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*Chinese Traditions and Global Integration

Beijing, China ; Chengdu, China ; Deyang, China ; Hangzhou, China ; Shanghai, China ; Xi'an, China

IntroductionAcademicsLocation Faculty Program Director CostsDatesApplication


The MU International Center, Chinese Studies Program and Honors College offer this summer study abroad program in China. MU professor Michael Volz will lead this five week, six credit hour program that is open to all MU and non-MU undergraduate students.

The program will focus on developments in China's international relations and the impact of modernization and integration into the world community on China's sense of national identity, the shape of Chinese culture and the lives of ordinary people. Students will discover traditional Chinese culture by visiting historically significant locations; engaging in classwork in areas such as Chinese calligraphy and Tai Chi; exploring urban and rural organizations including schools, factories, businesses and government organizations; and dialogue with locals who will present on the many facets of Chinese life. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to learn about China's approaches to alternative energies.



All students who join the program will be enrolled in two MU courses for a total of six credits. Students can choose one course from each group for which they would like to receive credit.

CHIN 3300H/GN_HON 3120: Chinese Traditions and Global Integration (3) focuses on the developments in China's international relations that have led to its growing influence in the world community and the impact of modernization and integration into the world community on China's sense of national identity, the shape of Chinese culture and the lives of ordinary people.

CHIN 2330/2100/3170 (3): CHIN 2330: Chinese Language and Culture is designed for students with no prior Chinese language study. The class includes information about the development of the Chinese language over time, the variety of dialects spoken in China and around the world and an exploration of the relationship between Chinese language and culture. It also includes some basic daily Chinese. CHIN 2100: Everyday Spoken Chinese, level one is for students with at least 12 credits of college-level Chinese. CHIN 3170: Everyday Spoken Chinese, level two is for students with at least 18 credits of college-level Chinese. Both classes will reinforce and extend students' abilities to use the Chinese language for spoken communication. Students will spend class time studying situation-specific Chinese, and will then be given opportunities to use what they have learned in real life situations.

Academic credit

All students will be enrolled in actual MU courses. All students are guaranteed to receive MU credit for successfully completed courses; however, students must work with their academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how courses might fulfill degree requirements.

MU students: Grades will calculate into students' MU GPAs and appear on students' MU transcripts when grades are recorded by the faculty program director. Students must work with their academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how the courses might fulfill degree requirements.

Non-MU/visiting students: Transcripts will be issued from MU and can be mailed to students' home universities. Students must work with their home universities to determine how credit from the program will transfer. The MU International Center will issue ONE transcript per student to one domestic address, as indicated on the student's Non-MU Student Application for Study Abroad. Additional MU transcripts for study abroad must be requested and purchased from the MU Registrar.


Host program

The MU International Center, Chinese Studies Program and Honors College sponsor this summer study abroad program.

Accommodations and meals

Students will be housed in three-star hotels in double rooms shared with another program participant. In Deyang, students may be housed in college dormitories or have the opportunity for a brief homestay with a Chinese family. Several group meals are included in the program cost.

Host city and surrounding areas

With its thousands of narrow alleys, Soviet-style monuments, massive underground bunkers, shimmering modern architecture and Olympic venues, Beijing is a constantly evolving city. Millions of visitors flock to Beijing every year to marvel at the city's imperial grandeur and experience its 3,000 year history first-hand. Other than being the capital city of the People's Republic of China, Beijing is also the country's political, economic, cultural, educational, trade and transportation hub. When visiting Beijing it is important to remember that despite the hustle and bustle of modern city life, many locals are happy to simply relax outside and play a game of chess with family and friends. Touring the Great Wall, which was constructed in the fifth century, is a must! Visitors are also encouraged to make time to visit the Forbidden City, which served as the home to emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Within the Forbidden City is the Palace Museum, which contains the world's most splendid collection of Chinese imperial art and artifacts. Museums, eateries, festivals, shopping, opera and theater about in Beijing, so take in as much of this great city as you can.

