Sino Language

FAQs

Join the camp to gain the first-hand Chinese language and cultural experience

Summer Camp FAQs

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General

1. Does SLG accept students from countries other than the U.S?
Yes. We do accept students from countries other than the U.S. In fact we have students from various part of the world, such as U.K., Germany, France, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Mongolia, South Africa, etc. The program fee does not include airfare, so it doesn't preset the country where the student departs from. Participants could join us in Beijing. We will keep close communication with the student in arranging picking up at the Beijing International Airport, or providing them with detailed school address and meet them at the school.
2. I have submitted the application online, but not yet mailed out the deposit, my photos and passport copy. Am I considered to have completed the application with SLG?
No. Without those items, the application is not complete, and will not be processed. In order to secure a seat in the program or take the advantage of the early application discount, we need to receive all items that are listed on the Application Form.
3. Which campus will be used for the camp in Beijing? What is the exact school address?
We are pleased to have the Central University for Nationalities (CUN) be our host campus again for the Beijing camp. The school is between the north 2nd ring road and the 3rd ring road in Haidian district. For more information about the school, please visit Camp Sites.
The official school address is
The Central University for Nationalities 27 Zhongguancun South Avenue, Haidian District
Beijing 100081, P.R.China
Enlarge the map on the right for the location of CUN campus.
4. What is the ratio of students/teachers?
The ratio is 10 to 1 or less for classroom instruction and 6 to 1 or less for after-class and weekend field trips. We do not only have teachers, but also have SLG China staff and a group of friendly bi-lingual counselors around to ensure students safety outside of classroom.
5. What does the program fee include? What does not?
The program fee includes 
Classroom instruction and academic counseling Textbooks, stationary and study materials Room
Three meals a day seven days a week with water and fruits daily Gift package (please refer Program) Welcome and farewell banquet
Comprehensive health and travel insurance Transportation to and from the airport, and on trip days All scheduled sightseeing and trips including transportation, admission fee, meals and lodging expenses
An official group photo and a souvenir DVD of camp life E-Camp service 2 free 1-on-1 online Chinese classes (live) and additional 10% off for package longer than 3m
The program fee does not include:
International air ticket to and from China, and airport tax Chinese visa application fee A fully refundable medical deposit $150 (Beijing program only)
Separate airport pickup/drop off $50 one-way per vehicle (1-2 passengers), $10 additional passenger Separate booking fee $20 per (airticket, hotel, transportation, etc.) Personal spending, e.g. souvenir and phone cards purchasing
6. Is there a lot of contact with native Chinese speaking students? Is there a mixed student body on school campus?
Yes. SLG participants will have a lot of chances interacting with Chinese students. Each participant will have a language buddy, a local student, throughout the camp. They will have language, culture exchange and sports activities with local students too. The group itself is very mixed as well since our participants come from various parts of the world. Moreover, there are groups of Japan, Korean, and Sweden students also studying Chinese on the same campus every summer. We have seen some long-lasting international relationships growing up there.
7. Who are the teachers? How are the local students being found? Is this going to be the same student at all time or different ones?
The teachers are credentialed in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. They are professional, active and enthusiastic about teaching. The local students - our students' language partners, are from the local schools. These students are at the same age as or a bit older than ours. They are recommended by their teachers and are based on good academic performance and moral character. They will not speak English with our students. Whether it is the same students or different ones is all up to the students. If they become buddies, they certainly can be together at all times.
8. We will go China by ourselves and join SLG in China. Who should I contact once we are there?
Please contact us at info@sinolanguage.org if you do so. We will provide you the contact in China.
9. If a student only goes for 2 weeks in the 3-week program, will that student still get a certificate of recognition?
Yes, every student will get a certificate indicating the place, the school and the time horizon they have participated in this language camp.
10. Where can I find program price? Date? Host school information?
You can find almost all the information about our program on Program page. Clicking on the session code will give you the daily schedule and itinerary of the program.
Price and application information can be found at Application page.
For school information and photos, click on Camp Sites.
If you have any difficulties in finding a piece of information, please let us know. We will be happy to guide you through the website.
11. Can students go out to shop in Beijing? Will somebody take them?
Yes, they will have chances go out shopping either on their own (in group of 3 AND age 14 or older AND with approval) or with one of our student directors depending on the students' age, where and how far they want to go. If not with our student director, we will provide them with maps and transportation information, etc. To make sure their safety, we have certain policy for them to follow. These policies will be announced during the orientation and enforced during the camp. Very popular while inexpensive shopping areas in Beijing include: HongQiao Pearl market, XiuShui Street (Silk Market), and SanLiTun YaShow market, etc.
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For Parents

