Semester in China
- Location: Beijing, China | Map
- Dates: Fall, 2017
- Class requirement: Sophomore
- GPA requirement: 2.50+
- Cost: To be announced
For years, China was shrouded in mystery to westerners, but now this 1.3 billion person nation has opened itself up to the outside world. Spend a semester alongside expert professors and curious peers studying all things Chinese, both traditional and modern.
Calvin has its own semester-long program in China, offered every fall semester, that offers you the choice between a language-focus track or the language and culture track. Even without a background in Chinese, you'll have the time of your life getting to know this deep, ancient culture. You'll have everyday adventures in bustling Beijing looking for the best place to eat Chinese dumplings and visiting the city's National Library, sports facilities, parks and countless other important cultural sites. On the weekends and during special trips you'll travel to the outlying areas, walking on the Great Wall or trekking up China's most holy mountain, Taishan.
In northeast China, Beijing is the capital of a nation that covers 3.7 million square miles of land. With the Forbidden City at its core, Beijing expands outward in a structure of concentric ring roads. It is a destination known as much for its ancient sites as its modern cityscape.
- Things to do
Beijing is the political and cultural center of China. You will find ancient temples and palace complexes as well as skyscrapers and museums easily accessible via Beijing's public transportation system or by rental bike.
The program includes travel outside of Beijing to various cultural and historic sites every other weekend and a ten-day trip to Xi'an, Nanjing and Shanghai.
- Beijing was first populated over half a million years ago, but the first Chinese Emperor was crowned in 221 BC. In 1421 the third Ming Emperor, Yongle, established Beijing as the new capitol and created the Forbidden City, the grid system and many landmarks which are still there today. The late 19th and 20th centuries saw Beijing as the center of political turmoil and unrest, marked by fighting between China and foreign forces as well as between Chinese nationalists and communists. After the creation of the People's Republic of China, much of the city's traditional architecture was destroyed. Since then Beijing has gained economic strength, most notably demonstrated in their being awarded the 2008 summer Olympics.
- Approx. 14 million
Summer in Beijing is hot and humid, with most of the year's rainfall happening in July and August, and temperatures can exceed 104° F (40° C). Winter is cold and dry with occasional snow and can dip to -4° F (-20° C). Air pollution levels can also occasionally affect travel plans.
Program Profile: China
In most cases students adapt well to their circumstances, but it is helpful to know what to expect as you prepare for a specific experience. If you have specific questions about a program, we would encourage you to speak directly to your off-campus instructor or director or, feel free to stop by the OCP Office at any time.
Social Expectations: By their nature, semesters and interims off-campus are inherently social experiences. Heavy emphasis is usually put on building a strong sense of community within the group, which requires openness, sociability, and a collaborative spirit from everyone involved. Acknowledging that having a diversity of personalities makes a group stronger, it is expected that all participants willfully agree to be an active part of the social community of their interim or semester program.×
These experiences require no more physical exertion than being on Calvin’s Campus. You don’t have to worry about doing anything physically demanding unless you want to. No physical preparation is required to make the most of this experience.
Moderate physical activity is expected and an average level of fitness is required. You will be doing a great deal more walking then on campus, often over uneven surfaces and rough roads. Some physical preparation is recommended before departure to make the most of this experience.
Be prepared for some serious physical activity requiring an above average level of fitness. This will include a high level of walking over all kinds of terrain as well as other physical demands in all kinds of extreme temperatures. The fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy this experience as many activities will be challenging.×
English is the predominant language in course location.
Knowing another language is helpful to fulfill the goals of the course but English is also prevalent in course location.
HighKnowing another language is important to fulfill the goals of the course.×
Cultural Acclimation Difficulty
Western conveniences are prevalent. Host culture is very similar to traditions and culture of West Michigan.
Few western conveniences, the need for students to blend in with the surrounding culture is important. Host culture shares similarities and differences with the culture of West Michigan.
HighNo western conveniences, the need for students to acclimatize to local culture is readily apparent. Host culture is vastly different than West Michigan.×
Level of Cultural Interaction
Interaction with local culture is limited and very formal (e.g. through organized tours).
Intentional opportunities to interact with local peoples and culture.
Intensive immersion in local culture – host families, service-learning, etc.×
Safety & Security Considerations
Although no one can guarantee your safety or eliminate all risks from a study-abroad experience, Calvin College is committed to doing its utmost to provide secure environments in which you can live and learn. Our goal is to minimize risks and keep you aware of special situations as you make decisions about studying off-campus.
Safety concerns are similar to living on campus. Incidents can happen anywhere, but there are no indications that you are more at risk during this experience then you would be at home. You always need to continually be aware of what is going on around you and partner with your Calvin instructor or director to assure your safety while off-campus.
