Shadow Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners and work with health professionals in urban and rural communities.
Learn Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophies and obtain a certificate from Yunnan Provincial Chinese Medicine Hospital.
In lectures, you’ll learn the history of TCM and its philosophical foundation in Daoism; the concepts of yin and yang, the organs, and the meridians; and the basic underpinnings of many Eastern philosophies. You’ll study the pharmacopoeia of TCM herbal medicine. You’ll visit parks and gardens with a botanist to learn about healing plants and herbs, explore the hospital’s TCM pharmacy, and see a demonstration of medicine making. At the end of the summer, you’ll have a Traditional Chinese Medicine Course Completion certificate from Yunnan Provincial Chinese Medicine Hospital.
Practice traditional Chinese healing methods.
You will observe medical professionals performing techniques such as acupuncture, Tuina massage, moxibustion, and cupping and then, under their guidance, practice these techniques yourself. You’ll also learn Qigong, medicinal food, medicinal tea making, foot massage, hot spring therapy, music therapy, and the Five Animal Movements.
You’ll also learn 24-form Taiji through daily Taiji exercises.
Shadow Chinese medical doctors, and staff in community and clinical settings and compare western and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Yunnan Provincial Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital’s doctors and nurses provide instruction, and the hospital’s facilities are available for use. Many of the doctors affiliated with the program have certification in both Western medicine and TCM. You will share in many spirited, insightful, and often surprising discussions on the appropriate use of one treatment over another.
Observe indigenous and minority healing systems on multiple field excursions.
You’ll travel to the Daoist mountain Weibaoshan, the ancient city of Dali, the town Shaxi on the ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Route, Lijiang World Heritage site, and Zhongdian Tibetan area. In these locations, you'll learn about the unique qualities of indigenous ethnic minority healing systems, including Bai traditional herbal medicine, Naxi Dongba shamanism, and Tibetan medicine as well as the vast differences in daily life, medical care, and medical practices in urban versus rural settings.
Earn two Chinese language credits.
The program’s highly skilled language instructors have completed ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview training and have obtained ACTFL OPI tester certificates.
Examine community health issues in China.
Learn about HIV/AIDS prevention, China’s reproductive policy, women’s and children’s healthcare, and the reform of China’s healthcare systems.
Live in beautiful Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province.
With some of the best air quality among cities in China, Kunming is home to spacious parks and green spaces that are well-loved by its friendly and ethnically diverse population. Kunming was recently named one of the world’s most biodiverse cities.
Critical Global Issue of Study
Previous college-level coursework or other significant preparation in the health sciences or a related field, as assessed by SIT.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- Critical issues such as HIV/AIDS, China’s reproductive policy, women’s and children’s healthcare, and the reform of China’s healthcare system
- Indigenous ethnic minority healing systems, including Bai traditional herbal medicine, Naxi Dongba shamanism, and Tibetan medicine
- Traditional Chinese healing practices, including Taiji, Qigong therapy, Five Animal Movements, medicinal food therapy, tea therapy, foot massage therapy, hot spring therapy, and music therapy
- The pharmacopoeia of TCM herbal medicine and techniques of massage, acupuncture, moxibustion, and cupping
- Daoist philosophy and TCM theory/diagnosis
The Community Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine course introduces students to community health issues in Yunnan with major emphasis on the role of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China today. This includes the philosophy that lies behind the practice and an unparalleled opportunity to observe the various techniques associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine. These include herbal remedies, medicinal preparation, Chinese tuina massage, acupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion. Chinese language study provides a window into Chinese culture and the program’s theme.
The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
- Community Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine – syllabus
- (IPBH3000 / 6 credits / 90 hours)
- This course offers you a classroom-based introduction to the program theme as well as structured activities alongside professionals in Traditional Chinese Medicine, both in community and clinical settings.
- Beginning Chinese – syllabus
- (CHIN1002-1502 / 2 credits / 30 hours)
- Intermediate Chinese – syllabus
- (CHIN2002-2502 / 2 credits / 30 hours)
- Advanced Chinese – syllabus
- (CHIN3002-3502 / 2 credits / 30 hours)
- Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills, as well as reading and writing skills, through classroom and field instruction. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, you are placed in beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes. Language instructors have completed ACTFL OPI training and are certified in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. A variety of interactive communication-based language teaching techniques form the core of this course.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
The program is based in Kunming, Yunnan Province’s largest city and political, economic, and cultural center. Kunming is called “the City of Eternal Spring” and is famous in China for its nice climate, green environment, and good air quality.