1.I will accompany my child to join one of SLG programs. Do I need to submit an application and deposit for myself?
Yes. Since you will live and dine in the camp, and take part in activities that the program organizes, you are considered a participant too. Every participant needs to submit a deposit to reserve a seat in the program. A deposit is counted as part of the overall program fee.
2.I'm an accompanying father. It's a good chance for me to learn some Chinese too. Are there any short term programs available for adults?
Yes, there are plenty of summer Chinese programs available for adults. They are usually offered by university. However the date and length are unlikely to match our camp. Thus a more flexible and effective way of learning Chinese is to take 1-on-1 class that fits on your schedule and targets on your needs. If you are interested in getting the details, please email us at info@sinolanguage.org.
3. I understand I can participate in all activities of the program. But can I also take part in some of the classes?
Yes, you can. Please notify us in advance in order to arrange for seats. There is a small fee depending on what the classes are.
4. I plan to accompany my son to Beijing for several days. But I'm not sure the exact number of days yet. How much should I pay?
Please do a rough estimation for the number of days you plan to stay and pay it proportionally. In normal situations, you may stay shorter or longer than your estimated time. We will refund any overpayment or request a supplemental payment for any deficiency. We will notice you in advance if the situation doesn't allow that.
5.Can relatives/friends visit student at the school? Can student go out with relatives during camp session?
Yes. Friends or relatives are welcome to visit our students at the camp. Yet, they need to wait until a particular class is over. They can stay for lunch, or even join the field trips with the student with a small fee. Students can leave the camp with their relatives, but they should always notify us and get approved before they leave the camp, and notify us when coming back.
6.My son has visited the Great Wall last year when we visited China. Can he choose not to participate in the field trips that he has gone before? If he can, what he could do during the time frame?
Yes. He has the choice of not participating any of the scheduled activities. SLG has provided extra Chinese tutoring, Chinese arts, and sports classes to help students filly utilize their time in China while not repeating the same activities. For more details, please check what we call Specialty Options.
More activities such as home-stay with a Beijing family can also be arranged. Please notify us in advance for such request.
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Accommodations

1. What does the dormitory room provide? What does not?
There are two types of rooms in our camp: double-occupancy (accommodates 2) and apartment type (accommodates 3). All rooms are air conditioned. Each room is equipped with a TV, calling card operated phone, closet, single bed with bedding, desks, chairs, lamps, a hot water boiler, and a bathroom with a hot-water shower, flush toilet and sink. The apartment-type unit even equips with refrigerator and washing machine inside the apartment. Please bring your own towels, toothbrush, cups, shampoo. conditioner, lotion and slippers. You could buy them in China at a cheaper price as well.
2. Can a student receive and make calls from the dorm and how to do it?
Yes. Each dorm room is equipped with a calling card operated telephone that can make and receive both local and international phone calls directly. To call out: Students need to buy a calling card at the school. They are sold at the dormitories for RMB30 each. Follow the instruction on the card you will be able to make calls out. To call in: To access the dorm phone from outside of China, parents should dial 0118610, followed by the room phone number (Students will know their room phone numbers after arrival). Family and friends in the States can buy very affordable phone cards through online stores such as www.onesuite.com , www.phonecardsonsale.com , or www.cybercalling.com. It usually costs only 1.8-2.4 cents per minute to call China and the voice quality is quite good.
3. Is the Internet connection available in the dorm room?
Yes. The dorm rooms of CUN provide high speed cable Internet. Students who bring their own computers can connect to the Internet conveniently after a simple setup. It is the student's responsibility for the costs of using the Internet at their own rooms. It is RMB120 (US$15) every 80 hours. To access the Internet for free, you could utilize the scheduled Online hours. There are 1-2 hour free Internet hours at the computer lab every other day. Please check your session schedule.
4. Is there a special connector for the wall outlet? Should students buy it in Beijing?
To use the wall outlet in China, you need a power converter to transform from 220V AC in China to your own electronic appliance which uses 110V as US's standard. Bring one if you can. There are many local or online stores that have such converters available, such as this one. Please read Travel Info for more traveling-related information.
5. How to do laundry at the dormitory?
The dormitories have self-service laundry machines. Laundry store is available on-campus. Students can do laundry themselves or drop the clothes to the service people for a small fee and pickup in one day.
6. Can students go swimming in the afternoon?
If you are a big fun of swimming and very good at it, you may swim at early mornings before the class or at any of the free time. A big and very nice swimming pool with lifeguard is outside of school campus. Students who want to learn swim may signup a swimming course which provides professional coach. We don't recommend students who are not professional swimmers go there on their own.
7. Can student get snacks in the dormitory?
Yes. Campus grocery store and vending machine sell snacks and soft drinks.
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International Travel

