Penn Pals Mandarin Language Program

Penn Pals Mandarin Language Program is a novel 12-week language immersion initiative started to connect medical students from the Perelman School of Medicine with students from West China Hospital in Sichuan University. It has now expanded to include medical students and other healthcare professionals across the nation. This is an opportunity for students at Penn and elsewhere to practice their Mandarin with native speakers, while simultaneously allowing students from China to practice their English. Students can learn about each others’ experiences as healthcare students in another country, learn about different healthcare systems around the world, and develop a professional network outside of their country of residence.

How does it work?

Penn Pal pairs are expected to call once a week for 60 minutes (30 minutes for Mandarin and 30 minutes for English). This can be one 60-minute session or two 30-minute sessions. Contact can be made preferably via WeChat, although other platforms may work as well (e.g. Zoom, Skype, etc). Each group can schedule a time to meet according to the availability of the group members.

Our Penn Pals language immersion program runs for 12 weeks - students are expected to meet for 10 sessions during these 12 weeks. We have crafted a Medical Mandarin curriculum that students can follow during these 12 weeks with their Penn Pals partners. While Penn Pals cohorts run intermittently throughout the year, we have recordings of our Medical Mandarin lectures and powerpoint slides for students to refer to.

We ask that students participating in the Penn Pals program commit to the entire 12 week cohort session. Students are also welcome to keep in contact with their Penn Pals after the program is over. We encourage students to create a long-lasting friendship with their counterpart in China!



Please sign up here if you are interested in participating.


Our Next Cohort Group starts on March 15th, 2021.

Our summer cohort tentatively starts on July 1st, 2021.

Also feel free to join our Penn Pals Slack!

Medical Mandarin Curriculum/Resources

Please click here to access our Penn Pals/Medical Mandarin Class Curriculum for the 12 week program.


Medical Mandarin Resources:

About Penn PALS

Current Team:

David Mui - President, Penn MD/MBA MS3

Jason Xu - VP of Administrative Affairs,  Penn MD/PhD MS3

Elizabeth Li - VP of Marketing, Yale MS3

Yusha Sun - VP of Curriculum, Penn MD/PhD MS1


Want to Join Us?

Apply for one of our open positions below:

  • VP of External Relations
  • VP of Curriculum
  • Penn Pals Regional Ambassadors

Responsibilities for each position are listed here. If you are interested in one of the positions above, please apply here.

Don’t see a position that fits you? Email us and we’ll work with you to get you involved!