Chengdu is famous for a lot of things, but perhaps the most loved of all are the giant pandas whose natural habitats are found there. With more than 2,000 years of history, Chengdu has made a name for itself as a center for China's handicraft industry that is famous for its brocades and embroideries, as well as serving as a launching point of the Silk Road. Many artisans of the bronze culture got their start in Chengdu, and the first paper money was printed in this vibrant city. Rich in natural resources because of the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project in 256 B.C.E. and the city's location along the Min and Tue rivers, Chengdu offers acres of fertile land for farming. Visitors are encouraged to eat as much of the world-famous Chengdu cuisine as they can while in the area.

Established in 620 during the Tang Dynasty, Deyang is a tranquil city known for its scenic beauty. Life moves at a slower pace, and it is not uncommon to see locals taking a morning stroll along the river's edge. Deyang has seen a great deal of modernization in the last several decades, but there are still a few Westerners there. Visitors are encouraged to visit Mt. Yinghua, a mountain resort famous for its seas of clouds and fog. This areas is a must for those who enjoy watching the sun rise. While in Deyang, visitors should also visit the Confucius Temple and stone sculpture park that illustrate the city's rich culture.

Called "Heaven on Earth" by locals and visitors alike, Hangzhou is one of China's most important tourist locations. While basking in the natural splendor of West Lake, visitors are encouraged to visit Hangshou's scenic sites: Solitary Hill, the Tomb of General Yue Fei, Six Harmonies Pagoda and the Ling Yin Temple. Hangzhou is also home to two of China's national museums — the National Silk Museum and National Tea Museum. While Marco Polo may have enjoyed relaxing by the lake, modern-day visitors often enjoy wandering around historic Qing He Fang Street, where tea houses, pubs and shopping outlets abound with silks, teas, parasols and fans. One of the most popular aspects of Hangzhou is the cuisine, with its elaborate preparations and modern sensibilities. Specialties include Begga's chicken, Dongpo pork and West Lake fish in sweet and sour sauce.

Nestled on the estuary of the Yangtze River, Shanghai has quickly become a world-renowned metropolis and the economic, cultural and technological center of eastern China. Opened to foreign powers by the Treaty of Nanking in 1848, Shanghai blends traditional Chinese culture with Western trends in both architecture and fashion. The legacy of imperialism can still be seen in the British-, French-, American-, German- and Russian-style architecture dotted throughout the city. While Shanghai may be a fast-paced modern city with massive skyscrapers, it is still a city rich in culture that pays its respects to tradition. Shanghai is home to the Orient Pearl Tower — the highest observation tower in Asia — and the world's tallest hotel. Time Magazine once called Shanghai that "world's most happening city." There is little doubt why Shanghai has been the inspiration for many novels and films — there is something for every taste in this effervescent city.

Considered by many to be the "cradle of China," Xi'an is a city unlike any other in the world. Formerly known as Chang'an, the eternal city, Xi'an is one of the birthplaces of ancient Chinese civilization. Over the course of its more than 3,000 year history, Xi'an was home to 13 of China's ruling dynasties, including the Han, Sui and Tang. The Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty are still in Xi'an. The city's culture and architecture, shaped in large part to the city's role as the eastern terminal of the Silk Road, also sets it apart from the rest of China. Tourists and students can experience first-hand the influence of Buddhism with a visit to the Wild Goose Pagoda and see the mark Islam made on the city with a stop at the Great Mosque. Treasures of the Silk Road are on display at the Shaanxi History Museum and Famen Temple. While Xi'an may be best known for its Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an has something to suit everyone.


Students will travel with the group but they will have opportunities to explore some sites independently during their time abroad. Travel might include visits to:

  • The Great Wall
  • Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
  • Forbidden City
  • Baostell Company, Caterpillar Inc.

