Photo by Parker Pflaum, China Semester.

Study Abroad China

Mountains, Deserts & Megacities

A 15-Week College Study Abroad Program

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Duration
105 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

Jan 24 - May 9, 2019


Spring Availability

closed

Fall Dates

Aug 29 - Dec 12, 2019


Fall Availability

open

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

College students

Spring Begins In

9 Weeks

Fall Begins In

23 Weeks

Land Cost

$15,825


Kunming

Beijing

Xiahe

Xining

Qinghai

Jinghong

Program Overview

Engage in a semester abroad to EXPLORE THIS DYNAMIC AND EVER-CHANGING LANDSCAPE.


Dragons College Study Abroad semester in China does more than introduce the contemporary China that is seen in the country’s burgeoning cities. Our program takes us deep among this country’s various demographics, allowing us to learn across disparate landscapes. Strong language curriculum, intercultural learning, and a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary exploration of modern Chinese history and economic development, society, and cultural tradition are combined with travel and wilderness exploration opportunities around the country.

Located southeast of the Tibetan Plateau, Kunming serves as our home for a significant portion of the program. From this “city of eternal spring,” we engage in  academic learning during daily classes. While in Kunming, we live with Chinese host families, many of whom represent the “new class” within contemporary society. As a groups we will gather at the Dragons Program House daily  for Chinese language study and to participate in lectures given…

Dragons College Study Abroad semester in China does more than introduce the contemporary China that is seen in the country’s burgeoning cities. Our program takes us deep among this country’s various demographics, allowing us to learn across disparate landscapes. Strong language curriculum, intercultural learning, and a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary exploration of modern Chinese history and economic development, society, and cultural tradition are combined with travel and wilderness exploration opportunities around the country.

Located southeast of the Tibetan Plateau, Kunming serves as our home for a significant portion of the program. From this “city of eternal spring,” we engage in  academic learning during daily classes. While in Kunming, we live with Chinese host families, many of whom represent the “new class” within contemporary society. As a groups we will gather at the Dragons Program House daily  for Chinese language study and to participate in lectures given by visiting scholars.

In addition to our time in Kunming, the College Study Abroad semester includes more dynamic segments, with opportunities for deep exploration of China’s ethnic diversity, travel through some of China’s most striking natural landscapes and navigation of some of it’s biggest and fastest-growing cities. In this portion of the program, we stay connected to rural areas, both Han and ethnic minority-dominated, with visits to the lesser-traveled areas of western China. As we move through the country, we study minority relations, economic reforms and development, environmental concerns, and China’s rich history. In addition, we complete an in-depth exploration on a topic of our choice. This topic might be related to traditional Chinese approaches to healing, cooking, body discipline, art and music or a study of a social issue facing modern China.

With a broad curriculum and an itinerary designed to explore both thriving urban centers and rural villages, our China College Study Abroad semester offers an unparalleled exploration of local lifestyles, traditions, and philosophies in order to gain a comprehensive overview of today’s China.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Eligibility

Students who participate on a Dragons Study Abroad Program come from all different backgrounds, universities/colleges, and areas of interest. Eligible participants should have completed at least one semester of post-secondary study, be 18 years or older, have a minimum GPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), and be interested in taking part in an experiential semester abroad.  For more information please see our Frequently Asked Questions.


Costs

Tuition and Fees

Type                        Tuition/Fee
Tuition $12,300
Room & Board                   $3,525
TOTAL $15,825
Tuition and Fees Include:

  • 12-16 credits and other educational costs
  • All program-organized travel and excursions
  • Pre-departure preparation and in-country orientation
  • All accommodations and meals (excluding personal travel)
  • Supplementary lectures and special events

Note: Tuition and fees are based on current circumstances and are subject to change.

Personal Expenses (Estimated)

Expenses that are not accounted for in tuition and fees may include flight costs, personal local transportation, immunizations, academic books and supplies (e.g. for ISP), some meals, visa, ISOS evacuation insurance, medical insurance and expenses, and other personal expenses. Included below are some estimated personal expenses. Some expenses are discretionary and vary based on individual student preferences.

Personal Expense       Type
$800 Transcript Fee (School of Record Transcript)*
$465 ISOS Evacuation Insurance*
$50/month Medical Insurance*
$300 Academic Books and Supplies (Varies)
$1,100 Flight Cost (Varies)
$750 Personal Expenses (Varies)

*These expenses will be included on your Program Invoice and are not optional.

