student hand practicing writing Chinese symbols

Intensive Chinese & Japanese Institutes

The nation’s premier intensive language program for students serious about Chinese and Japanese language proficiency.

In response to the pandemic of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), ALLEX Foundation has suspended the language immersion program. The Foundation is intent on prioritizing the health and safety of language students, faculty, teacher-trainees and the community. Inquiries may be addressed to the ALLEX Foundation.

About the Program

Washington University in St. Louis, in partnership with the ALLEX Foundation, is home to the nation’s premier intensive language program for students serious about Chinese and Japanese language proficiency. You will learn more than to speak Chinese or Japanese; you will learn to present yourself as an intelligent individual in Chinese or Japanese culture. In addition to speaking, listening, reading, and writing, you will develop an understanding of Chinese or Japanese interpersonal behavior and perform in a variety of social situations. Four units of credit.
  • Benefit from master professors from preeminent Asian language programs and native speakers from China, Taiwan, Korea, Macau, and Japan
  • Engage in frequent and meaningful cultural performance through small classes and a 2:1 teacher to student ratio
  • Attend two class sessions per day
  • Practice in one-on-one tutoring with native speakers
  • Focus on independent work three-four hours per day
  • Make friends with visiting international undergraduates
  • Reside on campus or commute - The choice is yours!
  • Participate in campus events with other WashU and international students
  • Discover the diversity of St. Louis from Chinese and Japanese gardens to theater, museums, dining, and festivals

Application Timeline

To join one of the language institutes, follow the details below.


To join one of the language institutes, request the Online Application from ALLEX Foundation using the link below to receive the application by email.

Learn More


ALLEX Foundation will determine your acceptance to a language institute as well as scholarship awards.


Once accepted, students will register online for courses (U38 199 51: ALLEX Beginning Chinese Program or U36 199 51: ALLEX Beginning Japanese Program).

Register Here

Reserve Housing

Students may opt to live in the Village House, a residential building on the Danforth WashU campus.

Take A Virtual Tour

Tuition & Fees

The full tuition for the 7-week course has not been determined. Generally, a $500 non-refundable deposit applicable to tuition is required within two weeks of acceptance to the program. Tuition scholarships for graduating high school seniors, college students, and college graduates are available based on both need and merit. Textbooks, room and board (if necessary), and other non-tuition expenses are not included in tuition.

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This course is open to current Washington University students, visiting undergraduate students from other U.S. universities, and professionals who are interested in beginning their study of Chinese or Japanese or whose previous language study has focused on reading and writing.

This course is appropriate for:

  • Students with no Chinese or Japanese background. The course will assume that you have no exposure to Chinese or Japanese language.
  • Students with one to two years of college or high school Chinese or Japanese in courses that focus on reading and writing. This course focuses on oral proficiency.

This course is not appropriate for:

  • Heritage speakers. Students who speak Chinese or Japanese at home will find this course too easy.
  • Students who would like to enter Washington University’s language sequences L04 Chinese 101D and 211, and L05 Japanese 103D and 213. Summer institute courses use syllabi and texts that are different from the WashU academic year sequences. Students will have to take a placement exam to enter the academic year WashU Chinese or Japanese courses after the summer program.

ALLEX Foundation

The Alliance for Language Learning and Educational Exchange (ALLEX Foundation) was founded in 1988 with the secondary mission to advance global understanding and intercultural exchange through education. ALLEX believes that learning a foreign language is the gateway to understanding and appreciating other cultures, and that training expert language teachers goes hand in hand with propagating foreign language study.

ALLEX is supported by the Chinese and Japanese Teacher Training Consortium, comprised of Washington University in St. Louis, Cornell University, Ohio State University, and Portland State University.

The ALLEX Foundation has had a profound effect on the quality and quantity of language programs in the U.S. ALLEX has trained over 800 teachers of Chinese and Japanese, established or enhanced more than 200 university-level East Asian Language programs, and graduated numerous trainees who have gone on to careers in academia.