China Semester

South of the Clouds

A 3-Month Gap Year Program

Enroll
Duration
80 Days
Description

Study Mandarin, trek on the Tibetan Plateau, delve into the complexities of the world’s most populous nation. Upcoming semesters and COVID-19.

*College Credit Available

Spring Dates

Feb 11 - May 1, 2022


Spring Availability

open

Fall Dates

Sep 15 - Dec 3, 2021


Fall Availability

open

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

17-22

Spring Begins In

39 Weeks

Fall Begins In

18 Weeks

Land Cost

$15,500


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,800

Beijing

Kunming

Chengdu

Xiahe

Xi'an

Program Overview

China. Few countries evoke the same curiosity and intense fascination.


Throughout its long history, China has inspired curiosity and fascination in travelers, seekers, merchants, and dreamers like few other places. Our semester in China does more than introduce the contemporary China that is seen in the country’s ever-expanding cities; we gain a firsthand understanding of the country’s diverse peoples and cultures, moving through lesser visited urban and rural landscapes. Immersive travel experiences are balanced with a strong language curriculum and a comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of modern Chinese history and economic development, society, and cultural traditions.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Travel across this vast country to booming cities and remote mountain areas
  • Focus on Mandarin language learning in 5 weeks of small-group language classes…

Throughout its long history, China has inspired curiosity and fascination in travelers, seekers, merchants, and dreamers like few other places. Our semester in China does more than introduce the contemporary China that is seen in the country’s ever-expanding cities; we gain a firsthand understanding of the country’s diverse peoples and cultures, moving through lesser visited urban and rural landscapes. Immersive travel experiences are balanced with a strong language curriculum and a comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of modern Chinese history and economic development, society, and cultural traditions.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Travel across this vast country to booming cities and remote mountain areas
  • Focus on Mandarin language learning in 5 weeks of small-group language classes while living with homestay families in Yunnan
  • Learn about China’s ethnic and cultural diversity, modern Chinese history, change and development

Kunming—located southeast of the Tibetan Plateau—is our home for five weeks of the program. This “city of eternal spring” is the capital of China’s Yunnan Province; an ideal location from which we explore ethnic diversity, environmental issues, and the dramatic changes that people in China have witnessed in recent decades. Through guest lectures, discussions, and mentored community engagement, we explore traditional Chinese approaches to healing, cooking, exercise, art, and music. While in Kunming, students live independently with homestay families, many of whom represent the “new middle class” in urban China today. At the Dragons Program House, we gather for language classes, work on Independent Study Projects (ISPs), hear from visiting scholars, and meet as a group to plan our adventures and investigations.

Building on all we’ve learned and experienced in Kunming, we begin five weeks of travel through China’s western corridor with unique itineraries each semester that may take us through Guizhou, Sichuan, Qinghai, Ningxia, or Gansu Provinces. With a broad curriculum and an itinerary designed to explore the variety this country has to offer, our semester program offers an unparalleled overview of China today.

 

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

For-Credit Course Option

In order to deepen your experience abroad, you may elect to enroll in college-level courses while participating on the China Gap semester program. Those who enroll in an optional course will be invoiced an additional $1,800 on top of the land cost, for up to 20 college credits. To learn more, click here.

Students who take courses for-credit will receive a transcript from our School of Records after successful completion of the program.

Academics

Through our School of Records, you may take the following courses for-college credit:

  • CHIN 150: Mandarin I, CHIN 250: Mandarin II, CHIN 350: Mandarin III
  • ANTH 299: People and Places – How Location Affects Culture
  • ESM 101: Environmental Sustainability
  • ESM 102: Global Perspectives
  • ESM 199: Climate Change and Its Impacts
  • GEOG 299: Geography of Global Issues
  • HIST 299: Colonialization and Western Influences
  • INTL 199: Globalization Awareness and Community Development
  • INTL 299: Leadership Across Borders
  • MGMT 299: Principles of Economics; International Economics
  • PHE 299: Healthcare Systems and the Affected
  • PHL 299: Introduction to Spiritual/ Religious Studies & Their Roles in Culture
  • PSY 299: Culture and Its Influence on the Ways People Operate
  • SOC 199: Self and Community – Culture, Cohort, and Self

See full Course Offering descriptions.

Program Components

3/5
Comparative Religion

Introduction to Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Confucianism, Marxism, Capitalism.

5/5
Development Studies

Minority issues and status, socio-economic issues, health, land-use and environment, tourism, human rights issues, cultural survival.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Ancient, imperial and modern history, political studies, social issues in modern China, development of market economy, gender and race studies, cultural and environmental preservation, Chinese philosophy.

5/5
Homestay

5-6 weeks of urban homestay in Kunming, one or two rural homestays in Yunnan, Qinghai or Sichuan villages.

3/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

ISPs facilitated throughout program: Traditional Chinese Medicine, calligraphy, ink painting, environmental issues, Tai Ji Quan (Tai chi)/martial arts, tea ceremony, ethnic minority studies, internships with local businesses, NGOs or English schools.

4/5
Language Study

Intensive daily Mandarin Chinese instruction, options for additional one-on-one tutoring sessions and opportunities for language immersion throughout.

2/5
Learning Service

Small volunteer project in cooperation with Yunnan or Sichuan-based NGOs.

3/5
Rugged Travel

Moderately rugged: extended train and bus travel, village home-stays, bike touring, limited camping.

2/5
Trekking

3 to 5-day trek in the mountains of western China, numerous day hikes and/or additional multi-day treks depending on student interest.