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Offered by the Council for International Education and Exchange (CIEE), the Environmental, Cultural, and Economic Sustainability program is designed for students interetsed in learning Chinese, Tibetan or Uyghur language and an interest in gaining an understanding of sustainability within the context of contemporary China. This program is ideal for students majoring in the social sciences with an interest in multi-ethnic China and modern life in Beijing and rural ethnic areas of China.
As the capital of the world's most populous nation, Beijing is at the center of much that happens in China. It is a city of 11 million people struggling to adapt as China emerges as a global player. As a political center, bureaucracy is widespread. Changes in Beijing have moved quickly, and the city continues to grow. Beijing also reflects China's long and evolving history when different dynasties were based there and constructed some of the nation's most well-known and culturally important sites such as the Great Wall and the Summer Palace.
China is a country with 5,000 years of history. Over this period, unique values have formed which permeate Chinese culture, making the way of life especially distinct from the Western way. This vast nation of over 13 billion people has most recently been struggling to become a major global player while maintaining its own political ideology. Modernization of Chinese society is evident in today's dress, the types of consumer products that are now available, and the towering skyscrapers that adorn the skyline of the larger cities.
Beijing experiences a range of weather. Fall and spring are the best times to be there, with daytime temperatures ranging from 68-86F. Winter is November through March, with temperatures hovering near 32F; it is very cold. Summer is May through August with temperatures rising to about 100F and 100% humidity. July and August also mark the rainy season.
Getting to Your Program
Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to Beijing but are given guidelines for arrival dates.
A student visa is required. U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program. CIEE will provide you with visa information.
IAP expects you to be an active participant in preparing yourself for your study abroad experience. As a participant on an IAP program, you will receive a pre-departure orientation, either in-person or online. The type and format of this orientation will vary by program and will be provided to you upon acceptance to the program.
A mandatory on-site orientation session, conducted at the beginning of the program, introduces students to the country, the culture, the local community and environment, and the academic program.
Housing is included in the program fee. Students live in apartments in the West Gate International House, a new housing unit for international faculty members and students located right outside the west gate of the campus. Each apartment has a bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen, with two CIEE students in each apartment. It is also equipped with a washing machine and wireless or broadband internet access. The surrounding area of the West Gate International House is vibrant with a variety of ethnic restaurants, photo shops, art supply stores, and bookstores.
Meals are not included in the program fee and are the responsibility of the student. Meals on campus may be taken at the local student cafeteria that provides food from the different regions of China including food for Muslim students. There are also a number of excellent restaurants and noodle shops surrounding the campus.
Excursions and Activities
Guided field trips are organized to historic and cultural sites in and around Beijing such as the National Minorities Park, Zhoukoudian, the original site of Peking Man, the Temple of Heaven, Drum Tower and Hutong cultural areas, and various other temples. There are additional site visits to supplement the area studies courses. Cultural activities may include group meals and cultural panels by local students. Although there are no formal community service activities on this program, volunteer opportunities can be arranged by CIEE staff.
In addition, there are two extended excursions to locations outside Beijing each semester. These excursions to rural, frequently minority, culturally-rich communities typically include homestay experiences where you’ll be encouraged to participate in local activities such as harvesting, thrashing grain, small service projects, and teaching English to local children.
You will be enrolled in the UW System required health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and the cost of the insurance coverage is included in program fees.
CIEE resident director and staff
Use the links below to find out more information on academics, daily life and student impressions for this program.CIEE Beijing Environmental Academic Notes
(Spring - 2013-14)
Returned Student Network
to contact a returned student.
How to Apply
First complete the IAP Online Application. UW Affiliate programs may require you to apply directly to the affiliate either simultaneously during the IAP application process OR after you have received a preliminary admissions decision from IAP. After you have completed the IAP Online Application, the following forms will become available to you through the application portal. Be sure to read the instructions carefully for information on when to apply to the affiliate.
CIEE Online Application
Unofficial Transcript (Student Record)
Unofficial Transcript - OPTIONAL - Additional File
Forms are subject to change. Complete the forms according to the checklist provided to you in the online application portal.
After the Deadline
IAP will review your application and make a preliminary admissions decision. You will be notified of the admissions decision via email. The affiliate university or organization will make the final admissions decision.
Since the 1950s, Minzu University of China has been teaching foreign students about the rich ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity that exists in China. The university consists of 10 colleges, 19 faculties, and research centers. The campus also includes an ethnic minority museum that contains traditional ethnic dress, a library containing the largest collection of ethnic minority publications, and surrounding shops that sell ethnic clothing and handicrafts.
As a participant on this program you will select from a list of area studies courses taught in English. In addition, you can elect to enroll in a language course in either Chinese, Tibetan or Uyghur.
Founded in 2007, the CIEE Study Center at Minzu University of China offers students the opportunity to learn about China through the lens of the construction of the Chinese identity and China's ethnic traditions, policies, and transitions. The program takes full advantage of the university's campus environment which enrolls and supports China's 56 national minority populations including Tibetan and Uyghur (Muslim) minority groups. Students enroll in one required core course and one area studies course, as well as a Mandarin Chinese language course.
Area studies courses may include: Sustainability in Context, Environmental Conditions and Public Perception in Contemporary China, Ethnic Diversity and Identity in China, and Religion and Ecology in Contemporary China. Students also have the option of completing an independent research project.
Program Web Page(s)
Use the links below to see a list of courses that students have taken on this program before and the UW equivalents. Note: this list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses or departments. You will get instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
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