A bit Background
What is ISCBJ? It actually stands for International Students Center, Beijing. Anyway, long story short, the school no longer exists, then why doing this website? I worked at this school from the 2009 to 2011, it was a special experience. After I left, I created a facebook group called Learn Chinese. Funny thing was the Chinese government started to block facebook right after I joined facebook. At first I invited about 100 students I knew to join this group. But didn't really put much effort in it. The story could end there, because I stopped being a Chinese teacher or program coordinator since then. But every once in a while I started to think that I should do something for this group, but it has little to do with the truth that it became the largest Chinese learning group on facebook.
A fews year ago I bought the domain iscbj.com, which wasn't even the main domain for that school, it's actually used for customer service. The domain for the real website was parked with all sorts of ads, and I couldn't afford it. I did build a website, but didn't end very well.
So it's my second(or may be third) try. Why?
The thing with facebook is that it's not built for studying, and the newsfeed algorithm was for social purposes. Actually there's a plethora of courses posted in this , many of them are really good. But it's not easy to follow along and hard to navigate. Well, what about YouTube? YouTube's a good platform, but still no build for learning. It does have playlists, but that doesn't make much difference. For example, you won't be able to add custom PDFs, quizzes and other dedicated content for each lesson.
Didn't convince you? Sure forums and the like are like grandpa(no offence) to many of the Z-generation, even facebook is old-fashioned. It would be more fun with apps like Instagram, Tiktok etc. But with studying, there's just too much distraction. Maybe I still haven't convinced you, maybe I shouldn't have started this website, but it's worth a try.
I will take about 3 months to fill ISCBJ with courses posted in Learn Chinese group as well as other popular ones. The idea behind this is ISCBJ do not own any of these courses, for example the videos might be taken directly from YouTube(facebook video added as well), so that people may click back to follow the teacher, and the owner of the videos gets the data accumulated on YouTube as well. After I can invest more time to development, all the management of the course should go back to their owners and other new feature should be added.
For now, students may join a course, and take quizzes (if there's any) and be certified when they finish the course. And there's a Karma system, you may earn points during the study. Honestly I still haven't got the hang of it, but it's already there. Also documents would be attached to the videos, so that the students can get extra materials with regard to the very course.
No need to mention that forum would be the place to ask & answer questions. News and other text content related to Chinese learning will be added to the blog section.
I don't know where this is going, if things go smoothly, I might recruit some volunteers, and it would be operated as an NGO. Hopefully we'll get there.
ISCBJ is to become the one-stop Chinese learning platform.
There are so many free Chinese Mandarin courses out there, and lots of them are free. These teachers worked so hard to record video courses, and what I want to do is to find out the best ones and present the selections on this website. So that I can help to promote these lessons and students will benefit from it without getting lost among the ocean of learning materials. Teachers are not necessarily certificated, but that doesn't mean any Chinese can serve as a great teacher. Some of the teachers themselves have strong accents and might teach you something grammatically wrong, both are not be good for beginners.
Students may also have different purposes while learning, doing business, passing a test and earn credits... the learning routes for them will also differ.
Of course, courses alone won't be sufficient. We need to form a community and that, I'll leave it to you guys. But I shall provide necessary tools along the journey.
The good thing about me is that unlike many people who were blocked from the group, I'm not doing this as a business, so you won't find the platform too commercial.
ISC Beijing was a popular place near BLCU(Beijing Language and Culture University) campus, it was in partnership with BLCU and University of International Relations(hence the name UIR-CIE, CIE stands for Center for International Education), so that students can get study visa instead of tourist visa, which only allow them to stay for a short time.
Both the campus and accommodation were at a place called Erlizhuang. Firstly it helps oversea students to join language courses at BLCU, accommodate them as well as other foreigners. Later it developed its own curriculum and language & culture immersion programs. The benefit was the courses were flexible and only a few students in one class. Not everyone can study for a whole semester or even for a couple of years. And some students would just like to have intensive course, then they may join the one-on-one program.
It helped thousands of students to
Learn Chinese language
Get immersed in Chinese culture
Travel all over China with its Summer Camp program
Study Martial Arts
Learn Peking Opera
Study Chinese Cooking
Both ISC Beijing & UIR-CIE closed due to operational reason. But our journey to learning Chinese never stop, I hope we can turn ISCBJ into an online community together in order to help more students who are interested in Chinese language and Chinese culture.
The International Students’ Center (ISC) is an institution that serves all races with different cultures and ages wishing to study mandarin Chinese in Beijing, China. Having started with the Beijing Foreign Student Activities Center couple years ago, we have had considerable experience catering to foreign students needs. Today, the ISC offers more than just a place to call home in China. Our experienced, friendly English speaking staff are ready to answer all you questions by phone or by e-mail. We offer Packages at a very reasonable price for both language programs as well as cultural immersion with the locals. ISC has chosen best schools in Beijing and selected International-standard living facilities. No wonder students choose ISC as their "Home away from home".