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Chinese Learning in the Culture - Tier I
Beijing, China; Qingdao, China; Shandong, China (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Courses Offered: Click here to view
Eligibility: Please see below for requirements.
Budget Sheets: Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Chinese, English
Language Requirements:
Program Type:
USF Sponsored
Level of Study:
Open to:
Non-USF Applicants, USF Students Only
Credit Offered:
USF Credit
Program Advisor:
Krissy Loveman
Sponsoring College:
Arts and Sciences
Program Primary Subject:
Languages and Applied Linguistics
Program Description:

Chinese Learning in the Culture Tier I
Summer 2016


Program Overview

CLIC is a nine-week intensive intermediate Chinese language program geared towards living and interacting in Chinese cultural contexts. The program begins with a pre-departure orientation to be conducted at USF during the preceding spring semester.

The in-country program begins with a one-week study tour in Beijing.  The Beijing tour is followed by a one-week in-country orientation designed to help students orient themselves to their new physical surroundings and cultural environment. The remainder of the program consists of a six-week intensive training session followed by a one-week study tour that takes students to a range of sites of cultural and historical significance in Shandong Province.

The six-weeks of coursework are completed at Ocean University of China (OUC) in Qingdao, a city renowned for its natural beauty and breathtaking seaside scenery.  Past local activities have included traditional performances, tours of the Tsing-tao Brewery, visits to the Qingdao Sculpture Museum, the Qingdao History Museum, the Jimo Road Small Goods Market, the Shilaoren scenic area, Buddhist temples at Mt. Lao, and tours of the Haier and Coca Cola plants.

*2 semesters of Chinese study (or the equivalent) are required in order to participate in Tier I.

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How to Apply

  • Start an application by clicking "Apply Now" at the top of this page. 
  • Submitting an application is free
  • The application can be started, saved, and completed over time.
  • This study abroad program has a limited number of spots. Plan ahead by submitting the application early. 
  • You are not financially liable for this program until you click "commit" in your application portal after you have been accepted into the program. 

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tier 1 map


Because every place in China is at least a bilingual environment (some version of Mandarin and at least one local dialect), students also need to be trained in the process of adapting to different variations of Mandarin. Thus, our program will be located outside of Beijing or Shanghai, which abound with large foreign enclaves and significant numbers of English language speakers.  The Program will be located in Qingdao, a rapidly growing port city on the southern coast of China's Shandong Province, on the Yellow Sea midway between Beijing and Shanghai. 

Qingdao has seen explosive but sustained economic growth and commercial development over the twenty-five year period since China began its Reform and Opening Up policies. Since 1992 when the city was given provincial level status in terms of economic planning and funding, Qingdao has been transformed into one of north China's most important economic, shipping and trade hubs. The city's GDP nearly doubled from 62 billion RMB (7.6 billion USD) in 1995 to more than 115 billion RMB (14.04 billion USD) in 2000 while during the same five-year period retail volume soared from 17.1 billion RMB (2.09 billion USD) to 30.8 billion RMB (3.76 billion USD) and foreign trade skyrocketed from 3.764 billion USD to 10.8 billion USD or 43.2% of the total trade volume for Shandong Province. Qingdao's economy has sustained at least double digit growth rates for more than twenty years and by 2007 the per capita GDP had reached $7,136, among the top tier cities in China.

Amidst this rapid economic and industrial development, through conscious efforts of the municipal government, Qingdao, unlike the majority of developing areas, has been able to successfully preserve the beauty of its miles of golden beaches and breathtaking coastline (Qingdao is an annual leader in the competition for China's Cleanliest City award). This fact coupled with the area's comfortable summer weather has not gone unnoticed as millions of Chinese and international tourists flock to Qingdao's countless resorts and villas each year to escape the unbearable heat and pollution found in inland cities. Qingdao has a relatively pollution-free environment, mild coastal climate (average annual temperature of 25 degrees Celsius), cool ocean breezes from the Yellow Sea, abundant sunshine, and modern city infrastructure.