1. We live in the east coast. Is it necessary for my son to fly to San Francisco to join SLG travel group there?
It usually is more expensive to book a round-trip flights from east coast to San Francisco and have him join the escorted travel group than to book the whole route from the east coast to Beijing directly. Therefore, as long as your son could take care of himself on the plane, it is not necessary to join us in SFO. You just need to notify us his flight number and time in advance. We will pick him up at the Beijing airport. You may also utilize airline's Unaccompanied Minor Service when your kid flies alone. SLG will assist you with the necessary document.
2. How and where should a student meet the group in the San Francisco International Airport?
Please read carefully our Pre-departure Information Package that are sent to student one-month before departure. It covers a section of How and where to meet us in the San Francisco Int'l Airport.
3. If I could not find the flight arriving in Beijing on the starting date, is that a problem?
Due to the increasingly hard-to-purchase air tickets to China every summer, it's possible that you could not find flight arriving exactly on the program starting date and leaving on the ending date. Don't worry if it happens. You can arrive 1 or 2 days earlier or leave later. We guarantee to pick up all participants no matter which day and what time they arrive, and send them to the airport on their returning flight dates. We will arrange their accommodations for the extra days too, on their own expenses.
4. I'm going to China myself. How and where to meet SLG staff at the Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) once I arrive?
Please read very carefully our Pre-departure Information Package that will be sent to student one-month before departure. It covers a section about where to meet SLG staff at the PEK. We will meet you at the greeting area inside of the airport. After you pick up baggage, go through the Chinese customs, you will walk toward the exit. You will easily find SLG staff who are in our eye-catching T-shirt, holding a camp flag with our logo in the greeting area. In case you do not see the SLG logo, don't panic. Stay at where you come out, don't leave your baggage unattended, and look around for our logo. If you are sure there is no SLG logo around, bring your baggage and find a pay phone in the airport, and call 1350-113-9470. You don't need to dial 8610 when you are in Beijing. You can also ask the airport staff for help.
5. What procedures am I expecting to go through at the Beijing Capital International Airport?
Please read very carefully our Pre-departure Information Package that will be sent to student one-month before departure. It covers a section about the landing procedures at the PEK airport. You need to go through health inspection, Chinese immigration, baggage claim, and Chinese custom before meeting with us.
6. Does SLG have group travel arrangement for every session and escort all groups?
In most cases we do arrange group travel for every session of our youth program and escort them. However, we will not be able to host a flight group for a session if there are less than 10 travelers, in the cases of the participants in that session are too geographically diversified, and if most of them arrange flights individually.

Air China non-stop round-trip economy-class group air ticket between San Francisco and Shanghai (Hangzhou program) or Beijing (Beijing program) is starting at $1550.00 (include tax & fuel surcharges). We have found in the recent years that group airfare is getting more expensive than individual fare because it guarantees spaces at a very early stage. Therefore we suggest participant books your airticket at an individual rate. You may book it yourself or via our airticket specialist Katie at (408) 886-0138. Book your trip early and save on airfare!

We will take Air China's CA986 from San Francisco to China, and CA985 back to San Francisco. The departure and return date are the dates of the program's starting and ending dates. E.g. for LCB121, our group flight departs on 6/17 (arrives in Beijing on 6/18), return on 7/04 (arrives in SFO on 7/04).

