Xiamen Student American Experience - Colgate University Skip Navigation

The American Experience

June 25–July 22, 2017

Program Overview

Colgate University offers individuals from the Xiamen University community the opportunity to participate in a uniquely designed, four-week immersion program. In addition to discussions and trips that familiarize participants with American culture, democracy, and financial systems, the program includes a language component that allows participants to experience and familiarize themselves with the English language.

Participants in the program do not receive academic credit from Colgate University.
Merrill House luncheon for Xiamen University students.


Participants will be responsible for obtaining and maintaining their own proper non-immigrant visa / status for entry into the United States and participation in the activities of the program.

For the purposes of making travel arrangements, participants are expected to pay for their own flights. Colgate University will provide transportation for all programmed trips.

Dates: June 25, 2017 - July 22, 2017
Fees: $4,995 per person

The fee includes all expenses related to the program, including housing, meals, and trips. Participants are responsible for incidental expenses.

Talks and Discussions

Each week, the program includes a variety of talks and discussions on American culture, government, and economics. Topics include:
  • American financial and political systems
  • American economic and social history
  • U.S. foreign policy & the U.S. – China relationship
  • American culture
  • The role of religion in American politics
  • The American graduate school experience

American Music: Restless Country
John Crespi, Luce Associate Professor of Chinese and Director of Asian Studies
Learn the history of America through the songs of soldiers, cowboys, hobos, and immigrants over the past 200 years, all performed live on traditional instruments from the guitar to the harmonica to the jaw harp.

The Great Depression and the New Deal
Michael Haines, Banfi Vintners Professor of Economics
My lecture will cover the Great Depression and the New Deal in the United States (1929-1941). It will cover the variety of explanations as to why the economy contracted between October, 1929 and March, 1933, the various New Deal programs, and whether the New Deal actually got us out of the Great Depression.

The U.S. Financial System: An Overview
Thomas Michl, Professor of Economics
This lecture explores the U.S. financial system during and after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. It begins with the basics of how banks work and how traditional banks are vulnerable to bank runs. Then it explains the rise of the shadow banking system which is based on money market funding of capital market lending, and argues that the GFC was a new kind of bank run—shadow banks running on other shadow banks in the money markets. It concludes with a brief description of the policy responses to the crisis and its aftermath.

Speaking & Listening the English Language
Bethany Reichen
This is a discussion-based course that focuses on the themes introduced in the faculty lectures as well as current issues and selected topics from American popular culture. Students participate in daily informal discussions as well as weekly formal speeches or presentations, and the course culminates in a final debate. Students gain experience with research, note-taking, and public speaking skills throughout the month and are expected to participate fully and constructively in each lesson.

Separation of Church and State
Jenna Reinbold, Assistant Professor of Religion
What do we mean when we talk about “the separation of church and state?” Where does this principle originate? Are there exceptions? This lecture explores the relationship between religion and law in the United States. Students will consider the question of what Americans mean when they speak of the separation of church and state, and they will explore explore the ways in which the US Supreme Court has attempted to implement this principle within American law.

Earthquakes: Causes, consequences, and solutions
Martin Wong, Associate Professor of Geology
Earthquakes are a potent reminder of the often deadly power of the Earth. This talk explores the causes and consequences of earthquakes with an emphasis on the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan that killed over 25,000 people, mostly during the resulting tsunami. Possible strategies for reducing or eliminating casualties and damage from earthquakes are discussed. Short term earthquake prediction remains an elusive goal, but long-term forecasts are possible using a combination of historical and geologic data. A case study from the Pacific Northwest of the United States suggests a high probability of a Tohoku-sized event in the coming decades and illustrates how geologic data can be used to mitigate earthquake risk.

English Language Opportunities

The program will provide participants an opportunity each week to engage in English speaking and listening comprehension, as well as reading and writing skills.

Sightseeing and Travel

The program includes two overnight trips: three nights in New York City and two nights in Washington, D.C. Additionally, participants travel to Cornell University and Niagara Falls.

In recent  years, participants met several distinguished alumni during these trips, including Duncan Niederauer ‘81, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange; Rob Jones ‘72, a Senior Advisor for Morgan Stanley; and Alan Frumin ‘68, parliamentarian emeritus of the U.S. Senate.

American Experience students in Washington, DC

Other Opportunities

American Experience students receive an explanation from a Colgate student about his researchParticipants will have access to all of Colgate’s recreational and other facilities, including our state-of-the-art library, fitness center, basketball courts, golf course, hiking trails, and swimming pool. The program also includes trips to Colgate’s visualization lab and stellar observatory.

Additionally, participants will have opportunities to connect with Colgate University students and the Hamilton community through different social events, such as meals with the Hamilton Rotary Club, the Hamilton Baptist Church’s International Student Fellowship Committee, and Colgate University’s local alumni club.


At Xiamen University

Jiaxin Lin
+86 (0) 592 2181108

At Colgate University

Cody Tipton