Chalk writings of a Chinese man wishing the entire world a
happy mid-autumn festival. Photo by Morgan Whitehead '15
Tree-lined path inside Tongji University
Location. In the fall of 2014, the Centre-in-China program will again be housed on the Siping campus of Tongji University in the middle of Shanghai, a thriving city of more than 22 million people that is the economic and commercial center of the entire Pacific Rim. Shanghai's stunning architecture alone has caused it to be known as "the city of the future."
The Tongji campus provides a tree-lined, gated setting for studying at one of the top ten universities in China and one of the best architectural and civil engineering universities in the world. Centre has established this program in conjunction with Derek Capo, CEO of NextStepChina. Amethyst ("Amy") Wytiuis our bilingual Shanghai coordinator who assists our students whenever problems arise. In addition, Centre has other bilingual friends in Shanghai who can be called on if needed.
Eligibility. This program is open to all Centre students, though primarily for those studying or interested in studying Mandarin (since studying Mandarin is by far the major academic endeavor in Shanghai). It may be of particular interest to students interested in international studies, global commerce, financial economics, modern languages, history, or anthropology—and to those who are thinking about future careers in areas where spoken Chinese would be extraordinarily helpful, such as government, business, banking, public relations, commerce, marketing, travel, etc.
Housing. Students live in on-campus, dormatory-style housing.
Program Dates. The dates are not yet finalized, but the program will run from early September through about December 20. The exact dates will be announced in early spring. Students arriving on a single, agreed-upon flight will be met at the airport by Next Step China.
Courses. The proportion of "contact hours" to "out of class" preparation and study hours is different in China, as it is in many world cultures. That is, the 3:1 understanding in Danville is more like 2:1 or even 1 ½ :1 in China. In other words, students can expect to spend more "contact hours" but less "out of class" hours—so that the total hours of academic work should be about the same in China than it is in Danville.
Studying Mandarin is by far the major academic endeavor in Shanghai. Students study grammar, speaking, and listening for 15 contact hours a week at the A (beginning), B (intermediate) or C (advanced) level, based on placement, and receive six hours of Centre language credit. In addition, students select four of the following ten electives, which meet once a week for two hours: Chinese History and Culture, China's Socio-Economic Development, The Shape and Growth of the Towns & Villages in China, Sustainable Development in China, Intercultural Communication, Cultural Heritage Conservation in China, China's Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Chinese Intellectual Property Protection, Chinese Music and Songs, Traditional Chinese Sport. Each of these electives translates into a two-hour Centre course, and some programs will count a combination of two electives as a course for their program. Students should be aware, however, that it may not be possible to take the four electives they would like, since some are offered at the same time.
Cost. The cost is the same as studying in Danville, with the exception of a $375 non-refundable deposit/surcharge and airfare. This amount includes a $15 carbon mitigation fee, but does not include the $20 cost of the required Travel Clinic that all Centre students going abroad must attend. Centre will subsidizes the airfare to Shanghai so that participants will pay about the same as students going on one of our European programs. In addition, students with low EFC's (Expected Families Contributions) and large "gaps" may qualify for additional help from the Davidson Fund.
Centre supplement for food. Next Step China will give participants yuan for food. Students are encouraged to eat in the cafeteria, where they might more easily meet and get to know Chinese students. The food supplement allows participants to vary this by purchasing and preparing food on their own.
Apply. Application and faculty recommendation forms may be picked up at one of the campus-wide informational meetings on November 19, November 25, or January 8—or on the bookshelf in the Davidson Room of Old Carnegie. Turn in your completed application at the study abroad office no later than noon on February 6. Students who are selected must pay the non-refundable $375 deposit/surcharge to the Cashier's Office in Boles Hall by March 4 to hold their spot in the program.
A Note on Semester-long Centre Programs. Students may only study abroad on a semester-long Centre program once, though they may participate in as many CentreTerm and/or summer programs as they wish.
Statement about Grades Abroad. The grades that Centre students studying abroad have received in the past have been consistent with, or even a bit higher than, grades received on campus. Nevertheless, we want to make certain that you understand from the outset that the courses you take abroad will not necessarily be taught or evaluated as they would be at Centre. In the past, some abroad students have complained—after the fact—that it was unclear how their work was being evaluated, that they received little or no feedback of their progress from the professors, that they were unfairly competing with more advanced students, that they didn't receive their grades until months after they returned, etc. We will, of course, do what we can to advise you on courses you take, but finally you are responsible for those choices, and you must live with the results. The faculty committee on curriculum and academic standards will almost certainly not agree to change an abroad grade because you believe it is too low.
Medical Insurance. Students studying abroad through any Centre program receive travel and accident insurance at no additional cost. Centre's Study Abroad Insurance, while provided through EIIA (Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators), is administered through AIG Assist. Every student studying abroad with Centre College receives an AIG Assist contact and information card. Each has the Centre insurance policy number, which is the only information needed to receive services. The categories of coverage provided are accident and sickness ($100,000 limit with a $250 deductible); emergency medical evacuation and emergency family travel ($100,000 limit); accidental death and disability ($200,000 limit); and repatriation of remains ($100,000 limit). For specific questions, please contact the International Programs office at 859.238.5285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Air Tickets Early to Save Money. Because students will be met at the airport and taken to campus, all students should arrive on the same flight. In a group meeting after selection has taken place, we'll discuss possible flights and the amount Centre will reimburse. Students will then book their own air tickets. In the past, students have generally been able to find economical round-trip air tickets. Some have found studentuniverse.com, statravel.com, or hipmunk.com helpful sites. Book early for the lowest prices.
Pre-Departure Training. Students selected will attend pre-departure meetings in the spring to prepare for living and studying in another culture. Students will also attend a mandatory travel medicine clinic and a mandatory meeting on safety and security before leaving for Shanghai.
Psychotropic Medication and Counseling. The kind of counseling and support services available on campus are not available abroad. Because any significant life transition can exacerbate and complicate already existing mental health issues, we encourage students who are currently on psychotropic medication and/or have been in mental health counseling to first consider participating in the three-week Summer Strasbourg program or a CentreTerm course abroad if they are fully confident they can do so without difficulty. Whenever they study abroad, those students are urged to meet with a Centre Student Assistance Program counselor prior to their leaving to develop a support plan for their time abroad.
Pre-Registration/Convocation Credits. While in Shanghai, you pre-register for future courses via e-mail with your regular academic advisor. You will automatically be credited with six convocation credits during your term abroad.
Passport. If you do not currently have a passport that will remain valid for at least six months after your return, begin the process of obtaining one as soon as you are selected. In the recent past, some students have waited three months to receive a passport, even though the passport agency has stated that it will take six to eight weeks. Do it now!
Discounted visa service. Centre has an arrangement with the CIBT Global Visa and Passport Professionals that should allow you to receive a 40% discount in getting your visa. You can log into the Centre link at http://visacentral.com/center. The Centre account I #45851; the CIBT website is www.cibtvisas.com; you may e-mail them at email@example.com. Telephone assistance is available (800 / 929-2428) 8:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Monday-Friday.
To see photos from recent Centre-in-China experiences, click here.
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