of things. In it, he does a brief outline of one of his "typical days". For the sake of this post, I have split the day into morning, afternoon and evening.

5 Disadvantages Of Living Off-Campus At The Beijing Language and Culture University

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Having done the post on 5 Advantages Of Living Off-Campus At BLCU, this seemed like a natural follow up. So now I'm going to look at some of the disadvantages. Hopefully this will let you keep an open mind with regards to accommodation at the Beijing Language and Culture University and allow you make a more guided decision on where you want to stay.

The BLCU Blog Weekly Roundup: 04 - 10 July, 2011

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Thank you to everyone who's been reading and visiting The BLCU Blog this week and please remember to subscribe if you've been enjoying the content I'm putting out so far.

The posts here now add up to over 31,000 words, so there's already a lot of content to look through for anyone who is new to the blog. Please take your time and have a good browse. I've put a lot of work into it so far and I really hope others are finding it useful.

Below you can see the posts which I've done this week. You can also find last week's roundup here.

Vegetarian Food At The Beijing Language and Culture University


This is a little post for any vegetarians that are going to study at the Beijing Language and Culture University. Perhaps you're wondering if there's any vegetarian eateries in the area? Well, prateeksha in the comments section kindly pointed me to a thread over on Chinese-Forums. In it I read that there are in fact two vegetarian restaurants behind the Microsoft building in Wudaokou. However, having never been to either of them, I am not in a position to further comment. Be sure to check them out for yourself though if you're interested!

How To Book Accommodation At The Beijing Language and Culture University


I’ve noticed that there is still a lot of confusion with regards to booking accommodation at the Beijing Language and Culture University and exactly how one ought to go about it. In this short post I'm going to look at some of the reasons for this confusion and exactly what your options are. Be warned though, you may not like what you're about to read!

7 Chinese Study Tips For Success At The Beijing Language and Culture University



In this post I’m going to share with you seven study tips that helped me get scores of around 90% in the exams at the Beijing Language and Culture University. These are the methods that I found to be most effective in improving my Mandarin and I’d like to pass them onto you.

If you have already studied Chinese in the past you may be familiar with the ideas found below. Otherwise, I hope it opens your eyes a bit to what I believe is going to result in you getting the most of your time at BLCU with regards to studying Mandarin. I’ve been working on this post all morning so I hope it’s been worth it. Enjoy.

5 Advantages Of Living Off-Campus At The Beijing Language and Culture University


During the one-year that I studied at the Beijing Language and Culture University, I lived both on and off-campus. In this post I'm going to look at some of the upsides of living off-campus to give you a better idea of why you might want to do it during your time at BLCU. I hope you find the information useful.

1. Cheaper rates

Living off-campus can be cheaper than on-campus accommodation depending on where you decide to stay. For example, if you're living at the Conference Centre or in a single dorm room such as at Dorm 17, you're going to be paying at least 120 RMB per night. This adds up to roughly 3,600 RMB per month. However, if you're in a double room at one of the dorms then you're likely only paying 60 RMB per night or 1,800 RMB per month.

The Ultimate Guide to Bicycles At The Beijing Language and Culture University


If you're planning on coming to study Chinese at The Beijing Language and Culture University for a semester or more, investing in a new or second-hand bicycle would be an excellent idea. I waited until I moved off-campus at the end of my first semester before sorting myself out with one, but even if you're living on campus at BLCU it can be a convenient way to get to and from classes and explore the surrounding area as well.

In this post I've tried my best to share some of my own experiences on buying, selling and protecting your bike during your time at BLCU. I also mention a few bike accessories which I found very useful and would recommend to others. I hope it helps.

The BLCU Blog Weekly Roundup: 20 June - 03 July, 2011

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I'm going to start doing a "weekly roundup" of all the posts that appear here on The BLCU Blog through the week, allowing anyone who has missed anything to quickly see what I've been writing about over the past seven days or so. Admittedly, this first one covers a bit more than a week.

Earn Money Teaching English While At The Beijing Language and Culture University


In my post 10 Reasons To Study Chinese At BLCU I mentioned the opportunities for teaching English during your time at the Beijing Language and Culture University. I also mentioned that although it's not strictly aloud without a valid work visa, a lot of foreigners still choose to do it to earn a bit of extra money and it's very much turned a blind eye to. The Wudaokou area, where BLCU is located, is full of work opportunities for foreigners and not only in English teaching jobs.

I will point out that this is something I have never personally done and am purely offering my own insights and observations from my time at BLCU. Many people I knew, on the other hand, did do some work while there and so I did pick up one or two things that I'm going to share with you in this post. This is by no means a definitive guide, but I have attempted to at least scratch the surface and leave the way open for anyone that's interested to look into it more for themselves.

5 Restaurants Near The Beijing Language and Culture University You Might Not Know About


I thought it would be an interesting idea to do a post about some of the less-known but great restaurants around the Beijing Language and Culture University. So here are five of my favourites that you probably don't know about, especially if you're a new student studying Chinese at BLCU.

Some of them may be a bit awkward to find if you're unfamiliar with the area, but I'd say they're all worth the making the extra effort for and will probably be places you find yourself going back to again and again throughout your time at BLCU and Beijing. Enjoy.

1. Teppanyaki (Wudaokou)

A lot of poeple don't realise there's a Teppanyaki (and a damn decent one too) in Wudaokou. Most think you need to go through to Sanlitun and I thought the same until halfway through my year-long stay at BLCU. It's not true at all though - there's one right beside the big Microsoft and Cernet buildings that are easy to spot, even from campus.

How To Get A Beijing Transport Card

Beijing subway map 2010-2011

It won't be long after arriving at the Beijing Language and Culture University that you're going to want to start doing a bit of exploring around the city. Most of the time, this will probably entail taking buses or using the subway system.

For destinations that are in a bit more of an awkward area, you may have to resort to taking a taxi at least some of the way. Wherever you decide to go in Beijing, you're going to be using the transport system a lot during your time at BLCU and that's why I recommend you get a transport card as soon as you can.