Chinatown Citizenship

PBHA's Chinatown Citizenship program supports immigrants in Boston's Chinatown as they apply for U.S. citizenship.

Application Information:

To enroll in Chinatown Citizenship as a student or a volunteer, email

Student Director Contact Information:

Staff Contact Information:

Kerry McGowan


Fall 2021

Status: Active

We will continue online instruction this fall. You can teach Civics, English, or another topic of your choosing 2 hours every week to Chinese immigrants in the Greater Boston community for a total of 8 classes this semester. Chinese skills are not required (but encouraged) and teaching experience is not necessary – we will train you! You will be working with a close-knit group of tutors from Harvard, MIT, and Wellesley and joining a wonderful community of students. Fill out our interest form to RSVP for our Get-To-Know-CCIT event on 9/5 8pm ET and so we can be in touch about next steps!

PBHA’s Chinatown Citizenship is a naturalization assistance program serving Boston’s Chinatown community. Chinatown Citizenship promotes social and political empowerment for Chinatown immigrants by providing support throughout the naturalization process for U.S. citizenship. The program’s services include courses in U.S. history and government, mock interviews, translations, and resources such as practice audio CDs.


Chinatown Citizenship offers free, year-round courses. Tutors prepare students for the naturalization exam by teaching basic American history and government or practicing conversational skills for the oral interview. The program offers tiered levels of instruction.

Level I teaches the foundations of American history and basic concepts of American government, along with ESL training. It also encompasses basic conversation skills needed for the naturalization interview. Since students in this class level have limited or no previous exposure to the subject matter, Mandarin/Cantonese will be the primary medium of instruction.

Level II teaches all of the 100 questions on American history and government (10 of these will be asked on the actual exam). The content is similar to Level I, but classes are taught at a quicker pace and the emphasis is placed on drilling, and fine-tuning speaking and listening skills. Usage of Mandarin/Cantonese is less intensive than in Level I.

Level III begins preparing the students for the actual interview. Level III concentrates on the N-400 form as well as many of the questions that may be asked during the actual interview. Students are expected to have already mastered the basic 100 questions on American History and Civics. There will be very little use of Mandarin/Cantonese in Level III.

Level IV/Oral Interview is comprised of a series of mock interviews for the naturalization exam, which many students have pending; practice interviews are a major component of the course. Students practice writing and reading simple sentences in addition to drilling the material covered in previous levels. Students should be given every opportunity to practice English, and emphasis is placed on personalized instruction. Classes are primarily taught in English, but Mandarin/Cantonese is used for clarification.

Classes are held Saturday and Sunday afternoons on the Harvard campus. Terms run from September-December, February-April, and June-August.

For more information, visit the program website.

Learn More

  • Chinatown ESL


    PBHA’s Chinatown ESL program works with adult immigrants in Boston's Chinatown to develop English language proficiency.