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.
College Study Abroad semester in China does more than introduce the contemporary China that is seen in the country’s burgeoning cities. This program takes us deep among this country’s various demographics, allowing students 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,” students engage in academic learning during daily classes. While in Kunming, students live with Chinese host families, many of whom represent the “new class” within contemporary society. Students gather at the Dragons Program House for Chinese language study and to participate in lectures given by visiting scholars.
In addition to 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, students stay connected to rural areas, both Han and ethnic minority-dominated, with visits to the lesser-traveled areas of western China. As students move through the country, students study minority relations, economic reforms and development, environmental concerns, and China’s rich history. In addition, students complete an in-depth exploration on a topic of their 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.
Naropa students may choose to do the program for 12-16 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.
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.
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.
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.
Dates for Fall Semester: August 29 - December 12
Dates for Spring Semester: January 24 - May 9
|Room & Board*||$3,525|
*Tuition includes 12–16 credit hours plus in-country travel and excursions. *Room & Board is an estimate.
Additionally, you will be responsible for:
|Travel insurance:||Approximately $665|
|Books & supplies:||Approximately $100|
* Items listed above will be coordinated with Where There Be Dragons.
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.