Tentative itinerary

  • May 26: Arrive in Shanghai
  • May 26–30: Shanghai (visit Oriental Pearl Tower, Jade Buddha Temple, City God Temple, Baosteel and/or Caterpillar Manager, Shanghai Museum)
  • May 30: Travel to Hangzhou
  • May 30–1: Hangzhou (visit Lingyin Temple, West Lake, and Tea Plantation)
  • June 1: Travel to Deyang
  • June 1–16: Deyang (visit Deyang Zhongheng heavy machinery factory, Confucian Temple and San Xing Dui Museum)
  • June 16: Travel to Chengdu
  • June 16–21: Chengdu (visit Sichuan Opera, Tu Fu's Thatched Cottage and Panda Research Station)
  • June 21: Overnight travel to Xi'an
  • June 22–26: Xi'an (visit Terra Cotta Soldiers, Great Mosque, Hui Minority Quarter, Wild Good Pagoda, Shaanxi Historical Museum, City Wall and migrant workers)
  • June 26: Overnight travel to Beijing
  • June 27–July 2: Beijing (visit Great Wall, Forbidden City, Olympic village,human resources consultant, Jesuit Observatory)
  • July 2: End of program

Faculty program director

University of Missouri faculty member Michael Volz, Chinese Studies Program, will accompany the students to China.

Faculty-led programs enrich the study abroad experience as well as the MU campus by providing students opportunities to study other cultures and disciplines in depth while gaining new perspectives on our own society. Faculty leaders serve as mentors, role-models and resources as students explore their host institution and country.

Michael Volz

Michael Volz is the Chinese program coordinator at MU and led the first group of students on this program in 2008.

Michael Volz

Since my first visit to China nearly 20 years ago in 1989, I have frequently returned to China for work, study or travel, and have continuously sought to deepen my understanding of the Chinese language and culture. My dual interests in Chinese language and culture and the pedagogy of language instruction were galvanized by the two years I spent as an English language instructor at a college in Sichuan Province, China, in the early 1990s. After earning a master's in second languages and cultures from the University of Minnesota, I taugh ESL in the U.S. for eight years, during which time I also made frequent trips to China, both as a teach and the director of an English language camp. A year after earning a master's in East Asian studies at Stanford with a focus on Chinese language, I accepted my current position at MU as Chinese program coordinator and instructor in fall 2006. I initiated the study abroad program in Sichuan, China, and took the first group of students there in summer 2008. This unique program stresses giving students opportunities to interact with Chinese people (including a homestay) and to practice Chinese in everyday situations.


Program Budget

Additional Expenses

In addition to the program costs paid to MU, you will have expenses associated with international travel and living abroad. The amounts listed are estimated costs based on current exchange rates and on the information provided to us by your host institution and past participants. Depending on your personal spending habits, you may spend more or less than the figures provided.

Please note that these expenses do not include vacation travel or sightseeing.

Financial Aid Information

If you are awarded financial aid for study abroad, it will be applied to your MU account according to the regular financial aid disbursement schedule. Reminder: You must be enrolled in study abroad and have completed the required financial aid forms for study abroad in order to be considered for aid.

Because non-resident tuition charges apply, MU students should be eligible to use non-resident scholarship towards the program costs.

Dates and Deadlines

Term Application Deadline Decision Date Program Start Program End

We anticipate this program will be offered again in Summer 2015.


We are delighted that you are applying to study abroad. This is the first step of your journey, and while there is a lot to do, it should not be overwhelming. Once you apply for the program, you will have an electronic checklist to help you through the process. In addition, our study abroad staff are available to answer your questions.

  1. Meet with the MU International Center study abroad adviser for your program or country of interest.
  2. If you are an MU Student, start an application in using the button below. Non-MU students should visit our page for Non-MU participants for more information about the application process. Please note:
    • Once you have started an application, you can login again using the myStudyAbroad button above.
    • By starting an application you will incur a $50 application fee, even if you do not complete your application.
  3. Complete your application. There will be several documents that need to be completed for the application. While specific requirements vary by program, a typical application consists of the following:
    • Material submissions - Printable forms which require the physical submission of materials.
    • Signature Documents - Items you may digitally sign (if you are over 18 years of age) to indicate your agreement and understanding.
    • Recommendation Forms - Recommendations may be submitted electronically by MU faculty and staff.
    • Application Questionnaires - Items that you complete and submit electronically online.
      • Application Certification/FERPA waiver
      • Essay
      • International Center Scholarship Application
      • Recommendation FERPA waiver

This program is not currently accepting applications.

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