Study Abroad China

Study Abroad Through Dragons-Naropa: China


Good for: Traditional Eastern Arts students, Environmental Studies students (i.e. the environmental impacts of a society in rapid economic growth), and those interested in studying Mandarin.  


Dragons' study abroad semester program in China does more than introduce the contemporary China; our semester program takes students 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. Students venture into remote areas where China is still dramatically underdeveloped. Students explore regions of extraordinary natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Cultural exploration is balanced with a strong language curriculum and a comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of modern Chinese history and economic development, society, and cultural tradition.

Kunming in the southeasfd the Tibetan Plateau is our home for six weeks of the Dragons semester abroad program. This "city of eternal spring," the capital of China's southwest Yunnan Province, is an ideal location from which students explore Han Chinese/minority relations, economic reforms and development, environmental concerns, and China's rich history. Through classes, lectures, discussions, and mentorships, students examine traditional Chinese approaches to healing, cooking, body discipline, art, and music-making. In Kunming, students live independently with Chinese host families, many of whom represent the "new class" within contemporary society.

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 to 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, Dragons' China semester abroad program offers an unparalleled comprehensive overview of today's China.

Course Descriptions

Naropa students may choose to do the program for 12-16 credits.

ANT 250B 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. Taught by instructors and guest lecturers, students engage local experts in discussion, including local professors, development workers, business professionals, health care practitioners, scholars and artists. Special guests enhance formal classes by guiding students in lessons in various Chinese arts and pastimes, such as calligraphy, martial arts, ink painting and culinary design. Each hands-on experience addresses the importance of these art forms in modern Chinese society. Lectures are supplemented with readings, films and field trip to schools, health clinics and local non-governmental organization (NGO) project sites. In addition, our travels in China take us to communities where these issues are vividly displayed, providing invaluable opportunities for study and reflection. Students are required to complete various writing assignments throughout the course and will prepare a final research paper on a social issue of their choice.
ANT 211B Contemplative Intercultural Development and Leadership
The process of understanding self in relation to others in our globalized world is essential in the 21st century. The purpose of this course is to carefully examine who we are through the experience of living, learning and engaging in the region. Through both guided and organic processes, students examine global citizenship, develop effective intercultural and interpersonal communication skills and explore the depths of their internal landscape in relationship to the outside world. From this wellspring of inner knowing, students discover their own authentic leadership capabilities and strengths as a responsible and curious citizen of the globe.
ISP 325B Independent Study Project
The Independent Study Project (ISP) offers each student the opportunity to conduct in-depth study on a subject of their choice. Students will be matched with two ISP Advisors; a program instructor who has experience and knowledge relevant to the student's ISP topic as well as a member of the local community with whom the student will study or apprentice. An ISP may involve either an academic focus of inquiry, or learning a skill which would require an apprenticeship.
Mandarin Language I, II, III - CHIN 150, 250, or 350
Students will participate in daily formal Mandarin lessons for approximately two hours per day while traveling and during extended home-stays with Chinese families. Classes focus on increasing vocabulary, improving grammar and pronunciation as well as learning to read and write Chinese characters. Additionally, students will be assigned customized language projects that will give them the opportunity to practice their language skills and develop the oral proficiency necessary to converse with native speakers. Experiential activities such as field trips to markets or temples and guided interaction with native speakers will supplement formal classroom instruction. There will be additional opportunities for supplementary one-on-one tutoring sessions with Dragons instructors or local teachers. Students interested in studying Chinese characters intensively may do so outside of class with instructor support.



Dates for Fall Semester: September 15–December 6 (Course work begins a month before departure and is done at home.)

Dates for Spring Semester: February 12–May 1 (Course work begins a month before departure and is done at home.)

COST FOR 2017-2018

Naropa Tuition*:   $15,500
Room & Board: $3,315
TOTAL: $19,125

*Tuition includes 12–16 credit hours plus in-country travel and excursions.

Additionally, you will be responsible for:

Airfare:  Approximately $1,700
Travel insurance: Approximately $465
Visa: $190
Books & supplies: Approximately $125
Immunizations: Varies
Personal expenses:  Varies


Study Abroad Scholarships

If a student chooses a Naropa Sponsored (Dragons) or Affiliated (SIT) programs, he/she may apply for one of Dragons', or SIT scholarships. In addition to those funds, students may apply for one or more of the other general/regional scholarships for Study Abroad.

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