Semester in China

Basic information

  • Location: Beijing, China | Map
  • Department(s):
  • Dates: Fall, 2015
  • 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.

Beijing, China
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Beijing, China

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.

History
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.
Population
Approx. 14 million
Climate
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.

Academics

Calvin's China semester program partners with Beijing Normal University and the Beijing Center.

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.

Grades

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.

Course Fulfillments

STCH 203 and 204 each fulfill the Global & Historical Studies core requirement. STCH 210 fulfills the Cross-Cultural Engagement (CCE) core requirement.

Accommodations

You will live with another Calvin student in a westernized international dormitory at the Beijing Normal University.

Eligibility

You 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.

Cost

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.

Questions / contact

Wayne Ten Harmsel

Assistant Professor, Director of China Semester Program
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