Weir Fellowships Academic Details

William D. Weir Honors Fellowships in Asian Studies are administered in partnership with CET Academic Programs, an American organization based in Washington, D.C., that has coordinated educational initiatives in Asia for more than 20 years. CET and Carolina have had a long and productive working relationship.

CET’s Chinese language program enrolls students from colleges and universities across the United States. The program is housed at the western branch campus of the Beijing Institute of Education, which is located in a quiet residential neighborhood with easy bus and subway links to all sections of the city. Nearby shops, restaurants, parks, and cultural sites offer students daily opportunities to integrate themselves into local life.

Spring Semester

Fellows devote the bulk of their time to intensive Chinese language study. CET typically offers as many as 10 separate levels of instruction to suit students’ varying abilities and levels of preparation. The average class size is eight students, with even lower enrollments in upper-level and oral courses. This arrangement maximizes opportunities for individualized instruction and greatly enhances student learning. The CET program also includes a practicum for students at all levels. This element of the curriculum takes advantage of the surrounding environment by teaching students to use Chinese in everyday situations. Students learn to perform specific tasks in their host environment, such as buying train tickets and bargaining in the market.

The CET curriculum is rounded out by a robust program of weekend excursions to major cultural and historical sites.

Class work during the Spring semester will be undertaken along with other American students enrolled at CET Beijing.

Summer Internship (8 weeks)

During the summer portion, Fellows work a minimum of 25 hours a week in their internships in Beijing or Shanghai. CET maintains an extensive network of contacts with corporations, non-governmental organizations, and Chinese government agencies. CET staff coordinates placements based on students’ interests and an assessment of their language proficiency.

CET will also provide a customized course during the summer for Fellows focused on a topic or mix of topics related to their internships (business in China, the Chinese legal system, health and health care in China, etc.) and will include instruction on language skills useful in their specific internship placements.

Fellows conclude the program by preparing a 12-page written report on their internship experience. These reports will be assessed by Carolina faculty for a final grade on the internship experience. Students are also expected to participate in a public forum upon their return to UNC relating their internship experience.

Students receive 6 hours of graded UNC credit, HNRS 393, upon successful completion of the summer internship.