  • Airports used in the program and Code: SFO - San Francisco Intl Airport; PEK - Beijing Capital Intl Airport; PVG - Shanghai Pudong Intl Airport
  • Price includes taxes and fuel surcharges (Subject to possible increase or decrease depending on the level of charges subsequently imposed from airline/airport.)
  • Air China:
    - CA986 leaves SFO at 2:10 pm and arrives in Beijing at 5:50 pm next day. Passengers with a destination to Shanghai will clear Chinese immigration in Beijing, then continue fly to Shanghai from 8:15 pm to 10:25 pm.
    - CA985 will first take passengers from Shanghai at 11:30 am, arrive in Beijing at 1:45pm and clear Chinese immigration in Beijing. Then it will leave Beijing at 4:00 pm and arrives in SFO at 12:40 pm same day.

Notes about Group airticket:

  • The airfare we reserved is group fare. Group fare requires everybody goes and comes back on the same flight with the group together. Any discretion will cause disqualify for group rate, and individual booking is required.
  • The listed group fare can only be provided with a minimum of 10 travelers.
  • Group fare has no child rate.
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Visa

1. Who needs a Chinese visa? Can I obtain a visa at a Chinese airport?
Foreigners visiting China are required to hold a valid visa to enter the country. Please note that the airport authorities do not issue visas and that you will have to apply for a visa in advance.
2. What type of visa should I apply?

There are different types of visa. The one that our students and parents should apply is L type (tourist visa). A new visa policy in 2009 eliminates the difference of duration and the number of entries. All visas will be multiple entry, has 6 months validity since the day it is issued, and 12 months duration of stay.

A little about types of visa:

  • L Visa: Issued to an alien who comes to China for sightseeing, family visiting or other private purposes.
  • FVisa: Issued to an alien who is invited to China for a visit, an investigation, a lecture, to do business, scientific-technological and culture exchanges, short-term advanced studies or intern practice for a period of no more than six months.
  • XVisa: Issued to an alien who comes to China for study, advanced studies or intern practice for a period of more than six months
3. I'm planning to attend two sessions that last for a total of 60 days. What type of visa should I apply?
You should apply for L type still.
4. Do we need an invitation from the host school or your agency? If so, can you provide us one?
To apply visa in the U.S. you do not need an invitation from the school since you only need an L visa which does not require for an invitation. Other types of visa, such as F visa or X visa may need an invitation. We can issue you an invitation if the Chinese embassies and consulates in your country/region requires for it. Important: SLG can only provide you with a letter of invitation for the duration of your program.
5. When is the best time to apply the visa?
We suggest you to apply for the visa 1-2 months ahead of the intended date of your first entry into China, but no earlier than 3 months. Chinese visas will not be issued more than 90 days in advance of the scheduled entry date to China.
6. What should I do if I apply it myself?
You first need to know which P.R.C consulate office holds jurisdiction over the state that you are currently living. U.S. applicants: The P.R.C currently maintains one Embassy in Washington D.C., and 5 Consulates-Generals in the following U.S. cities: New York, NY; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Houston, TX. To see the Consular District map. E.g. It's the P.R.C consulate in New York that holds jurisdiction over the residence of Ohio. Click your state on the map, it will take you to the visa office where you should apply visa from, and check the requirements for L visa.

Note:

  • No appointment is needed.
  • The P.R.C consulates do not accept mail application. So you, or any other person you entrust must personally go to the consulate to apply.
  • The P.R.C consulates do not accept personal checks, no cash in some consulates neither. Visa and Master card, money order, or cashier's check, are acceptable.
  • Check payable to "Chinese Embassy" if apply at the Embassy in Washington D.C; check payment to "Chinese Consulate" if apply at one of the 5 consulates.

