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Nanjing, China

Program Site: Nanjing University campus in central Nanjing. The study abroad program in which USC students participate is run by CIEE, which has staff and office space at Nanjing University.

Description: Several times the capital of China, Nanjing holds a prominent place in Chinese history and culture. In Nanjing one can experience China’s rapid development and a slower pace of life (compared to Beijing and Shanghai) at the same time. The city prides itself on maintaining the traditional Chinese city atmosphere while welcoming urban development in designated areas.

Academics:The program aims to increase students' proficiency in Mandarin and provide a rich context for learning about China. Students take Readings in Chinese (6 units), Spoken Chinese (6 units), and an area studies course (3 units) taught in English: History of US-China Relations (fall) or Global Strategic Management in China (spring). The language courses are offered at intermediate, advanced intermediate, and advanced levels. Optional elective courses include Intercultural Communication and Leadership (fall; taught in English) or Contemporary Chinese Society through Media (spring; taught in Mandarin).

Superior-level language students who test above the advanced level take all content language coursework at Nanjing University's Institute for International Students in addition to one CIEE area studies course. Examples of these courses, all of which are taught in Chinese, include Chinese Human Geography, Chinese Foreign Trade and Economic Law, International Trade, Classical Chinese, Contemporary Chinese Economics, Contemporary Chinese Foreign Policy, Critique of Current Events in China, History of China, Ethnic Minorities and Religion, Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature, History of the Republic of China, Modern Chinese History, and International Relations Studies. Most of these courses yield 2 semester credits; some are for 3 credits.

Extracurricular classes in Chinese calligraphy, tai chi, and traditional Chinese painting are held on weekday afternoons.

Course Load and Credit: Students earn a maximum of 15 USC units per semester.

Activities and Other Program Features:A three-day orientation session introduces students to the academic program, Chinese culture, and gives practical information about living in Nanjing. In addition students participate in six daytrips, that focus on topics covered in the language and area studies courses, are integrated into the academic curriculum. These local field trips and cultural activities include visits to a school for migrant workers’ children, a job fair for college students, the southern old city, Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum, Ming Tombs, Purple Mountain, Xuanwu Lake, Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, and Presidential Palace, as well as various neighborhoods, temples, and historical sites around Nanjing. Extracurricular classes in Chinese calligraphy, Taiji, and traditional Chinese painting are held on weekday afternoons.

The fall semester includes:

  • A weekend trip to Shanghai. Students will visit the Bund and City Planning Museum, and attend lectures on the economic development of China.
  • A weeklong field trip to Xi’an, the western terminus of the Silk Road in Shanxi Province and Gansu Province, the corridor between Inner Mongolia and Tibet that connected China to the ancient Western world. In Xi’an you will visit the Terra Cotta Warriors, Great Goose Pagoda, and the Muslim quarter. In Gansu Province, you'll learn about this fascinating region that is home to large populations of Hui (Muslim) Chinese and Turkic peoples, explore important destinations along the ancient Silk Road such as Dunhuang, which is famed for its grottos painted with ancient Buddhist murals, or visit thriving Tibetan monasteries in Xiahe in Gansu province. You will also attend lectures on history and ethnic minority culture at local institutions such as Lanzhou University.

 The spring semester includes:

  • A weekend trip to Beijing. Students will have a debriefing at the U.S. Embassy and visit the Great Wall, Tian’anmen Square, and the Forbidden City.
  • A weeklong field trip to Sichuan or Yunnan Province to provide students exposure to the linguistic, cultural, and culinary diversity within China. In Sichuan, you might learn about the habitats of giant pandas and Sichuanese teahouse culture and history. In Yunnan, you might explore the Naxi ethnic minority culture of Lijiang, legendary for their living pictographic language; and in Shangri-La you are likely to discover beautiful natural scenery and learn about local Tibetan culture. You will also attend lectures on such topics as urban history, biodiversity, and ethnic minorities.

Accommodation: Students may live with a Chinese host family or in the international student dorm with one Chinese roommate. The homestay option is highly recommended for students who want to live in an entirely Chinese language environment and are motivated to make rapid progress in Chinese language outside of class. Chinese family members speak Chinese only. Students have their own bedroom. Most homestays are located within 30 minutes from campus by bus or bike. Homestay families provide breakfast and dinner on weekdays and most weekends. A homestay orientation is offered to students prior to moving in with host families. Students choosing the dorm option will live in a double room with one Chinese roommate studying in the Chinese Department or Institute for International Students. The Chinese roommates are also CIEE peer tutors. Each room contains a bathroom and small closets. Meals are not included.

Dates: Fall, Spring or Year. The fall term runs from late-August to mid-December and spring term begins after Lunar New Year and typically ends in early June.

Eligibility: Minimum 3.0 GPA and two semesters of college-level Mandarin Chinese (or the equivalent).

Estimated Semester Cost:
Additional Expenses*.............$9,023

Cost Updated: 5/21/15
Text Updated: 6/19/15

*Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student). USC financial aid, scholarships, and tuition remission may be applied to program costs. Please visit the Office of Overseas Studies for more detailed cost information.

CIEE Nanjing
CIEE Course Syllabi
Nanjing University
Lonely Planet Nanjing