In Beijing, non-intensive arts courses, lectures, trips and workshops on topics from calligraphy and history to jiaozi-making and rock music are here for the taking. An increasing number of organizations, including the following, will help expand your skills and horizons in Beijing. Also, the foreign student offices of all Beijing universities can help students find instructors of calligraphy, painting, tai chi and other disciplines.
Beijing International Society
This organization arranges various cultural activities and evening lectures by highly regarded scholars, journalists and artists. These are designed to help foreign residents learn more about Chinese art, religion, history and archeology. Typically, three to four events are organized per month. Become a member (RMB 250 per year; RMB 150 for students) to receive their monthly newsletter. Non-members can usually pay to attend specific events. www. bisociety.com
Chinese Culture Club Started in 2000, the CCC offers guided English tours, daytrips and weekend excursions. They also offer seminars and workshops on a variety of topics, such as film screenings, art and tai chi classes, and cooking. CCC also has a book club to discuss Chinese-themed literature. Sign up for their weekly online newsletter through the website to learn more about the CCC's events. Though non-members can attend most events, members enjoy discounts and can participate in exclusive outings. Kent Center, Anjialou, 29 Liangmaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District. (6432 9341) www.chinesecultureclub.org
Neighborhood Chinese Club Provides a series of interactive and educational cultural activities. Learn how to cook Chinese food, perform a tea ceremony, paint your face Peking Opera-style, play Chinese musical instruments or improve your ping-pong skills. Language courses also offered. Yearly membership is only RMB 50. (8450 1789) www.chineseneighbor com/activities.htm