China: Language, Cultures, and Ethnic Minorities
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The Yunnan Exploration Project gives students the opportunity to travel independently and develop skills that will be useful to them on their Independent Study Projects. Ruth Donaghey (Providence College) went on a guided trek into a rural area of China for her Yunnan Exploration Project in spring 2012. Read more about Ruth's experience.
Explore China’s national language, Mandarin (Putonghua), and extraordinary cultural diversity in Yunnan Province with the option to earn up to 10 language credits in Chinese.
Based in Kunming (Yunnan Province), this program examines the social, historical, and cultural factors shaping and sustaining China’s minority communities. Topics of study include:
- Traditional Chinese cultures and beliefs
- The growing gap between urban and rural life in China
- The impact of tourism on minority cultures
Students learn from leaders at academic institutions and nongovernmental organizations such as Yunnan Nationalities University, the Yunnan Arts Institute, The Yunnan Traditional Medicine Hospital, and the Lijiang Dongba Cultural Research Institute.
Yunnan Province serves as a hub of NGO activity in China allowing students to closely examine the evolution and modes of operation by which these organizations must work with the government in order to accomplish their objectives.
Intensive Mandarin Instruction
Students can rapidly advance their Mandarin through the program's intensive language component, which yields six academic credits. Interested students may also select to undertake an additional 60 hours of intensive Chinese in lieu of the traditional independent study project, granting them a total of ten language credits.
Excursions to Dali, Lijiang, and Zhongdian
Program excursions bring students into close engagement with local scholars, medical, and development professionals, as well as Daoist, Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian religious leaders. Learn more about the program’s excursions.
Living with host families—through the program’s two homestays—allows students to experience daily Chinese life in urban and rural settings.
Students discover China's rich multicultural history and gain broadened perspectives on the major issues and challenges confronting China today.
|“SIT not only introduced me to minority issues in China, minority craft, and thangka painting, but provided contacts and tools necessary to conduct independent field research and compile a successful Fulbright application.” Learn more.|
|Yunnan: The Cradle of Cultural Diversity
The China: Chinese Language, Cultures, and Ethnic Minorities program is based in southwest China's Yunnan Province, known for its exceptional cultural diversity and impressive natural beauty. Home to 25 of China's 55 officially recognized minority groups, the region's complexity challenges what many erroneously believe to be a monolithic culture. Sharing its border with Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar, Yunnan Province provides a rare glimpse into southwestern China, where South, Southeast, and East Asian cultures uniquely intersect. Yunnan's diverse topography ranges from snow-capped mountain ranges to semi-tropical rainforests and boasts more than 18,000 plant species. The region is home to an outstanding array of animals, including the Asian elephant and the protected Yunnan golden monkey.
Within this diversity, ethnic minorities, cultural organizations, government officials, and nongovernmental organizations work to maintain the culture and identity of many of China's most ancient and prominent minority nationalities.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: China, Kunming
Language Study: Chinese (Mandarin)
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