Scholarships

Dragons is committed to making College Study Abroad programs financially accessible through the offering of scholarships. For more information on scholarships, please visit our Scholarships page.


Faculty & Instructors

College Study Abroad Programs are staffed by both instructors and faculty. All share one similar quality: the desire to provide students with the most complete and exceptional educational experience possible.

Instructors are hired for their in-depth knowledge of a country’s customs and traditions. We strive to have a 4 to 1 student to instructor ratio. As a result, no other study abroad program approaches the level of personal attention and mentorship available on a Dragons program. Our instructors challenge students academically and physically, draw them into an unsurpassed community of curious peers, and carefully guide participants through experiences that enliven and inform academic pursuits.

College Study Abroad Programs are also staffed with faculty who teach for-credit college courses. These faculty are either Dragons instructors who are present throughout the term or a visiting faculty member who teaches intensive courses. Dragons faculty possess a rich blend of academic training, instructional experience, and field-based skills. Most of our faculty possess a PhD, or in some cases a MA combined with extensive experience – both practical and instructional. In addition to faculty, we also work with local experts such as experienced language teachers, Independent Study Project mentors, and local guest lecturers.

 

Academics

On this College Study Abroad program in China, students have the opportunity to enroll in 12-16 semester credits. This program offers four college-level courses (4 credits each). In addition to work done in the classroom, Dragons College Study Abroad semesters are designed to provide students with the experiential opportunities to develop language competence, regional knowledge, intercultural leadership abilities, and research skills.Naropa University Logo

Dragons has partnered with Naropa University to offer courses for credit which 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.

Course options include:

