Why Fieldwork in
China Fieldwork Semester students are motivated learners looking for a unique and engaging experience abroad. Discover how the Chinese landscape has changed livelihoods and the community’s sense of place over generations. Spend your semester on three major projects to help you study the land, meet the people, and understand the community. If it’s possible to know China, this is the best way to start.
Coursework & Syllabi
You take three core courses that explore the program’s theme and are placed into your appropriate language class level for a total of 12 credits. Explore the details of each course within the syllabi below.
Understanding China from Diverse Perspectives
Explore Yunnan through the program’s project-based approach to history, literature, and science. Study local temples and dwellings to see how cultural changes have affected them over centuries. Draw connections between your Chinese literature readings and the historical architecture all around you. Build upon the work of previous students as you collect cultural data and learn how to turn it into actionable information.
Fieldwork on the Tibetan Plateau
Pack your bags for a 3-week Traveling Seminar along the Tibetan Plateau and the Three Parallel Rivers region. Trek into the monkey reserve on Baima Mountain and understand ongoing efforts to protect an endangered species. Explore reforestation efforts at Pudacuo National Park. Hike China’s famous Tiger Leaping Gorge. You even learn the 2,000-year-old tradition of making black pottery during a homestay with Tibetan farm families.
Chinese in the Real World
Small class sizes meet you at your Chinese level and provide you with the attention your language skills need to thrive. All levels—beginner to advanced—include curriculum elements that complement fieldwork research projects in your other courses. And when class is out, you have endless ways to practice—shopping at the local market, discussing your craft at your apprenticeship, or even with your host siblings during homestay weekends.
You share a room with three other students in a restored historic building in Xizhou. Within the gated compound, you can enjoy common spaces like a shared kitchen, dining area, and courtyards for playing games and hanging out. Catch up on your homework or watch a little TV with classmates to unwind. And after your first month, you’ll spend parts of your weekends at a homestay with a local family.
Your Home Base: The Linden Centre
The Linden Centre is an educational facility that serves as a platform for cultural exchange based in Yunnan province. It is strategically located in Xizhou, Dali for its distance to China’s commercial centers, thereby providing a rural haven for deeper interaction with the community and structured explorations of China’s past. The building facilities themselves are housed in a structure built locally in 1939 and restored in 2015 by Brian and Jeanee Linden.
After your first month in Xizhou, the rural homestay program begins. Help your host brother out with work around the farm on Saturday afternoons. Prepare dinner with your host parents and practice your Chinese over food. Play basketball with your host sister before bed. Then head back to the Linden Centre before lunch on Sundays. While each weekend is a little different, you build a better understanding of rural life and culture in China as you get to know your host family over the semester.
Eating in Xizhou
You’ll eat most meals at the Linden Centre, with occasional small group meals out in town with stipends. Don’t forget to try local specialties like mint beef or guoqiao mixian (crossing-the-bridge noodles, a soup with rice noodles)—you are living in Yunnan after all. Or switch things up by trying the pizza place or local cafés with your friends.
With a small rural community of roughly 2,500 people, Xizhou has unparalleled immersion opportunities. Whether you’re discussing proper techniques with your silversmithing master, enjoying Yunnan province’s ecological diversity, or appreciating the local cuisine, you encounter something new everywhere you look. Your days are filled with any number of activities in this area known for good weather, diverse communities, and a rich culture and history.
After Class is Out
Explore Dali’s old town with friends. Take in the famous Three Pagodas of the Chongseng Temple. Taste all the local specialties: Yunnan coffee, Pu’er tea, Crossing-the-Bridge noodles. Gaze at the views from atop Cangshan Mountain. Enjoy movie nights hosted at the Linden Centre. Dance to Tibetan techno pop with locals on the city square. Take a scenic bike ride to the Tongue of Erhai Lake. Taste Xizhou baba, a Dali specialty pancake beloved by locals.
Dr. Pamela Leonard
Spring Semester Fee
Spring Semester Fee: TBA
All of your classes and program-related learning are included with your tuition.
The Traveling Seminar to the Tibetan Plateau is included with your program fee. All you have to do is pack your bag.
All of your meals are included with your tuition. For off-campus meals, we provide you with a food stipend.
We arrange for you to live with other CET students at the Linden Centre. On-site staff live in the same gated compound for round-the-clock support.
We are your support network. From pre-departure questions to academic support to emergency management, we’ve got your back.
You’re provided with a comprehensive insurance plan through GeoBlue. It even includes evacuation coverage for individual medical emergencies.
The activities and excursions that we arrange are included in your program fee. All you need to do is remember to bring your camera!
You’ll receive an official transcript from Dickinson College at the end of the program… the icing on the cake for your college applications.
- Must be a rising junior or senior in high school, or a high school graduate not yet enrolled in a college or university degree program
- GPA: 3.0 or higher preferred, but admissions decisions are made on a case-by-case basis; lower GPAs still encouraged to apply
- Open to all levels of Chinese speakers
Complete the online application through your online CET account.
An official high school transcript is required to complete your application.
Though you take an in-depth placement exam on site, a foreign language writing sample helps staff get a better idea of your abilities before your arrival.
Your letter of recommendation can be submitted through your online CET account, within your application.
A phone interview is a required step of the application process. You will be contacted soon after the completion of your application.
Price Subject to Change:
CET reserves the right to increase quoted charges at any time without prior notification, based on increased instruction costs, exchange rate fluctuation or other cost increases beyond CET’s control.