Visa Offices in the following countries

AUSTRALIA Chinese Embassy in Canberra
CANADA The P.R.C maintains one Embassy in Ottawa, and 3 Consulates-Generals in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Click here for the district of jurisdiction each office holds, the office address, phone and fax numbers, and hours.
FRANCE Chinese Embassy in Paris
GERMANY Chinese Embassy in Berlin
INDONESIA Chinese Embassy in Jakarta
JAPAN Chinese Embassy in Tokyo
SINGAPORE Chinese Embassy in Singapore
UNITED KINGDOM Chinese Embassy in London

If you need more information on Chinese visa, please email us at info@sinolanguage.org

7. The city I live does not have a P.R.C consulate. Is it possible for your agency to get our visas? What the cost is?

Yes. You can entrust us to handle your visa application. You need to mail us the followings:
--Your valid U.S. passport (original, do not send a copy). Non-US citizens must provide a copy of their Alien Registration Card (A.R.C.) or U.S. Visa and I-94.
--Visa application form (filled out, signed and dated)
--$160 visa application fee per person, make the check payable to Sino Language Gateway
--One 2"x2" passport photo taken within the last 6 months. It must be on photo paper and have a plain white background.
Please make sure your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the expiration date of the visa, and must have 2 blank visa pages.
8. How to fill out the application form? Any photo-taking requirement?

Download the instruction. See a pre-filled form: page1, page2, page 3 and page4. Check the photo-taking requirement.
Please note: The old version of Chinese visa application has stopped using since 7/01/2011.

9. I need to return to China for several weeks after the end of the program. Is it possible for me to get a double entry visa (L type)? If so, what is the fee?
Of course you can apply for double entry visa if you need. The fee charged by the Chinese Embassy or Consulate is a flat fee of $140 (U.S. citizen) regardless of the number of entries. Please add $20 to it if you need SLG to apply for you. The fee is to cover our costs on transportation, labor and mailing. Your check should be made payable to Sino Language.
10. How will Sino Language give us back our passport with visa?
We will mail it back to you via US Priority Mail with insurance. If you request for Express mail, FedEx or UPS service, $20 will be charged per package.
11. For visa application, only one photo is needed for one applicant, is that correct?
Correct.
12. Why do we pay to Sino Language, not Chinese Consulate, for our visa application fee?
The P.R.C consulate does not accept personal check. It only accept credit card, money order, cashier check or official check. Moreover, we will apply visas for other applicants as well, so we pay P.R.C consulate in one check.
13. Special notes about children with Chinese ancestry
Children aged 18 years old or younger with Chinese ancestry, regardless of current nationality and parent's current nationality, need to provide more documents if it is your first time to apply for a Chinese visa.
In addition to the items required in #37, the following documents are required too.
--The child's Birth certificate (original and photocopy)
--Passport or green card of one parent (original and photocopy)
If the child had applied a Chinese visa before, the old visa stamp (either at the current passport, or on an expired passport) must be provided instead of the above two documents.
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Trips within China

1. What transportation do the students take for their last-week trip?
Depends on the distance and availability, students will take either first-class or high-speed rail, or both. Train rides are arranged for all culture-enhancing trips. SLG arranges train trip on at least one route in each camp for several reasons: 1) Chinese trains are a safe, comfortable way to travel around China. 2) A Chinese train journey is an experience in itself. The fun and excitement it brings often let camp students turn a car into a party. 3) The train will across many important cities in China and its belonging provinces. It is an excellent opportunity to see with own eyes the various geographic features, customs, culture differences; and the long train trip allows students having direct contacts with Chinese people.
2. How long does it take on the way?
The Ministry of Communication of China has increased the train speed several times in the past 5 years. It takes 12 hours from Beijing to Xi'an, and 10 hours to Shanghai and Inner Mongolia respectively. Students will normally board on the train at evening time. After a fun evening and a good night of sleep, they will arrive the destination the next morning.
3. The train rides are long distance rides. Is it in the hard sleeping cabin or soft cabin? What is the difference?
Sino Language summer camp has upgraded to 1st-class soft-sleeper or high-speed rail for the train ride during the cultural-enhancing trips. First-class consists of soft sleepers or seats. Soft sleepers are spacious 4-berth compartments with two upper & two lower berths by night, converting to two sofas for daytime use. All necessary bedding is provided. There's a table with tablecloth, and usually a vacuum flask of hot water for making tea (or drinking chocolate or soups if you've brought some). The compartment door locks securely, and a smartly-dressed attendant looks after each car. The best is that the trains even feature individual TV screens and power sockets for laptops & mobiles. soft seats are equivalent to first & second class seats on a Boeing 747. Short distance daytime trains often only have soft seats and no soft sleepers.
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