  • Regional Seminar – China in Transition (ASIA/GLOS 310; 4 credits) 
    (Asian Studies 310 / Global Studies 310; 4 credits) This course  provides students with a background in modern Chinese history, setting the stage for a grounded understanding of the myriad social issues that China faces today. Students begin their study in this course through an overview of the country’s cultural, social, and political background. Using lectures, readings, and discussion this course then surveys modern social issues and vulnerable populations in China such as education, public health, environment, civil society, economic development, gender, ethnic minorities, human rights, and popular culture. Opportunities are also provided for students to engage local experts in discussion through guest lecturers and field trips. Throughout the course, students analyze historical and current systems in modern China and develop a nuanced understanding of the multiple perspectives found throughout the country. In addition, program travels in China take students to communities which are engaged in addressing these issues, providing experiential opportunities for learning and growth.
  • Intercultural Communication (COMM 301; 4 credits) 
    (Communications 301; 4 credits) This course is designed to provide study abroad students with an in-depth understanding of essential intercultural communication theories as well as the key skills needed to apply theories in interactions with host country nationals. Throughout the course, students learn relevant concepts and terminology in order to develop skills to interpret and analyze their intercultural interactions. The first half of the course focuses on positivistic and interpretive frameworks of intercultural communication as well as self-reflexivity. The second half of the course focuses on critical intercultural communication scholarship and applications, challenging the student to question default thinking patterns and recognize nuances of human interaction. Course assignments, reflection, structured activities, and direct experience emphasize the development of further intercultural competence among students. Foundational courses in communication theory are recommended, but not required.
  • Independent Study Project (ISP): Methods and Application (ANTH/ISP 325; 4 credits) 
    (Anthropology 325 / Independent Study Project 325; 4 credits) This course is focused on providing students with a basic understanding of ethnographic research methods and skills, while also giving students the opportunity to develop specialized knowledge in a topic of study. During the first half of the course, a series of thematic seminars focus on research methodologies, the importance of ethics in research, best practices in working in cross-cultural partnerships in the host country, and skills training related to designing a study proposal. Students develop an understanding of how to refine research question(s), determine appropriate research and learning methods, and address ethical issues related to their projects. During the second half of this course, students use the plan outlined in their approved study proposal to carry out an individualized and in-depth study on a subject of their choice using primary sources. With the support of an academic advisor and/or a local mentor, students select a topic which relates to the program’s scope, design an approach to study this subject, and conduct an individual project. The chosen topic of independent study may involve either an academic inquiry or the learning of a traditional skill through an apprenticeship. Typical ISP projects include: in-depth study of calligraphy, martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, or the role of women in modern China.
  • Intercultural Development and Global Citizenship (GLOS 211; 4 credits) 
    (Global Studies 211; 4 credits) Drawing from culturally diverse models of leadership and epistemology, this course examines topics such as interpersonal and intercultural communication skills, leadership styles, contextualizes human development issues, ethnorelativism, and the roles and responsibilities of global citizenship. Through a variety of instructional methods, assignments, and experiential participation, students explore the factors which influence human relationships to self, community, society, and the natural world. This course is meant to engender students engaging with big questions of values, ethics, purpose and questions of engagement, contentment, and community and social organization.
  • Mandarin Language Study Level I, II & III (CHIN 150/250/350; 4 credits) 
    • CHIN 150: Mandarin I 
      (Chinese Language 150; 4 credits) This course introduces students to standard Mandarin Chinese language and is designed for students with no or minimal previous background in spoken or written Mandarin. Students in this course focus on learning essential vocabulary, practicing pronunciation, and understanding simple grammatical structures. This knowledge prepares students to effectively communicate in Mandarin on a limited range of topics related to everyday situations. Students practice listening and speaking in real-life situations, learn to read and write Chinese characters, and examine how culture and language interact in China. In-class activities and course assignments aim to assist students as they develop the oral proficiency and confidence necessary to initiate simple conversations. Out-of-classroom experiences such a field trips and guided interactions with native speakers supplement formal classroom instruction and provide ample opportunities for practical engagement. In addition, language skills gained in this course support students to deepen participation in other program and academic activities such as homestays and the Independent Study Project.
    • CHIN 250: Mandarin II 
      (Chinese Language 250; 4 credits) This course introduces students to more challenging standard Mandarin Chinese language material in order to establish a solid foundation for the use of the language. Students in this course focus on building on past language exposure to improve speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Students expand their oral expression abilities by increasing vocabulary, improving understanding of grammar concepts, strengthening pronunciation abilities, focusing on listening comprehension, and building on previously studied Chinese characters. This course introduces new language concepts to allow students to speak about topics pertaining to their daily lives and also focuses on deepening knowledge of Chinese culture and customs. By the end of the semester, students are expected to be able to engage in basic daily conversations, read simple texts, and write for daily needs. In-class activities and course assignments aim to assist students as they develop the ability to appropriately use language and improve proficiency. Out-of-classroom experiences such a field trips and guided interactions with native speakers supplement formal classroom instruction and provide ample opportunities for practical engagement. In addition, language skills gained in this course support students to deepen participation in other program and academic activities such as homestays and the Independent Study Project.
    • CHIN 350: Mandarin III 
      (Chinese Language 350; 4 credits) This course is designed to develop advanced skills in standard Mandarin Chinese language and is intended for students with extensive prior exposure to the language. This course focuses on consolidating linguistic knowledge and development of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Students in this course will develop advanced comprehension of and competence in using spoken Mandarin in a wide-variety of experiences. Grammatical functions will be reviewed and incorporated as they relate to particular communication needs. A mix of communicative and interactive methods are used to develop advanced proficiency and materials are drawn from a variety of media sources and texts. In addition, students develop their understanding of the relationship between the Chinese language and culture. By the end of the semester, students are expected to be able to express sophisticated and nuanced ideas both orally and in writing.  Out-of-classroom experiences such a field trips and guided interactions with native speakers supplement formal classroom instruction and provide ample opportunities for practical engagement. In addition, language skills gained in this course support students to deepen participation in other program and academic activities such as homestays and the Independent Study Project.

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Program Components

3/5
Comparative Religion

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

4/5
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: Regional Seminar

Delve into modern history, social history, and vulnerable populations in today's China. Specific topics such as, development of market economy, gender and race studies, civil society, and cultural and environmental preservation are also analyzed in this course.

4/5
Homestay

Participate in a 5 week urban homestay in Kunming and and additional rural homestays in areas such as the lesser-traveled western portion of China.

5/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Typical ISP projects include in-depth study of calligraphy, martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, or the role of women in modern China. This academic course also includes a semi-independent, two week period for students to deepen their Independent Study topic.

5/5
Language Study

Study the Mandarin Chinese language intensively while in an extended homestay environment. In addition to the 60 contact hours, students have additional opportunities for language immersion throughout the program.

2/5
Learning Service

Learn more about the communities we visit by engaging in a small volunteer project in cooperation with Yunnan or Sichuan-based NGOs.

2/5
Rugged Travel

Moderately rugged experiences include extended train and bus travel, village homestays, and limited camping.

2/5
Trekking

Trek in the foothills of Tibetan Plateau and other possible day hikes around the country. Explore the wilderness while travelling through rural areas of China.