China: Mountains, Deserts, & Megacities College Study Abroad Semester

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Engage in a semester abroad to explore this dynamic and ever-changing landscape.

Dragons College Study Abroad semester in China does more than introduce the contemporary China that is seen in the country’s burgeoning cities; our program takes us deep among this country’s various demographics, allowing us to learn across disparate landscapes. Strong language curriculum and a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary exploration of modern Chinese history and economic development, society, and cultural tradition are combined with travel and wilderness exploration opportunities around the country.

With a broad curriculum and an itinerary designed to explore both thriving urban centers and rural villages, our China College Study Abroad semester offers an unparalleled comprehensive overview of today’s China.

Eligible participants should have completed at least one semester of post-secondary study, be 18 years or older, and have a minimum GPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale).

We offer comprehensive, personal home visits so that we can answer your questions in person. One of our expert staff members will present on our program options and share stories from their own formative Where There Be Dragons program. To request a home visit in less than 2 minutes, fill out this form.

  • Minority issues and status, socio-economic issues, health, land-use and environment, tourism, human rights issues, cultural survival.
  • Intensive daily Mandarin Chinese instruction, options for additional one-on-one tutoring sessions and opportunities for language immersion throughout.
  • 5-6 weeks of urban home-stay in Kunming, one or two rural home-stays in Yunnan, Guizhou or Sichuan villages.
  • Introduction to Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Confucianism, Marxism, Capitalism.
  • Ancient, imperial and modern history, political studies, social issues in modern China, development of market economy, gender and race studies, cultural and environmental preservation, Chinese philosophy.

Questions & Answers


10 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • Academics 7.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 8
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
Yes, I recommend this program

It's not a party, it's an adventure

The WTBD China semester program is not a party, it's more of an adventure. It is not always comfortable, but it is always enriching. The experiences are not always fun, but they are always valuable. You won't always be relaxed and smiley, but you will always be learning. I don't want to make this program sound excessively tough, it really isn't, but I do want to say that WTBD is more about experiential learning, understanding how to organize and participate in a group, challenging yourself and growing than it is about just having a fun easy-going time. This is not to say you won't have fun, you will! But I make this point about WTBD being more than a vacation because I see the controlled discomfort and challenges of WTBD as the most valuable parts of the program. There are lots of study abroad providers out there, but I don't think there are many (if any) that can offer the range of experiences WTBD does. With Dragons, I visited a Tibetan Buddhist monastery and spoke with a lama. I planted, husked, cooked and ate rice with farmers. I made real connections and had meaningful conversations with home-stay families. I learned more about when to lead, and when to follow. We visited a Chinese primary school. We (the students) planned our group's trip to the Tenger deserts and Beijing. We spent a week in what was basically a Daoist commune. Those are just a few examples from what was probably the most incredible semester I've had. If you have the chance to experience Where There Be Dragons, I highly recommend it.

Yes, I recommend this program

A Semester South of The Clouds

It has been almost a year now since I departed for my semester south of the clouds in China with Where There Be Dragons. I had just finished my first program with Where There Be Dragoons in the fall; where I traveled to the majestic Himalayas and explored Nepal. I do not know where to begin, but needless to say, any experience with Dragons is bound to be a "life-changing" experience. The China program, what I will focus on reviewing now, was what first encouraged my heart to take a gap year. I had previously studied Chinese for four years before jumping on a plane that February morning; a skill base that was immensely helpful but by no means necessary to reap the benefits of this experience. Whatever your experience or knowledge of China, go for it. There is no place more enticing and fascinating than China, the kingdom of 5,000 years. You will become enthralled with the beauty of China's past, its present & future. It has been a year since I was last in China. I was there for four months and yet this land is still a mystery to me. However, I left the program with a far greater sense of self; something I never guessed China, Dragons and myself would bring me.