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Host Institution

Ocean University

Ocean University in China

Academic Program and Course Information

The program will provide students with 8 USF credits.  

Through coursework and guided interaction in the local community, the curriculum of the USF intermediate language program provides participants with instruction that leads to the following primary goals:

  1. Develop a more solid foundation in modern Chinese language,
  2. Gain an understanding of modern Chinese cultural expectations,
  3. Create opportunities for participants to gain invaluable experience in meaningful intercultural interaction in live contexts,
  4. Assist participants in reaching a level of comfort in Chinese culture.

The USF in China curriculum is designed to take full advantage of the in-country environment and thus addresses aspects of language learning unique to the China specific setting. This set of courses is not designed to replicate coursework that can be offered at USF and should not be substituted for courses that are offered in Tampa. Speaking, listening, social interaction, and culture are the primary targets but practical uses of reading and writing will also be addressed. Our focus is "doing things in Chinese" in live Chinese cultural contexts and the underlying theme of our in-country curriculum is "interacting in Chinese society as an American." Core courses are supplemented by a Language Clinic (see below), a lecture series, and participation in local cultural and social activities.

Three primary courses form the core of the intermediate program curriculum:

1) CHI 4930 Engaging Chinese Culture (3 credits)

2) CHI 1955 Overseas Study (3 credits)

3) CHI 4930 Practical Reading and Writing (2 credits)

Language Clinic

Staffed by local instructors selected and trained by USF faculty, the language clinic is a tutorial period staffed by trained language teachers that is available to students every afternoon. Students sign up for personalized instruction in areas of weakness, to get assistance with things from all classes, and to practice content and structures covered in all classes. Language class instructors frequently give assignments or specific tasks for students to work on with Language Clinic instructors.

Community Activities

Students work with instructors to maximize use of out-of-class time by arranging a set of required tasks that help students to interact in the local community. In addition, USF in China staff create opportunities for students to take part in community activities such as promotional events for local companies, local festivals, trade fairs, and holiday events.

Credit Type

Students enrolled in this program will be enrolled in direct USF credit.

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Travel Documentation

Students traveling to China on this program must have a passport valid for 6 months beyond the last date of travel (see A visa is required to go to China. In order to process Chinese visa paperwork, students must have their passport by March. The Education Abroad Office will assist students in obtaining visas. For more information, see the Department of State webpage for China. Non U.S. citizens are responsible for inquiring about additional passport validity and visa requirements.

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Eric Shepherd is the professor leading the Chinese language program at USF. He has worked in China and developed highly successful Chinese language programs at USF since August 2008.

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Program Costs

2016 Program Fee: $6766

Program Fee Includes:

  • Tuition for 8 credits ($1387)
  • Visa fees
  • Pre-departure orientation and on-site orientation programs
  • Double occupancy accommodations (shared with Chinese student)
  • Texts and materials
  • Welcome and closing dinner
  • International Medical and Evacuation Insurance
  • 24/7 support via the Education Abroad International Assistance Line

Program Fee Does NOT Include:

  • Vaccinations
  • International airfare
  • Most meals 
  • Optional trip cancellation/travel insurance

Please note that this is a conservative estimate and is not intended to cover costs related to cell phone usage, nor does it provide funds for entertainment (meals in restaurants etc.) or personal spending (gifts and souvenirs, which depending on taste and quality can be expensive).

Payment Schedule:
  1. Upon Commitment - $500 deposit
  2. 90 days before departure - 25% of program fee exclusive of tuition is due
  3. 60 days before departure - 75% of program fee exclusive of tuition is due
  4. 30 days before departure - 100% of program fee exclusive of tuition is due
  5. Tuition is due at the time on-campus tuition is normally due for the term
Post-Commitment Cancellation Policy:
  • You are liable for $100 plus non-recoverable program costs if you cancel at least 91 days prior to departure.*
  • You are liable for $300 plus non-recoverable program costs if you cancel 61 to 90 days prior to departure.*
  • You are liable for up to 100% of the program fee if you cancel 60 days or less prior to departure.*
*Education Abroad will assess on a case-by-case basis the non-recoverable costs of the program for which the student is liable.

