Preparation: Applications, CUEP Info and More

I have one night left in the United States. A lot has led up to this… a lot. In this episode I show you how to pack like a pro, as well as some things you absolutely must bring to China with you. I also talk a bit about my plans to work and China and give some advice for gifts that you’ll want to bring with you on your trip.

In addition to this episode, I want to make a post today talking about the lessons I’ve learned regarding study abroad applications. I’m also going answer a couple questions I personally had about CUEP prior to applying; I’m sure someone in the future will be looking for the same answers.

Applying to Programs

The first lesson I learned is to apply to your program and for scholarships early.


  • Many scholarship application deadlines are actually long before program application deadlines. Don’t wait to be accepted to a program before applying. Honestly, just research these in tangent with your first inclination of studying abroad.
  • Most program applications require letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and a personal essay. Programs focusing on a language will definitely require some form of recommendation from your language teachers. Don’t put this stuff off, especially because recommendations have etiquette and expectations surrounding them.
  • I’ve been told study abroad programs often accept applicants on a rolling-basis. This means getting your application in earlier will give you a better chance at a spot in a program with limited space.

The second lesson I learned is to check if credits taken abroad in your program will count.

I was shocked to learn that the Asian Languages and Literatures minor at the University of Minnesota requires all classes to be taken in the United States. To be clear, this means students taking Chinese culture classes in the United States will receive credit for these classes towards the minor, but students who physically move to China and take the same classes abroad will not receive credit. If you can’t tell, I think this policy is pretty ridiculous. In my opinion, it undermines the purpose of such a minor. But hey, I just go here.

Notes on CUEP

If you’ve researched CUEP I assume you know this, but just in case you don’t, information about CUEP is found here. The information presented on that page will give you a general outline of the program.

Extra info and clarifications:

  • Historically, the program accepts one University of Minnesota student per year. Though it’s obvious in retrospect, during my initial research of the program I truly wasn’t sure how many students were accepted. The 2015-2016 school year (my year) is an exception to the rule. I am one of two CUEP students this year because the China Center was not able to send a student the year before and are thus compensating for that.
  • When I applied, the program fee was estimated at “about $7,000 per semester”. This is not a fee on top of University of Minnesota tuition. The way it works is pretty simple. You pay University of Minnesota tuition through OneStop (which is presently roughly $7,000 per semester hence the estimate) and that money is transferred to Peking University to pay for your tuition there including housing. As the site states, you will also “receive a monthly stipend”. For me that stipend is 1000RMB per month and according to my math that is about what would be left of that $7,000 after Peking’s tuition and housing is paid for.
  • You should know the Chinese Government Scholarship Exchange is a separate program from the Chinese University Exchange Program, but they share the same application form.
  • Your acceptance will come in two parts. First you will be nominated by the China Center for this program. That means the University of Minnesota has selected you, but Peking University still has to approve it. Next you’ll receive an official admittance from Peking University. After that, it’s official. I received my nomination from the China Center at the end of March and my official admittance letter the first week of June. Don’t let the small amount of students accepted to this program deter you. Most students apply to bigger programs through the Learning Abroad Center. This is mainly because of name recognition and I assume the fear students have of programs without a lot of hand-holding.

Other Things

  • Visa’s are acquired through agencies. I used G3 services for mine. Their application form was really easy and the only things you need to go out of your way to get is scans of you drivers license and passport, as well as a passport-style photo. You can get passport-style photos taken at CVS or Walgreens. If and when you do, I’d suggest getting at least four of them for future use once in China.
  • I discovered a phenomenal vlogger by the name of Serpentza on Youtube. His “China: How it is” series has really helped me gain some knowledge on what to expect.
  • Watch this video to see an amazing packing method that will help you bring all of your clothes.

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