Students will mainly stay and study in Beijing at the China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), the only tertiary-level school supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. CFAU is long responsible for training China’s professional foreign service personnel, and those seeking careers in international affairs, international business, and international law.
The CFAU campus is home to some 2,000 Chinese students ensconced in a quiet, easily negotiated, modestly-sized compound set in the heart of the western quarter of Beijing. The elaborate Beijing subway system, affording gateway access to the far reaches of the city of some 20 million, is within walking distance of campus.
Nearby, are an array of restaurants, shops, tea houses, parks, and neighborhoods.
Students will study Chinese language, culture, history, and contemporary affairs, taught by English-able Chinese faculty and receive Oakland University credits.
The curriculum includes ability-specific language instruction—including for beginners—in Chinese conversation, reading and writing. Lessons on China’s political system, history, foreign policy and international relations, nationalities and religions, economy, culture, and etiquette are also provided. Instruction includes hands-on sessions in Chinese calligraphy and taijiquan (shadow-boxing).
Each student also conducts a research project overseen by the accompanying Oakland instructor. Participants are permitted and expected to attend all the courses, but may select which offerings to take for Oakland credits.
Beijing is a virtual treasure trove of ancient, classical, and modern Chinese landmarks and artifacts.
During the four-week study stay in the capital, students will take weekend excursions to such sites as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, the Ancient Observatory, Confucius and Lama Temples, Ming Tombs, Mao Zedong’s Mausoleum, Great Hall of the People, National Museum of China, pre-revolution alleyways and courtyard houses, Han and Tibetan restaurants and the traditional shops of Liulichang Street, among other attractions.
In addition, a train trip is made to the ancient city of Xi’an to view the famed museum of terra-cotta warriors and horses of China’s Qin dynasty. The final week involves travel to more distant destinations to the south of Beijing, as selected by the accompanying instructor. These have included, Shanghai, the former imperial capitals Nanjing and Hangzhou, the canal city of Suzhou, and rustic Guilin and Yangshuo.
In addition to a valid passport, several extra passport-sized photos should be packed, along with student identification (for discounted admission to venues).
A pair of comfortable walking shoes is essential. At least a five-week supply of any medications the student is taking, including any for possible allergic reactions. Sun screen, hand sanitizer and wipes are advisable.
For electrical usage, a plug converter and power adapter (available in China, as well) may be taken. An early spring jacket or sweatshirt for the plane ride and for the initial week or so in China. Thereafter, summer clothing will be appropriate. Materials used for the research project, ideally in digital form, should also be carried.
The Beijing in Spring program is open to all Oakland students and qualified non-Oakland guest students.
Students must enroll for at least 4 Oakland academic credits and have the option of selecting as many as 12 credits. Each participant must complete a program application form, and non-Oakland students must also submit a general academic reference form. A valid passport should be in hand prior to filing the application. A physician certification of good health form is required of all delegation members.
The most basic requirements are for students to have interest to begin or advance Chinese language study and deepen their familiarity with China, to be respectful goodwill ambassadors of Oakland University and the United States, and to possess a healthy sense of adventure.
Beijing in Spring is offered every even numbered year.
February 1 is the deadline for the application and $250 application deposit (applied to the program fee). March 1 is the due date for the visa application and round-trip air travel and flight insurance fees. On April 1, the program fee falls due. At the end of May, Oakland University will bill tuition fees for the Oakland credits taken in Beijing.
Students may send Ms. Jan Baker a check payable to Oakland University or provide her their credit card information for the application deposit.
Beijing in Spring requires a minimum of 10 participants with paid deposits by February 1.
Otherwise, the program will be cancelled and the application fee refunded. Information meetings will be held in October in the fall semester prior to a study year, and in January and April in winter semester of the year of the trip.