The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures strongly encourages you to expand your academic and cultural experience through participation in UW’s International Academic Programs. While such programs provide you with opportunities to gain a broader understanding of Chinese culture and history, more importantly, it provides most students will an opportunity to increase their fluency in Chinese language. Studying abroad offers students a unique opportunity to deepen one’s own sense of self-awareness and provides students’ with an in-depth cross-cultural experience. Both of these traits are skills many HR managers are looking for in a variety of career paths. With careful planning, Chinese majors can study abroad for up to one year without delaying their degree completion.
Prospective Chinese Students
Current and potential Chinese majors should be aware of your major requirements as you are planning a study abroad experience:
Chinese majors can study abroad at any time during their academic career. We recommend meeting with the undergraduate advisor, Rachel Weiss, early in your academic career to discuss your intent to study abroad and plan classes accordingly.
Attend the Study Abroad Fair or visit the Program Search on the International Academic Programs (IAP) website to get an idea of what programs are available to you. Schedule a meeting with advisors at IAP to learn more about your study abroad program options.
The ALC Undergraduate Advisor can meet with students currently studying abroad, using Skype. Schedule an advising appointment using Starfish.
Chinese Course Considerations Abroad
Language courses: Many programs abroad offer many levels and types of language classes. In most cases, you will have a placement test at the institution you attend—and will be placed into the recommended class. At UW, no matter what class you place into, you will get credit for the next course in your sequence of study, i.e., if you last studied 2nd Semester Chinese on campus, you will get 3rd Semester Chinese for the first language course you take abroad. For other language classes, such as Conversational or Business, etc. these may be a direct equivalency to the UW course—or may not. It is important to check with the Undergraduate Advisor, or Chinese Language Faculty, about these options.
Content courses (or Electives): Most programs will offer you a wide variety of elementary and intermediate Chinese studies elective courses. Keep in mind that Advanced level courses; and L&S General Ed requirements can be more difficult to find.
Many Chinese majors study abroad at multiple times in their academic career at UW-Madison; what classes you choose earlier in your major – or later in your major will vary greatly. Students who are double majoring in Chinese have discovered that fulfilling Chinese studies electives while abroad is very helpful to completing an additional major.
Mapping Your Study Abroad Experience as a Chinese Major
Current and prospective majors should consult the recommended four-year planning guide for the Chinese major. You should be aware that this is only a suggested plan and there is flexibility in this plan. It is always best to meet with the undergraduate advisor, Rachel Weiss, to develop a plan that is unique to you. We work hard to make study abroad a viable option for all students.
This is a good time to get a foundation in beginning or elementary-level language classes, and introductory or elementary-level Chinese studies electives.
Second year students should continue with intermediate-level language classes, and look to take intermediate-level Chinese studies electives.
Third year students, depending on level, will continue with intermediate-advanced-language classes, and consider taking intermediate-advanced level Chinese studies electives.
For final year students planning to graduate abroad, it is critical to know where you stand with your L&S General Education requirements prior to studying abroad. It can be challenging to find Com B, Ethnic Studies, and Social Science requirements in foreign institutions. Make sure to review the pre-approved courses (those classes that have been approved by the department for other students in the major) for each institution. If you know you have required courses: either for the major or L&S, please consult the undergraduate advisor well in advance of your plans to study abroad.
There have been Chinese majors who successfully complete their degree program abroad. They mostly continue studying advanced language, and may complete a directed study towards their Advanced major requirement with an ALC faculty member while abroad.
Questions to Ask
Your Academic Advisor
- What classes must I complete for my degree (breadth/depth, major requirements, etc.)?
- Do I need to be on UW-Madison’s campus for any courses in my major?
- How many electives do I have outside of my major?
Your Study Abroad Advisor
- What classes can I take abroad?
- How and when do I select courses for my program?
- When will I know course equivalents for my program?
- What is the class structure like abroad?
- What happens if the language class I place into feels too easy/too hard, what are my steps to change levels?
- What is the housing situation like: dorm, home-stay, apartment?
- Can I talk to a student who went on this program?
Identifying Programs That are Right for You
We encourage you to explore all programs offered by IAP and consider which program is the best fit for you. You might consider where the programs are located (city or rural), who would you live with (independently, dormitory, or home-stay), how much you want to be on a program with other UW-students—or—a mix of international students from universities world-wide. Of course cost and timing are other major considerations for choosing the program that is right for you.
Below is a brief list of programs that have been most popular among Chinese majors. This is not an exhaustive list of all programs, so feel free to explore all your options with IAP and find the program that fits your interests best! Keep in mind that some programs do offer more non-Chinese specific courses than what you might find in the course equivalency listing, so be sure to check the subjects offered on a program for a more in-depth look. You are always free to work with IAP to submit syllabi though your study abroad portal for department review:
This program is organized by Chinese faculty in ALC
China, Tianjin UW Intensive Chinese Language (Summer)
These programs are all UW Approved programs
China, Beijing CIEE Intensive Chinese Language in Beijing (Fall, Spring, Year)
China, Beijing CIEE Sustainability and Development in Beijing (Fall, Spring)
China, Harbin CET Intensive Chinese Language in Harbin (Fall, Spring)
China, Hong Kong Chinese University of Hong Kong Exchange (Fall, Spring, Year, Summer)
China, Hong Kong University of Hong Kong Exchange (Fall, Spring, Year, Summer)
China, Shanghai CIEE Accelerated Chinese Language in Shanghai (Fall, Spring, Year)
Singapore National University of Singapore Exchange (Fall, Spring, Year)
Taiwan, Taipei National Taiwan University Exchange (Fall, Spring, Year)
Search all IAP programs
Research all programs using the IAP Program Search page. The above is not an exhaustive list of all programs that offer Chinese courses. There may be other programs that are a better fit for your individual needs or interests.
We are aware that students sometimes opt to participate in programs that are not sponsored or supported by IAP. If you are considering such a program, it is important to understand that you will not be considered in residence on campus, and any credits taken while abroad may not count for UW-Madison credit. There is a process whereby you can request approval, but this is a case-by-case decision and requires planning in advance of your travel. Please review information here.
Note about China: Previously summer programs in China required certification from the China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center (CHESICC) in order to be eligible for course transfer. CHESICC is no longer providing certification for summer programs in China. Therefore, summer courses taken at Chinese universities will not be eligible for transfer credit.