Study Abroad in China

The fourth-largest country in the world, China has been experiencing a huge economic boom in the past few years, and it won't be letting up on its path to becoming the next global superpower. Study abroad programs in China will introduce students to this far-off land of stunning ancient history and important economic present. It shouldn't be much of a Kung Pao surprising that China study abroad programs attract tens of thousands of international students each year.

All the Right Ingredients

Higher education in China has played a huge role in the country's economic boom, and Chinese universities consistently seek out the best students. Those who study abroad in China will discover that the country has three-semester school years, with semesters lasting 20 weeks. No matter what you have your heart set on studying, a study abroad program in the massive area of China will have what you need.

The Chinese came up with the oldest calendar in the world, which they based on the cycles of the moon. Students studying abroad in China will also realize that the home of calligraphy's literature dates back to 1,000 BC-it was no Harry Potter, but impressive nonetheless. And by the way, if you liked Kill Bill, you can thank China's Shaolin monks for inventing Kung Fu.

Plenty of Options on the Menu

Study abroad programs in China are about a lot more than learning the language. Students with a focus on a variety of study fields will find study abroad in China fascinating on many levels. If you're interested in history or city planning, check out the Hutongs in the capital city of Beijing. There, just outside the famous Forbidden City, or Palace Museum, you'll find an ancient metropolis that used some very interesting planning methods. We'll leave it up to you to discover what that means.

If architecture's your thing, a study abroad program in China will simply amaze you, from the ancient architecture to the 21st century architectural creations in the city of Shanghai. Plus:

  • Take a look at the world-famous Temple of Heaven in Beijing, which was built in 1420 by the Ming Dynasty and is situated in the middle of a 660-acre park;
  • Shanghai has its share of modern architectural wonders, but you must see the Bund waterfront's Peace Hotel and the Ming Dynasty Yu Yuan Gardens' pavilions and zigzag bridge;
  • Lhasa, located in Tibet, boasts one of the world's most impressive feats of architecture-the Potala Palace, which was built without using even one nail!

Yeah, China's architectural gifts date back centuries, to when they established the "five structural elements," but there's much more to learn about than the buildings in the country. For you theology students, China provides an interesting mix of atheism, Taoism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. And if you're an archeology student, you'll absolutely love a study abroad program in China because:

  • The city of Xian is home to the awesome Museum of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, which houses some of the most famous archaeological sites on earth;
  • You can tour the Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and check out the Dazu rock carvings in the town of Chongqing;
  • Dashanpu, in the Sichuan Province, is where more than 1,000 dinosaur fossils have been found, including the bones of what's believed to be the missing link between birds and dinosaurs!

Since China has been around for so long, it's never lacking in relics of the past. However, zoology majors can live very much in the present if they study abroad in China. The city of Chengdu, famous for its food, is also home to the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center. You'll see Pandas and many other species running free in an environment created just for them, in the image of their natural habitats. How sweet.

Some Fun on the Side

When you study abroad in China, it won't be all about the books. You'll find quite a bit to keep you busy in this enormous country-see the Great Wall of China (which can also be seen from space), the famous Silk Road that's been around since the second century AD, as well as tons of great Chinese art scattered in temples and monasteries. China is extremely mountainous, which makes for some great outdoor adventure. You won't want to miss Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, located in Tibet.

And when not haggling in one of the two most spoken languages in the world, you'll find something to do pretty much anywhere you roam:

  • Visit the Old Town of Shanghai, where you can kick it in the Garden of the Purple Clouds of Autumn, get a bite to eat and shop at the local bazaar;
  • Learn the art of calligraphy-you'll write a single word in several beautiful and different styles;
  • Take a cruise on the Yangtze River and check out the Xiling, Wu and Qutang Gorges, or sun yourself on the sand at Beihai Silver Beach or the Asian Dragon Bay.

Speaking of dragons, you'll see them all over China-in the art, architecture, literature, music and more. Dragons are a major symbol of China and have been for who knows how long, and they figure heavily into folk tales and legends that are still told today. While you won't see any live dragons, study abroad in China can still get your heartbeat racing:

  • Explore the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve or the Yungang Caves (if you dare!);
  • Catch the amazing Chinese acrobats when they perform in Beijing-they'll have you on the edge of your seat.

Chinese cuisine may give you a thrill-if not for the taste, then perhaps for some of the ingredients. It's not unusual at all in China to pop a couple of silkworms or black beetles in your mouth as a snack. Snake is also a major delicacy. Roast boa or snakeskin with roasted peppers, anyone? But, of course, you will find some food you're more familiar with; just mind your manners at the table and get the hang of those chopsticks!

As you can see, studying abroad in China will engage all of your senses and maybe even get you to eat bugs! But more importantly, you'll discover and connect with a culture that will challenge you as much as it pleases. And you'll have some friendly natives around who are used to helping out foreigners. All in all, Kung Pao chicken included, China has quite the full plate.