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Student Testimonials

See what some of our current and recent students have to say about the course.


"I had already had some experience with China before I joined AMES in October 2015. Particularly my gap year at a university in Hangzhou (which you definitely need to visit if you haven’t yet) had equipped me with a fairly broad knowledge of not only the Chinese language but also Chinese society, history, and politics. Knowing some things is often, though arguably not always, useful. But don’t worry if at this point you can’t memorise the dates of all dynasties or every 5-year plan since 1953. Rather than amassing facts, I recommend that you use the time between now and the potential start of your degree to explore a wide variety of material on or from China. See how you like Chinese silent films from the 1930s, Little Apple from the Chopstick Brothers, or calligraphy from the Song Dynasty. If you can, spend some time in China (there are lots of funding opportunities through various bodies of the Chinese government), or pay a visit to museums exhibiting communist propaganda posters from the Cultural Revolution or other forms of high art. The point is: find out whether you can develop an interest in some aspect of China and its tradition that can keep you motivated throughout four years of intensive study. You have already come to the conclusion that nothing is more fun than immersing yourself with ‘things Chinese’? Great! Then you have no excuse to not apply!"

                                                                                                                                                           Sarah Eisenacher (2017)


"I applied to study Chinese without any experience in the language, just French and Italian at A level and an interest in China. While some of my classmates had studied Chinese before (and if you have, go for it), most differences had evened out by end of first term. If like me you haven’t been able to study Chinese, Japanese, Arabic or Persian before, don’t worry. The course is designed for beginners and starting from scratch won’t hold you back."

Aron White (2013)


 "I don't remember exactly why I chose to study Chinese, but I like to tell people it's because I wanted to earwig at bus stops. The language is a fantastic challenge, but it's the way this is linked to history and culture which makes studying China quite so rewarding. AMES at Cambridge is a course that grounds you very thoroughly in every aspect of language, history and culture. To achieve this, the pace is intense from day one. I have mornings of classes and spend the afternoon reading, preparing or otherwise pouring over the many characters we are given to learn each week."

Greg McMillan (2013)


"The staff of the Department of East Asian Studies are inspiring and often very witty as well. Many of them are also well-known academics, so you're learning from some of the most knowledgeable people in the field. The faculty staff have always been very approachable and friendly in my experience, and none of us could have come so far without their help. I think it's also important to point out that the courses in the Department of East Asian Studies very much focus on independent learning, and what you do and how far you go is always up to you as a student."

Hugh Grigg (2013)