Student Life

Though academics are highly stressed at Middlebury Schools in China, the program's philosophy is based on finding balance between scholastic achievement and cultural immersion. A vibrant student life is fostered by encouraging interaction between students, roommates, faculty, and the community at large. Opportunities for participation include local excursions, roommate-led activities, extracurricular courses, a weekly Chinese Table, a cultural reimbursement program, and one long weekend trip.

Local Excursions

The School in China: Beijing program organizes weekly activities which are designed to showcase the gems of Beijing and different facets of Chinese culture. Activities outside of the classroom push students’ understanding of contemporary China and complement their coursework; for instance, we have planned excursions to local art galleries, organized walking tours of the city, and had local journalists meet with students.  Previous excursions have included:

  • Local art gallery visit
  • Walking tours of Beijing
  • Meeting with a local journalist
  • A badminton tournament on campus
  • Chinese cooking class

Roommate-Led Activities

At the Middlebury Schools in China, Chinese roommates are not only an integral part of a student’s everyday life, but an integral part of the program as a whole. Roommate-led activities in the past have included:

  • Making dumplings
  • Learning “Chinese poker”
  • Majiang
  • Learning to play the Erhu

Extracurricular Classes

Extracurricular classes are offered each semester depending on student interest and availability.  These classes typically meet once a week and are designed to offer students cultural knowledge in a more relaxed, casual setting. Previous extracurricular classes have included:

  • Chinese tea ceremony
  • Calligraphy
  • Traditional Chinese painting
  • Chinese Opera face painting

Chinese Table

The School in China organizes a weekly Chinese Table where students have the opportunity to casually converse with teachers and learn important food culture and vocabulary, all while enjoying a delicious local meal provided by the program.

Cultural Reimbursements

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the rich culture, history, and diversity of the nation's capital city. The Cultural Reimbursement Program provides students a small stipend each week to encourage them to get out and explore Beijing. In addition, on one weekend per semester, students and roommates are allotted an extra sum of money to be used for group travel outside of the city. Examples of reimbursed activities around Beijing in the past have included:

  • Theatrical performances
  • Museums
  • Cultural sites
  • Chinese films
  • KTV

Long Weekend Trip

Every semester, the School in China will organize one long weekend trip, taking students and roommates to a destination of interest outside of their host city. These trips are included in the program cost.

Capital Normal University Student Clubs and Campus Life

Students are encouraged to participate in campus life and foster relationships with Chinese classmates. Below is a list of active clubs at Beijing's Capital Normal University which students are eligible to join:

Name Chinese Category Description

Classroom of Society


Career Dev.

Aims to prepare undergraduate students to enter society as adults.

Taekwondo Club  跆拳道社 Health & Exercise  Gathers together to practice Taekwondo with guidance from a professional instructor.
XingYi Club  星翼社 Health & Exercise, Career Dev.   A fusing of formerly separate clubs, this group conducts breakdancing, yoga, and career development training. 
Feiyan Dance Club  非言舞剧团 

Performance Arts

Teaches dance and puts on performances. Main focus is belly dancing, with other genres thrown in occasionally. 
Silent Sea Manga Club  静海动漫社  Hobbies & Interests  A network of students which announces when new manga exhibitions are going on in the area. 
Ping-pong Club  乒乓球社  Health & Exercise  Plays ping-pong together. Free instruction is available for beginners from other Chinese students.  
Orienteering Club   定向越野俱乐部  Hobbies & Interests  Organizes and carries out exploration activities throughout Beijing and the surrounding area. 
Breakers Flag Football Team  Breakers 腰旗橄榄球队  Health & Exercise  Organizes flag football and cheerleading activities. 
Snowskiing Club  滑雪俱乐部  Health & Exercise  Teaches skiing, and engages in ski and snowboard activities and competitions in Beijing. Ticket includes admission, equipment, and lesson. 
Yitang Chess and Checker Club  弈堂棋社  Hobbies & Interests  Plays and teaches Chinese and international versions of Chess, Checkers, and other related games.  
Chun Yingxiang Movie Club  纯映像电影社  Hobbies & Interests  Discusses and views films, and might even make movies together.  
Litian Jushe  唳天剧社  Performance Arts  Acting/theater group which rehearses together and puts on performances.
Niguang Photography Society  逆光摄影协会  Hobbies & Interests  Hosts opportunities for volunteering, e.g. storytelling to the blind, and conducts photography expeditions. 
Xingtan Academic Club  杏坛学社  Academic  Publishes its own newspaper, hosts a movie salon and academic salon, and focuses on history. 
Blues Guitar Club  蓝调吉他社  Performance Arts  Offers guitar lessons for a reduced lesson price. Beginners to advanced are all welcome.  
Ballroom Dance Society   体育舞蹈协会  Performance Arts  Teaches social dances and ballroom dances. Welcomes members to attend formal competitions. 
Board Game Club  桌游社  Hobbies & Interests  Gets together to play board games.