Beijing in Spring

Sometimes it isn’t until people start college that they realize their complacent in their social comfort zone. College can be both an intimidating and opportunistic platform for expanding personal comfort levels.

The ultimate icebreaker experience for college students in earning their independence doesn’t always happen on campus. It sometimes happens on the other side of the planet. And Oakland University’s Beijing in Spring program one such opportunity.

Every other year, the Department of Modern Language and Literatures offers all OU students and guest students the opportunity to experience Chinese culture first-hand for longer than a month. From May 9 to June 18, participants can earn up to 12 credits studying abroad. Following the intensive 4-week language and culture study, students will explore many of China’s landmarks including the Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Ming Tombs and Forbidden City.

Program advisor of Modern Languages and Literatures, Dr. Melanie Chang said students who go on the trip will be exposed new people, new perspectives and new ways of life.

“They will grow in ways they can’t by staying on campus,”  Chang said.

A major focus of the trip is the linguistic immersion into a Mandarin Chinese-speaking environment and to make friends with Chinese students that are interested in learning about other cultures. Students will stay at the China Foreign Affairs University, which was founded in 1955.

Once classes are finished, the trip will finish with a nine-day tour of sites in Northern and Southern China to learn about its most important historic, natural and modern wonders. Hotel accommodations, air-conditioned private bus transportation and English speaking local guides are included in the total price.

The entire cost for the trip is $6,830; $2,700 for language classes and lodging at CFAU with access to the library, computer labs, internet connection and more; $1,690 for field trips, weekend excursions, special meals and entertainment admissions; $1,090 for the nine-day tour; and $1,350 for round trip airfare.

To help support the cost of the trip, there are several scholarships that students can apply for. The scholarships can be found on OU’s website. Such scholarships are offered by for international education, Honors College and modern languages and literatures.

Those interested in attending the Beijing study abroad trip must fill out the application by Jan. 16 And be sure to prepare for all the traveling.

“Physically, of course, it definitely helps to stay active before leaving for Beijing. Mentally, I would say always keep a healthy sense of adventure, try different things. A student of mine tried ‘fried crickets’, Chang said. It’s a huge city and lots of walking can be expected.”