China: Language, Cultures, and Ethnic Minorities


The interdisciplinary coursework in the China: Language, Cultures, and Ethnic Minorities program informs students on all aspects of life in China, including the environmental, health, and political spheres. Seminars conducted in both English and in translation include lectures by Chinese academics, researchers, development workers, and experts in the fields of history and religion, social issues, arts and the humanities, and minority issues. During the final month of the semester, students leverage their field study experience and research skills to complete their ISP.

The following course descriptions can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Learn more about credit transfer.

Chinese Culture and Ethnic Minorities Seminar - syllabus (PDF)
(ASIA 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
An interdisciplinary course conducted in English, with required readings, examining China’s cultural complexity and the key social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors shaping and sustaining China’s minority communities. Lecturers are drawn from institutions such as Yunnan Nationalities University, Yunnan University, Yunnan Normal University, NGOs in Yunnan, Yunnan Arts Institute, Yunnan Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, Kunming University of Science and Technology and the Lijiang Dongba Cultural Research Institute.

Field Methods and Ethics - syllabus (PDF)
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
A course in the concepts of learning across cultures and from field experience. Introduction to the Independent Study Project. Material includes cross-cultural adaptation and skills building; project selection and refinement; appropriate methodologies; field study ethics and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy; developing contacts and finding resources; developing skills in observation and interviewing; gathering, organizing, and communicating data; and maintaining a work journal.

Intensive Language Study: Beginning Chinese - syllabus (PDF)
(CHIN 1000–1500 / 6 credits / 90 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Intermediate Chinese - syllabus (PDF)
(CHIN 2000–2500 / 6 credits / 90 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Advanced Chinese - syllabus (PDF)
(CHIN 3000–3500 / 6 credits / 90 class hours)
Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills, as well as introductory reading skills, through classroom and field instruction. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students are placed in beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes. Language instructors are certified in teaching Chinese as a foreign language and use a variety of interactive communication-based language-teaching techniques. The program’s academic director and language faculty have completed ACTFL OPI training and are in the process of achieving ACTFL OPI Tester Certification.

Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Yunnan Province or in another approved location appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: Africa-China migrant communities, globalization, race, and identity; clean energy, coal, power, and politics; arts communities, urban villages, and gentrification in Beijing; HIV/AIDS in Yunnan Province; minority education; women and employment; The Burma Road and World War II in Yunnan; food culture in China; environmental conservation; growth and inequality in modern China; Yunnan and southeast Asia; social customs of minority groups; evolution of the free-market system; philosophy and practice of taiji; investigation of family and religious practices of the Hui; Dongba shamans; textiles and handicrafts of the Naxi and the Miao; the structure of the extended family in the context of family planning; domestic tourism and its impact on Dali and Lijiang; the role of civil society in environmental management; preservation and renewal of Tibetan arts; healthcare challenges in China; traditional Chinese painting, music, and medicine; Buddhist philosophy and practice.


Continued Intensive Language Study
Four (4) additional Chinese language credits are available during the Independent Study Project (ISP) period in lieu of the research-based ISP.

Students who select the intensive language option during the ISP period participate in intensive and often one-on-one language instruction and agree to abide by the Language Pledge. The foundation of our intensive language track, this pledge is a formal commitment to speak, listen, read, and write Chinese as the only means of communication for the last month of the program.

Intensive Language Study: Intermediate Chinese - syllabus coming soon
(CHIN 2004–2504 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Advanced Chinese - syllabus coming soon
(CHIN 3004–3504 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Guided Self-Instruction in Chinese - syllabus coming soon
(CHIN 4004–4504/ 4 credits / 60 class hours)

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Kunming

Language Study: Chinese

Prerequisites: None

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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