Minority Areas in Yunnan
You will take one extended excursion, to Weibaoshan Daoist mountain, the ancient city of Dali, Shaxi town on the ancient tea and horse caravan route, the Lijiang World Heritage site, and Zhongdian (Shangri-La) Tibetan area. You will gain insight into minority culture, alternative health practices, and rural life. You will visit clinics, explore Bai herbal medicine, Tibetan Traditional Medicine, and Naxi Dongba traditions, and learn about the vast differences between urban and rural life.
The program includes many day trips around Kunming to deepen students’ understanding of Chinese health perception and practices.
Day trips near Kunming may include:
- A visit to a Buddhist/Daoist temple for an introduction to Daoist philosophy and its relationship with TCM.
- An introduction to and demonstration of TCM diagnoses at a traditional medical clinic
- A TCM herbal plant identification session
- An explanation of traditional medicinal food at a restaurant
- A visit to Kunming’s flower and bird market
- An introduction to and demonstration of traditional Chinese musical therapy at a cultural institute
- A visit to a foot massage clinic
SIT Study Abroad student describes traditional Chinese medicine program
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Lu Yuan, PhD, Academic Director
Yuan holds a PhD in international/Chinese studies from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, and a BA in Chinese literature and journalism from People’s University, Beijing. She taught Chinese at Banaras Hindu University in India as part of her MA degree from SIT Graduate Institute.
She worked for seven years as a journalist with Xinhua, the official news agency of China, and was editor of Chinese Journalist. Yuan was a Parvin Fellow on a journalism training program at the University of Hawai‘i. In addition to her visits to Tibet and minority regions of Mongolia, Ningxia, and Yunnan, she spent three years in Kathmandu, Nepal, where her husband, Sam, co-directed SIT’s Nepal program.
Lu Yuan has had a longstanding interest and passion for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) since her childhood. She has created a TCM related vocabulary sheet and a medical English-Chinese-Pinyin dictionary for students who are interested in learning China’s health issues and TCM knowledge.
As academic director, Yuan has overseen the semester SIT China program since its 1994 beginning. She lectures, advises students, coordinates seminars, and plans excursions. She is a certified ACTFL OPI tester and has been academic director for Community Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine since its inception in summer 2004.
Wen Zengzhe, Program Coordinator
Zengzhe has been the program coordinator since 2004. He was born in Beijing and in 1983 graduated from Kunming Medical College, where he was trained in Western medicine with a specialization in anesthesiology. He completed his Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) training at the Yunnan Traditional Medical College in 1989. Zengzhe has practiced TCM for over twenty years and anesthesiology at Yunnan Provincial Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital starting in 1983. From 1994 to 2003, he was director of anesthesiology. He is an associate professor at the Traditional Chinese Medicine University of Yunnan and directs C-Bridge Consultancy Co. Ltd. of Kunming, which promotes cross-cultural exchange on medical issues and development between China, other countries, and NGOs.
Zhao Jie, Language Instructor and Program Assistant
Jie was born in Shanghai and raised in Kunming. He received a bachelor of science from Yunnan University in 2003 and a master of science from Yunnan University in 2006. Fluent in Chinese and English, he has conducted research and published extensively in paleontology. He has directed projects with the University of Leicester (UK) and the Natural History Museum of Sweden. He has taught Chinese language at Yunnan Normal University and Yunnan Nationalities University since 2001 and has been language teacher and program assistant for SIT China since 2002. Jie is a certified ACTFL OPI tester.
Zhou Yan, Student Affairs Coordinator
Of Yi nationality, Yan was born in Yun County, Yunnan Province. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from the Xian Foreign Languages Institute, one of the most well-known schools in China, in 2008. Following graduation, she returned to Yunnan and joined SIT’s staff. She has been student affairs coordinator since 2008. Yan is a certified ACTFL OPI tester.
Xiao Huaguo, Language Instructor and Field Trip Coordinator
Born and raised in Hubei Province, Huaguo received a bachelor’s degree in English from Yangtze University in 2004. He earned a Certificate of English Proficiency in 2003 and a Certificate of Accreditation in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language in 2010. In 2015, he obtained certification as an ACTFL OPI tester. Huaguo taught English at Yunnan New World Foreign Language School from 2005 to 2008. He also taught English at Yunnan Art Institute from 2008 to 2009. In 2009, Huaguo taught Chinese to foreigners at Kunming Dongfang Language School. He has taught for SIT since 2009.
