Studying Chinese at Sun Yat-Sen University

Guest post by Sara Jaaksola, undergraduate student at Sun Yat-Sen University.

Sun Yat-Sen University (SYSU) is located in Southern China, Guangzhou, and is the best university in Guangdong province. At School of Chinese as a Second Language they offer Chinese language courses for both non-degree and degree students.

  • General Chinese Training Course for non-degree students
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese as a Foreign Language: specialization in Business Chinese or Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language
  • Master’s Degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language

For all the different programs, introductions and fees, check CUCAS website for Sun Yat-Sen University.

Courses

Courses you attend depend on your Chinese level and if you are studying in a non-degree or degree class. On elementary level you have basic Chinese course, listening course and spoken Chinese course. When you get to intermediate level, you will also attend separate courses for reading and writing. On average you will have about 17 hours of classes every week. Degree students have more courses depending on the number of elective courses chosen, weekly hours can get up to 20 hours.

If you study for the bachelor’s degree, on the third year you will specialize in Business Chinese or Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. Your specialization will include courses like:

  • Business psychology, economics, business communications, economic research etc
  • Educational psychology, error correction, modern Chinese, organizing class activities etc

Optional courses include Chinese culture, literature, history, calligraphy, Cantonese and so on. Different optional courses are offered every semester.

Student Life

There are four dormitories on the South Campus where all the foreigners who study Chinese will have their lessons. You can find photos of each dorm on the website of Office for International Students’ Affairs. On the website you can also find other relevant information and notices. While studying at Sun Yat-Sen University, remember to keep an eye on the office’s website and new notices on the message boards of the teaching building.

There are two canteens quite close to the teaching building, but if you want to enjoy a cheap lunch there, remember to head over as soon as the bell rings. Chinese students start and end their classes earlier and often the best dishes are already eaten before us international students get off class.

Besides canteens, there are many restaurants on near the South Gate, just a few minutes from the teaching building. You can find Mc Donald’s, Chinese eateries , Taiwanese wraps and Korean restaurants nearby. For dinner there are many cheap and mid range Chinese restaurants at the small North Gate (east of the North Gate), there is also a Western restaurant there and many more just 10 minutes from the gate.

If you consider your self to be a party animal, there are many night life venues for you to choose in Guangzhou. For example the party pier with many bars is only 15 minutes taxi ride from the campus. For events and happenings check out Guangzhou Stuff community.

My Own Experience as a Student

I’m an undergraduate student at Sun Yat-Sen University studying my Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese as a Foreign Language specializing in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. I transferred to SYSU in September 2011 and will graduate in December 2013.

I’ve been very satisfied with my choise to study at SYSU as most of the courses have been very interesting and most of the teachers have been just amazing. Of course there are always some lousy courses in every university, you can’t deny that, but all in all I’ve learned a lot at Sun Yat-Sen University and I’m considering applying for a scholarship in order to continue to Master’s.

My favourite courses have been educational psychology and organizing classroom activities, as those both were taught by my favorite teacher, Chen Lin. She is such an passionate teacher always doing her best in helping us to use our heads and figure things our selves. I’m also always happy to go to the student office as smiling and charming Teacher Luo is always ready to help us degree students with out problems.

I think it says a lot about SYSU that they have techers evaluations every semester where students can rate their teachers and give feedback. Even though their English website still dates back to the stone age or something, I have a feeling their really want to do our best in helping us to master Chinese.

If you have any questions about studying at SYSU, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me!

Sara Jaaksola is a blogger and a student in Guangzhou. She writes about her life, study and relationship in China at Living a Dream in China, but also shares her favourite Chinese learning resources at How Can I Learn Chinese.