Intensive Chinese Language Study Program


This program provides students with an immersion setting at both micro and macro levels to study Chinese with a special focus on oral skills and cultural literacy. Students accepted in this program will spend four weeks at Shantou University and are expected to take full advantage of the Chinese language and cultural environment by engaging in the classroom and extra-curricular activities as well as in the off-campus excursions.

PDF icon 2019 ICL Student Guide



  • Students who meet the following criteria are invited to apply:
  • Have the minimum prerequisite of McGill’s EAST 230 (1st level Chinese) or equivalent
  • Are registered in the current academic year and continuing in the fall 2019 term in a Bachelor of Arts, Arts & Science, or Social Work degree
  • Have a minimum CGPA of 2.70 or greater

Program dates

Thursday, May 2 to Saturday, June 1, 2019, inclusive

About the program

  • An intensive 4-week Chinese language program with a focus on oral proficiency at Shantou University, Shantou, Guangdong Province, China
  • Around 20 students will be selected to participate
  • Extra-curricular activities as well as off-campus excursions are planned
  • Program covers return airfare from Montreal/Shantou, Shantou University tuition, registration and related fees, some living expenses and excursions while in Shantou, China
  • Upon successful completion, students are eligible for three (3) transfer credits in East Asian Chinese (level to be determined)
  • Passport must be valid at least until JANUARY 2020

Submit a complete package which includes:

  1. The Shantou University Chinese Intensive Language Online Application Form (CLOSED)
  2. Latest McGill transcript – to be uploaded within application form
  3. Recent Curriculum Vitae – to be uploaded within application form
  4. * Information page of your Valid Passport – to be uploaded within application form
  5. One (1) Reference Letter – from a McGill University professor or teaching assistant; must be mailed directly from your referee to shantou.arts [at] by the application deadline

Application period & deadline

DECEMBER 1, 2018 to JANUARY 28, 2019 (CLOSED)


Write to Katherine Kuang, Administrative Assistant, Li Ka Shing Initiative, at shantou.arts [at]


May 2018 recipients

The following 20 McGill Arts students went to Shantou University for the Chinese language program in May 2018: Morgane Gouilloud, Megan Krasnodembaski, Anthony Kuan, Gabriela McGuinty, Charles Sirisawat-Larouche, Sebastian Sorger, Stephanie Susinski, Melanie Vincelette-Bergeron, Kamryn Yuen, Juliette Graf, Mathilde Hourticq, Elsasoa Jousse, Marine Loison, Octavia Maes, Nitay Bar-El, Seung Gyu Kim, Hansol Park, Emily Chen, Zoe Countess, Finnley MacKillop.


Field Trip to Chaozhou City

“The highlights of the trip for me were the off-campus excursions. We were taken to Shantou, Chao Zhou, Xiamen, Gu Lang Yu, and Nan Ao. All these places were stunning and allowed me to explore more of China, be exposed to other dialects of Chinese, and be exposed to the diverse cultures across different places within China.” – Nitay Bar-el, BA, Economics, minor in Computer Science and Language and Literature.

“I think this program was valuable to me because I have gained some cultural fluency and it has helped my mandarin most by shortening the processing time most beginner language learners experience when trying to comprehend speech.” – Zoe Countess, BA, Linguistics and East Asian Studies.


Paper Cutting Art Activity

“I was not only striving for the betterment of my language skills but also for some form of cultural literacy: the interactive activities that we had each week introduced Chinese arts to us, the professors and a new Chinese friend made me taste local cuisine.” – Elsasoa Jousse, BA, English Literature, minor in East Asian Language and Literature.


“As a shyer person in general this trip I really wanted to go that extra step and really try to speak to native Chinese speakers as much as possible. As a result my fluency has definitely improved as well as my confidence in my Chinese, especially after the numerous proud moments where I successfully carried out full conversations in Chinese with locals.” – Megan Krasnodembski,BA, International Development, minor in Political Science and East Asian Language and Literature.

Interactive Activity – Introducing Canadian/McGill Culture to Shantou University

“I found that the program effectively combined effective linguistic training with rich cultural exposure. Weekly presentations by McGill and Shantou University students on various aspects of Chinese and Western life facilitated meaningful cultural exchanges and promoted a sense of cultural awareness among both students and faculty.” – Anthony Kuan, BA, History, minor in East Asian Language and Literature, and Political Science.