There are no specific safety concerns of the U.S. State Department for the areas where you will be studying. However, additional care must be taken to assure a safe and secure experience. You always need to continually be aware of what is going on around you and partner with your Calvin instructor or director to assure your safety while off-campus.
There are safety concerns you should be aware of as you commit to this trip. The U.S. State Department has issued a Travel alert or Warning for the area where you will be studying. You will need to partner with Calvin in addressing safety concerns and follow all safety guidelines for the experience.×
Remember, Calvin follows the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for all Calvin sponsored off-campus experiences.
Health concerns are similar to living on campus. Illnesses and accidents can happen anywhere, but there are no indications that you are more at risk during this experience then you would be at home. Health Care resources (clinics, medical personnel, etc.) are numerous and you would have easy access to medical care if needed. Some vaccinations will be required, but overall precautions are minimal.
In general, health concerns are slightly higher than living on campus. Typical travel illnesses (diarrhea, intestinal issues, etc.) are often experienced and appropriate health care is available but can be harder to access than on campus. Several vaccinations may be required and students must be diligent in taking precautions before and during the experience.
Health concerns are higher than living on campus. Typical travel illnesses (diarrhea, intestinal issues, etc.) are often experienced at some point. Plans to assure adequate health care are in place but health care facilities could be hard to access during the experience. There may be many vaccinations required for the experience and students must be diligent in taking precautions before and during the experience.×
Mental Health Considerations
Remember, the Broene Counseling Center cannot provide on-line or phone consultations with students.
Mental health resources are similar to living on the Calvin campus. Mental Health resources (clinics, counselors, etc.) are available and you would have access to these resources, if needed. It could be challenging to find the right resources on short notice and for a short period of time.
Mental health resources are present in various locations during the experience but maybe difficult to access for a variety of reasons.×
Group will be camping (living outdoors) at times during the trip.
Students will be staying with host families for parts or all of the experience.
Staying in College dorms, similar to Calvin. Roommates will be other Calvin students or other international students depending on your preference.
Dormitory style lodging, shared bathrooms.
Individual rooms (with roommates) and private baths.×
Cost of off-campus experiences vary as a result of a number of factors, including the number of students enrolled in the program. Amidst all these factors, the following categories could be helpful, but students are encouraged to check with instructors and directors on specific cost information.
$ Within $500 of tuition, room & board on campus
$$ Between $501 and $2,000 of tuition, room and board on campus
$$$ More than $2,000 over tuition, room and board on campus
$ Less than $2,500
$$ $2,501 to $3,800
Calvin offers two options for study in China:
The Language-Focus Track (15 credit hours)
- 12 credit hours of language study
- STCH 210: Emerging China
- 1 credit hour for participation in group excursions.
The Language and Culture Track (16 credit hours)
- 8 credit hours of language study
- STCH 203: Traditional Chinese Civilization
- STCH 204: Modern China
- STCH 210: Emerging China
If you have already taken HIST 245, 246 or 371, you may, with the permission of the director of Off-Campus Programs, substitute one course at the Beijing Center for STCH 203 or 204. Courses at the Beijing Center are offered in art, literature, business, media and government.
Learn more about direct-enroll transfer credits in academic services.
The grades from the culture courses courses will be factored into your GPA. The grade from your Chinese language course will be listed on your transcript but will not factor into your GPA.
STCH 203 and 204 each fulfill the Global & Historical Studies core requirement. STCH 210 fulfills the Cross-Cultural Engagement (CCE) core requirement.
AccommodationsYou will live with another Calvin student in a westernized international dormitory at the Beijing Normal University.
EligibilityYou must be of sophomore status and have 2.5 GPA or higher to study in China.
There is no prerequisite for the China semester program. Even though the great majority of students who participate in this program have already studied some Chinese language, a background in the Chinese language is not required. The semester program in Beijing averages 12 students each year, but can accommodate more than that number.
The final program cost is expected to be within $1000 of Calvin tuition and room and board on campus. More specific cost information will be sent with your acceptance letter. The final program cost is based on many factors and is not known exactly until the number of students in the group has been identified. The financial information page covers the details that go into the cost of the program and rough estimates for each. The cost for the China semester will include:
- Tuition and administrative fee
- Round trip airfare Grand Rapids/Beijing
- Housing (in a university dorm)
- Food allowance
- Program excursions
Additional expenses not included in the program fee: passport, visa, books,medical insurance (required), required immunizations, personal spending money and personal travel.
Click the Application link above to see more information and to submit an application to the Off-Campus Programs Office.
Guest students may apply for this program.
Questions / contact
- Course code: