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China Study Group

Shanghai, Taiwan, Hong Kong
Director Fall 2016: Professor
John A. Crespi,
Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures

The China Study Group gives Colgate students, particularly those with majors or minors in Chinese or Asian Studies, the opportunity to improve proficiency in Chinese language while acquiring first-hand knowledge of cultural, social, economic, and political changes in modern China. Studying in Shanghai, with an extended field trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong, will give you a deep sense of the dynamism and diversity of Chinese culture, history, and society.

The study group is hosted in the vibrant, global city of Shanghai by CET Academic Programs at Donghua University’s downtown campus.

This study group has not been designated to satisfy the Core Global Engagements requirement. Students will need to meet the Global Engagement requirement by enrolling in a designated course offered on campus.

Program Prerequisites

Prerequisites include at least one year’s coursework or equivalent in Modern Standard Chinese as well as Core China or another background course on China as approved by the director.

Course Descriptions

The program equals one semester at Colgate. Students are expected to carry a four-course load, three credits of which (CHIN 481, CHIN 482, and one of the two Chinese language course credits) can count toward a Chinese or Asian Studies major. The following are required unless special arrangements are made in advance for independent study:

CHIN 481 China in Transition: Professor J. Crespi
This course focuses on topics central to the social, economic, and political transitions in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to topics that may range from family and social life to education, ethnic and geographic diversity, ecology, economic growth, political development, and international relations. Issues that are most important to present-day China and its emerging role in the world are explored through readings, videos, guest lectures, and discussions, supplemented by field trips to schools, farms, factories, and other sites. The goal is to arrive at understanding through both analysis and experience. Classes and related activities are held in Shanghai as well as during the extended field trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong. While in Shanghai, this class will devote one hour a week to a Chinese-language practicum related to intensive course-related cultural immersion activities.

CHIN 482 Topics in Chinese Culture: Professor J. Crespi
Drawing on literature, film, art, music, performance, and various forms of popular culture, this course explores the long tradition of Chinese culture as well as the personal experience of people living through the changes and continuities discussed in its companion course, China in Transition. It also focuses on the implications of tradition on China’s most pressing issues and their solutions. Guest lectures, readings and discussion are enriched by visits to museums and temples, attendance at performances, and face-to-face meetings with scholars, artists, performers, and others. The goal is to develop sensitivity, imagination, and understanding. Classes and related activities are held in Shanghai as well as during the extended field trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Chinese Language. CET/Donghua University Faculty
Based on their proficiency in Chinese, Colgate students enroll in 14 weeks of Chinese classes for 10 hours per week together with CET students, plus a weekly one-on one session.

Major Field Trips

The Study Group will fly to Shanghai to begin orientation at Donghua University at the end of August, with regular classes beginning September 5. In early October we will spend seven days exploring the city of Taipei and touring cultural sites around the island of Taiwan. In Taipei, hosted by National Taiwan Normal University’s College of Management and Office of International Affairs, various lectures and site visits will bring to life the profound political, historical, and economic changes that have made Taiwan unique. The Taiwan itinerary also includes educational travel along the rugged East Coast from Taitung to Hualien, during which we will learn about the island’s indigenous communities from local leaders and cultural activists. From Taipei we fly to Hong Kong to spend two days meeting scholars and visiting cultural and historical institutions through arrangements by the Office of International Student Exchange at the University of Hong Kong. While in Shanghai we will make several overnight trips to sites of cultural, scenic, and historical significance in the countryside. Schedules and itineraries will be finalized in Spring 2016.

There is one day off from classes in mid-September. The semester ends December 16.

Planned Extracurricular Activities

Students participate in the regular meetings of the Chinese Table with their classmates and language instructors, and take part in various activities with their Chinese roommates. Beyond campus, arrangements also will be made for students regularly to meet and converse with Chinese people from all walks of life.

Living Arrangements

Each Colgate student will be paired with a Chinese roommate in the international students’ dormitory on Donghua University campus. The dormitory is on the Donghua University downtown campus, next door to the classrooms and steps away from subway lines to all quarters of the city of Shanghai.


The cost estimates for this study group will be made available in March 2016. For estimated details of student expenses on this study group, please see the fall 2015 Student Cost Estimate Sheets.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through June 2017. All students participating on the China Study Group will be required to obtain a student visa. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with Chinese governmental visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study/International Programs, 101 McGregory Hall, and International Student Services, 103C Lathrop Hall, to learn as much as you can about the regulations. For some students there are significant visa requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Calendar and Deadlines

All students interested in applying should plan on attending one of the informational sessions.  The deadline for applications to the Fall 2016 China Study Group is Friday, November 6, 2015.  Applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study/International Programs study groups’ websites and are submitted online. Student notification of selections will take place late December 2015.

Further Information

All inquiries about the Group may be directed to John A. Crespi at

Helpful Links

Sponsoring Department

East Asian Languages and Literatures Department