Field Trip to Shantou City

“I was able to also meet local people, mostly students, and form relationships with them. This is extremely valuable to me as it enabled me to form personal ties with this country thus giving me even more reasons to want to come back to China.” – Mathilde Hourticq, BA, Political Science, minor in East Asian Language and International Development Studies.

May 2017 recipients

The following 18 McGill Arts students went to Shantou University for the Chinese language program in May 2017: Oscar Beghin, Day Cottrell, Adrian D’Souza, Louise Efthimiou, Shinnel Ferary, Laura Gormley, Coco Jones, Tofunmi Kuti, Ryan London, Christopher MacDonald, Orla Magill, Natasha Ovchinnikova, Hair Parra Barrera, Laurel Stewart, Phillip Swart, Ece Taner, Kanako Watanabe, and Ashly Wei-Yun Yu.

May 2016 recipients

The following 19 McGill Arts students participated in May 2016’s edition of the program: Coralie Boulard, Jean-Félix Caron, David Caron, Sophia Davis, Gabriel Downs, Carlotta Esposito, Julia Faure, Emily Jane Ho-Tai, Sohee Kim, Svetlana Komarova, Naima Kraushaar-Friesen, Ester Lee, Jason Li, Capucine Lorber, Sophia Nicholson, Hae Lang Park, Melodie Theberge, Stephanie Wai, and Caroline Wesley.

A visit to the beach

"Some of my favorite times from the exchange were when we went out to eat with local people who would make us try new food or when we had paper cutting and calligraphy classes where we could create our own piece. It’s these small things which I think made this month unforgettable and worthwhile.” – Svetlana Komarova, BA, Anthropology and East Asian Studies

The countryside at Shantou

Nanao Island field trip

"Staying on the school campus along with thousands of local students, eating at the school cafeteria and taking classes in their classrooms were totally different experiences from taking a Mandarin class at McGill. As I was being exposed to situations where I needed to think spontaneously to talk to locals, I could practice my Chinese everywhere every day.” – Esther Chaelin Lee, BA, Economics and Hispanic Studies

End of program party

"Every [Shantou] student treated us like we were one of their peers, and had no trouble understanding and providing any help we would need in adjusting to the language and environment so different from our own. It is proven that being around native speakers is the most effective way to learn a language, and this trip is a testament to that!” – Carlotta Esposito, BA, East Asian Studies and Environment

May 2015 recipients

“My advice to next year’s students are to wake up early, explore the campus, the city and the surroundings, speak Chinese all the time – even with your Canadian friends – eat different food every day, make Chinese friends, do not be afraid of going to activities on your own.” – Alderic Leahy, BA&Sci, double major Biology and East Asian Studies

“For anybody who is open-minded, curious about the Chinese culture and interested in learning Mandarin [this] is an amazing experience.  The most wonderful gift you will come back with from [this] trip is a whole new confidence in using the language, which I believe nothing is worth as much.” – Sophie Gagnon-Sylvestre, BA, East Asian Studies and minor International Relations

“Learning a new language can be frustrating and tedious at times. Fortunately, both the teachers and tutors were encouraging, patient, outgoing and energetic. At times, they suggested going downtown together to guide and bring us to eat local dishes. During those outings the tutors would encourage us to speak Chinese and patiently explained anything we were curious about. Moreover, due to the class size, both teachers and tutors were capable of providing each student excellent, accurate and positive feedbacks.” – George Almyroudis, BA, International Development & East Asian Studies

“I would have to say that one of the highlights of this program was to participate in some of the university events. Shantou University was always full of events such as the art exhibition, the fashion show, basketball matches and the Chaozhou opera. It was really interesting to see these diverse performances by [the] students.” – So Hee Maeng, BA, double major Psychology and East Asian Studies

“What the experience in Shantou gave me was more than just classes: it was an opportunity to make local friends, practice Chinese in all sorts of settings, and to get a taste of local student life. During that month, I made some amazing friends, both from McGill and from Shantou University. I still keep in touch with two of my tutors, who are language buddies as well as good friends.”  – Marion Champoux-Pellegrin, BA, Political Science, IDS and minor in East Asian Languages

“This visit to China has left a very warm-hearted impression of the people there, as I made friends with a lot of students my age that all had very interesting experiences to share. For instance, my Chinese friend Becca … was a major in computer science but also in Shantou University's only Street Dance crew. On the last night of the trip, my classmate and I attended a dance recital in which we saw Becca perform and even went as far as to be the only ones in the auditorium with signs which read, "Becca is the boss" and "Let's Go!".” – Ben Percifield, BA, Economics with double minors East Asian Language and Cognitive Science