Study Abroad China

South of the Clouds

A 3-Month Study Abroad Program

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Duration
83 Days
Description

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture and develop a broad understanding of the drivers and challenges confronting the world’s second largest economy.

Spring Dates

Feb 7 - May 1, 2018


Spring Availability

open

Fall Dates

Sep 15 - Dec 6, 2017


Fall Availability

open

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

College students

Spring Begins In

46 Weeks

Fall Begins In

25 Weeks

Land Cost

$14,325


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,750

Kunming

Beijing

Xi'an

Chengdu

Xiahe

Program Overview

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


With 5,000 years of history and an expansive tapestry of cultures, China generously presents our study abroad adventurers with a fascinating semester experience. Dragons’ Study Abroad semester in China does more than introduce the contemporary China that is seen in the country’s burgeoning cities; our course takes us deep among this country’s various faces and across disparate urban and rural landscapes. Exploring little-seen sides of this vast land, we challenge many preconceived Western notions about this country. We venture into remote areas where China is still dramatically underdeveloped. We explore regions of extraordinary natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Inventive travel experiences are balanced with a strong language curriculum and a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary exploration of Modern Chinese history and economic development, society, and cultural tradition.
Kunming – southeast of the Tibetan Plateau, within a few days’ reach of either Myanmar or Laos –…

With 5,000 years of history and an expansive tapestry of cultures, China generously presents our study abroad adventurers with a fascinating semester experience. Dragons’ Study Abroad semester in China does more than introduce the contemporary China that is seen in the country’s burgeoning cities; our course takes us deep among this country’s various faces and across disparate urban and rural landscapes. Exploring little-seen sides of this vast land, we challenge many preconceived Western notions about this country. We venture into remote areas where China is still dramatically underdeveloped. We explore regions of extraordinary natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Inventive travel experiences are balanced with a strong language curriculum and a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary exploration of Modern Chinese history and economic development, society, and cultural tradition.
Kunming – southeast of the Tibetan Plateau, within a few days’ reach of either Myanmar or Laos – is our home for six weeks of the program. In this “city of eternal spring,” we engage in more traditional academic learning, with daily classes and lectures from Dragons instructors, local professors, and community activists. We’ll study Han Chinese/minority relations, economic reforms and development, environmental concerns, and China’s rich history. In addition to lectures, our stay in Kunming features discussions and mentored community-engagement, exploring traditional Chinese approaches to healing, cooking, body discipline, art and music. In Kunming, students live independently with Chinese host families, many of whom represent the “new class” within contemporary society. At the Dragons Program House, we gather for Chinese language study, work on Independent Study Projects, hear from visiting scholars, and cook traditional meals with fresh foods purchased at the local market.
Two travel segments bookend our Kunming experience, with options to sink deep into Central Asian culture in China’s Northwestern Provinces, or traverse the dramatic valleys of the Hengduan Mountains in Northwestern Yunnan, or connect lost and forgotten Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries, or cross ancient stone bridges to link Southeastern villages. With a broad curriculum and an itinerary designed to explore both thriving urban centers and undeveloped villages, our China study abroad semester offers an unparalleled comprehensive overview of today’s China.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Student Profile

Naropa University LogoStudents on this program come from all different backgrounds, universities and areas of interest. You do not have to be currently enrolled in Naropa University to apply. If you are interested in taking our courses for credit, and you know that your university supports your participation in our program, please sign-up. For more information about transferring credits to your university please see our Frequently Asked Questions.


Accreditation Costs

There are 4 course options for credit. Each course is worth 4 credits. The cost per course is $1,200 in addition to the Dragons’ program price. Therefore a student wanting to participate for the maximum amount of course credit will receive 16 college credits and pay $4,800 in addition to the program cost.


Faculty

Members of Dragons’ Faculty possess a rich blend of academic training, unique life experience, and field-based teaching skills. Whether working for local and transnational NGOs, conducting primary field research in remote communities, or founding their own organization abroad, all share one similar quality: the desire to provide students with the most complete and exceptional educational experience possible. With a 4 to 1 student to faculty ratio, no other college semester abroad approaches the level of personal attention and mentorship available on a Dragons program. Our Faculty will challenge you academically and physically, draw you into an unsurpassed community of curious peers, and carefully guide you through transformative experiences that enliven and inform your academic career at your home institution. Please take the time to review our Faculty bios listed below.

College-Accredited Curriculum

This program is a college-accredited version of the China Gap Year Semester. On these programs, we often have both accredited and non-accredited students. Much of the curriculum is the same. Accredited students will spend more time in class and working on formal assignments, whereas non-accredited students may have more time for other independent study and personal exploration of Kunming.

Dragons has partnered with Naropa University to offer four interdisciplinary courses for credit that extend from our Core Curriculum. The college accredited courses we offer focus on building important skills, fostering a concern for global issues, expanding self-awareness and gaining an understanding of pertinent issues in each program area. Our approach is both experiential and conventional, using local resources, expert guest lecturers, excursions, pertinent readings, multi-media, and immersion to provide an intimate, well-rounded and powerful learning experience.

The course options are:

  • Regional Seminar – China in Transition – This course provides students with a solid background in modern Chinese history, setting the stage for a grounded understanding of the myriad social issues that China faces today. This course surveys issues related to education, public health, the environment, civil society, economic development, law, gender, ethnic minorities, human rights, and popular culture.
  • Contemplative Intercultural Development and Leadership – Students examine global citizenship, meet with heads of organizations, develop effective leadership skills in intercultural communication and explore the depths of their internal landscape in relationship to the outside world.
  • Independent Study Project – This course offers each student the opportunity to conduct in-depth study on a subject of his or her choice with the support of an academic advisor and a local mentor. Typical ISP projects include: research on water issues in Southwest China, the role of women in modern China, comparative medicine, or an intensive focus on the arts: calligraphy, martial arts, photography, for example.
  • Mandarin Level I,II & III Language Study – Students will participate in daily formal Mandarin lessons customized to challenge their current level of fluency for two hours per day on average while traveling and during extended home-stays with Chinese families. Classes focus on increasing vocabulary, improving grammar and pronunciation as well as developing their ability to read and write Chinese characters.
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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
Home Stay

5-6 weeks of urban home-stay in Kunming, one or two rural home-stays in Yunnan, Guizhou 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

5 to 7-day trek in foothills of Tibetan Plateau, 2-day Great Wall hiking and camping, options for numerous day hikes and/or additional multi-day treks depending on student interest.

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