Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU; Chinese: 北京语言文化大学; pinyin: Běijīng yǔyán wenhua dàxué), colloquially known in Chinese as yuyan xueyuan (pinyin: Beijing yuyan xueyuan), has the main aim of teaching the Chinese language and culture to foreign students. However, it also takes Chinese students specializing in foreign languages and other relevant subjects of humanities and social sciences, and trains teachers of Chinese as a foreign language. It used to be the only institute of this kind in China. After the push for massification of higher education starting in the 90's, nowadays many other universities in almost every major city in China have a similar offer. Thus bachelor, master or post-doc degrees in "Teaching Chinese to Foreigners", as well as bachelor and master degrees in several foreign languages are no longer only to be found at BLCU. Beijing Language and Culture University is often called "Little United Nations" in China because of its very large amount of international students from various countries.
Early in the 1950s when the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language (TCFL) was still at the initial stage, the first generation of BLCU teachers took an active part in the pioneering work. As a result, the first school of higher education specially oriented to foreign students, "Higher Preparatory School for Foreign Students", was established in June 1962. In 1964, the school was officially named "Beijing Language Institute" and later renamed as "Beijing Language and Culture University (北京语言文化大学）" in June, 1996, this was shortened to Beijing Language University (in Chinese) in July, 2002 with the approval of the Ministry of Education. September 6, 2002 witnessed the celebration of the 40th anniversary of BLCU, for which General-Secretary Jiang Zemin and Vice-Premier Li Lanqing wrote letters of congratulations, and the Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee Li Peng wrote words of encouragement.