Luo Xiaolei, Language Program Coordinator
Born and raised in Kunming, Xiaolei received a bachelor’s degree in English from Yunnan University in 1989. She worked as office staff and as a translator for the Foreign Affairs Office of Yunnan University and for companies in Zhuhai and Hong Kong from 1989 to 1997. She has been teaching Chinese to foreigners at Yunnan University, Yunnan Normal University, and Yunnan Minzu University since 2002 and has been teaching SIT students since 2003. Xiaolei has served as an SIT language program coordinator since the fall of 2007. Xiaolei is a certified ACTFL OPI tester.
Huang Suying, Language Instructor
Born and raised in Kunming, Suying received a bachelor’s degree in English from Yunnan University in 2001. She taught Chinese to foreign students and English to Chinese students at Yunnan Normal University from 2001 to 2008. Since 2008 she has taught SIT students on semester and summer programs. Suying obtained a Certificate of Mandarin Chinese Qualification in 2001 and a Certificate of Teaching Chinese as a Second Language in 2006. Suying is a certified ACTFL OPI tester.
Zhang Xian, MA, Language Instructor
Born and raised in Kunming, Xian received a bachelor’s degree in Chinese literature from Yunnan Normal University in 2006 and a master’s degree in Chinese linguistics from Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2015. She taught Chinese to high school students in Thailand from 2006 to 2007 and to foreign students at Yunnan Normal University from 2007 to 2008. Since 2008, she has taught SIT students on semester and summer programs. Xian is a certified ACTFL OPI tester.
Wang Juan, Language Instructor
Born and raised in Yunnan Province, Juan, of Hani nationality, received a bachelor’s degree in teaching Chinese as a second language from Beijing Language University in 2006. Juan taught Chinese at Tai Haad School in Thailand in 2005 and at Yunnan Normal University from 2006 to 2008. Since 2008, she has been teaching SIT students on both semester and summer programs. Juan obtained a Certificate of Mandarin Chinese Qualification and a Certificate of Professional Chinese Proficiency in 2004. Juan is a certified ACTFL OPI tester.
Duo Lin, MS, Senior Lecturer
Lin holds a master’s in sexually transmitted infections and HIV from University of London. Since 2002, he has been involved with research, public health, and health education related to HIV/AIDS, intravenous drug use, and sexual transmission of disease in Yunnan including among ethnic minorities and in those areas bordering Southeast Asian countries. He is currently the manager of the Yunnan Province HIV/AIDS Asia Regional Project, sponsored by the Australian government, and has participated in and managed other local and regional projects concerning the spread and control of HIV/AIDS. He has contributed to numerous publications and has served as a consultant and participant in national and international conferences on the subject. Since 2006, Duo Lin has been a senior lecturer and ISP advisor for the SIT China semester program and a senior lecturer with the SIT China summer program.
The program provided me with hands-on experience with medical technique and theory.
The program provided me with hands-on experience with medical technique and theory. I was also very surprised by the amount of Chinese language that I was able to learn in only six weeks. SIT provided me with the tools I need to make a difference globally.
While in Kunming, you will stay in a comfortable hotel just a few minutes’ walk from the Yunnan Provincial Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, where most of your classes will take place. You will stay in two-person rooms with attached bathrooms. During excursions, you will stay in hotels and guesthouses in Dali, Lijiang, and Zhongdian (Shangri-la).
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers who instruct students in:
- Daoist roots of Traditional Chinese Medicine
- History of Chinese medicine
- Yin and yang and the five elements
- Causes of diseases and diagnostic techniques
- Channels and meridians, acupoints and acupressure theory, herbal medicine, tuina massage, acupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion
- Medicinal cooking
- Chinese healthcare reform
- HIV/AIDS work in Yunnan
- Healthcare for women and children
- Daily Taiji exercise
- Qigong therapy
- Five Animal Movements
- Tea therapy
- Chinese medicinal food therapy
- Chinese music therapy
- Hot spring therapy
- Foot massage therapy
- Bai herbal medicine
- Naxi Dongba healing system
- Tibetan medicine
- The relationship between Buddhism and health preservation
- Language instruction in Chinese
- All educational excursions to locations such as Dali, Lijiang, Zhongdian (Shangri-La), and surrounding villages
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
- Some language textbooks, reading materials, TCM teaching tools, and stationary supplies
- Transportation on group excursions
Room & Board: $2,054
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Kunming), on all excursions, and during the evaluation period
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered by SIT Study Abroad directly or through a stipend.
Estimated Additional Costs:
Airfare to Program Site
Airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Visa Expenses: $140
International Phone: Each student must bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.
In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.