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China Practicum: 

The Silk Road and Pre-Olympic Beijing

May 19-June 16, 2008

Beijing and Xinjiang, China


Program Overview

The China Practicum is a four-week intensive summer program with two weeks in Beijing and two weeks in Xinjiang.  The aim of the program is to provide non-Chinese and Chinese speaking students with the opportunity to become immersed in Chinese culture, society, and language.  This program is taking place at a very unique time in China’s history, when the country is preparing to host its first Olympic Games.  Due to this event, this is an ideal time to explore the collaborative effort that is causing China’s economic boom and peacefully uniting the country.  During the second part of the program, students will travel along the Silk Road in Xinjiang and learn about how Buddhist, Christian, and Islamic civilizations have interacted with one another for the past 1,000 years.

The Setting

The program takes place in both Beijing, China’s modern capital and site of the 2008 Olympic games, and in Xinjiang, a western region of China know for the Silk Road, and where we will explore a lot of cultural and linguistic diversities.


EASIA 207-01: China Practicum: The Silk Road and Pre-Olympic Beijing

Students who successfully complete this program will earn one course credit (the equivalent of four semester hours).  For East Asian Studies majors, the China Practicum counts toward the major.  For history majors, the program fulfills the History 315 requirement.  The program also fulfills the Division II and/or Comparative Civilization requirement.  Students will receive a letter grade for the course.


The program curriculum consists of lectures, field trips, journals, field reports, and the study of basic conversational Chinese.  In Beijing, these scholarly activities will help students explore how the Chinese are preparing for the Olympics.  While traveling along the Silk Road in Xinjiang, students will focus on how Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam have interacted with each other for the last one thousand years and how the interaction has influenced the ethnic communities there. 

Program Activities

During the program, students will participate in excursions to world-famous historic sites, such as the Great Wall, the Imperial Palace, the Summer Palace, and facilities for the 2008 Olympic Games.  In Xinjiang, students will visit historic sites along the Silk Road, including Turfan, Urumqi, Aksu, and Kashgar


In Beijing, students will live in university housing, and in Xinjiang, students will stay in hotels.  Students will eat together as a group in the university cafeteria or at local restaurants.

On-Site Administration

The program is supervised by Professors Rae Yang and Minglang Zhou from the East Asian Studies department at Dickinson College.  Both professors are natives of China and have led the China Practicum program multiple times.  Professor Zhou has done fieldwork in Xinjiang twice over the last few years.

Program Cost

The estimated comprehensive program fee will be approximately $5,100, which covers tuition, room and board, program excursions, and park and museum tickets. Not included in the program fee are primary medical and accident insurance purchased in the U.S., travel costs to/from Beijing, visa fees, and all other incidental expenses.


For more information, contact

Professor Rae Yang

Department of East Asian Studies, Dickinson College

Tel: 717-245-1403


Associate Professor Minglang Zhou

Department of East Asian Studies, Dickinson College

Tel: 717-245-1564


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