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Living Arrangements

Throughout the course of the program, US-based participants are paired with Chinese participants as roommates. The roommate arrangement forces participants to encounter aspects of cultural differences that they would otherwise not encounter. It also places students in situations in which they have to face cultural and behavioral differences much more quickly than in other instructional formats. In this format, students face culture shock immediately and can begin the difficult process of adjusting during the first two weeks of the program rather than later.  Roommate conflicts then provide practical experience to rely upon and live contexts within which participants can test out the skills and strategies for relationship management discussed in the Socializing in China and America course.

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Who Can Participate?

This program is open to both USF and non-USF students of all majors who can demonstrate an intermediate level of Chinese.  USF students should have successfully completed both Chinese I and II.

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How and When to Pay

Please click here for further details regarding payment.

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Student With Kid/Newspaper

Getting There

You will be responsible for reserving and purchasing your international transportation to Qingdao.  Once the program has reached its minimum enrollment of 15 people, Dr Shepherd will provide students with a suggested flight itinerary and directions for arrival to Qingdao.  Students will be met at the airport and transferred to the dormitory.

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Medical Insurance

USF provides program participants with sickness/accident and emergency medical evacuation insurance valid for the dates of the program.  Those who will travel independently, either in advance of the program or after the program ends, must ensure that they have insurance coverage valid outside the U.S.

Please click here for more detailed information.

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Financial Aid and Scholarship Funding

There are many ways to fund your study abroad experience. It is never too early to research your options, start applying to scholarships, and save your money.

  • USF Education Abroad Administered Scholarships are partial scholarships awarded on a competitive basis to degree-seeking USF students. Please note that these scholarships are never guaranteed, and awards can only help pay for a portion of your total costs. We highly encourage you to apply to many other scholarships.
  • USF has an Office of National Scholarships that helps students find scholarships of all kinds. You can create a profile on their website and let them help you find a scholarship that can be used for study abroad.
  • Florida Pre-Paid and Bright Futures can also be applied towards study abroad. Learn more here.
  • Financial aid can be applied towards study abroad. Please make an appoint with a Financial Aid Advisor to see if you are eligible.
  • If you are an Honors College student, you can inquire about their scholarships opportunities. 
  • Ask your Academic Department if they offer any scholarships for students who study abroad.
  • We have very informative Study Abroad Funding Sessions throughout the year. Please check our calendar of events on a regular basis to find out about future sessions.
  • The USF Federal Credit Union has loans especially for study abroad. Please note that this is a loan for which you must pay back to the Union with interest. 
Bulls in Asia
USF Bulls in Asia:

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Safety & Health

Participant's safety and well-being are paramount to USF. Please click here for detailed country-specific safety and health information given in our Country Study Report. Make sure to read up on country-specific information on the U.S. Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.  Because of the added stresses associated with operating in a foreign culture and language, even the safest foreign locations are likely to carry more risk to your safety and health.  For this reason it is vital that you learn as much about the places you will be traveling to; the more you are familiar with the host country's geography, culture and language, the safer you will be.  All participants will be required to attend a general study abroad orientation as well as program-specific orientations.  In addition to these sessions, you should consult the USF Safety Website as well as the websites listed below that provide useful information regarding your host country, and preparation for your international travel.

Personal Safety:

For the typical traveler China is a safe country with low-crime rates and very few reported instances of violence against foreigners.  US citizens are viewed as being wealthy and may be targeted for petty theft.  Increased violence with foreigners is seen near night clubs and other drinking establishments.  As the US State Department website reports:

"Simple arguments can turn into mob scenes and many times have resulted in the American being detained for hours for questioning with no right to an attorney or consular officer at that stage.  Bar fights are often punished by administrative detention in a local jail for up to two weeks, usually followed by deportation."

Particularly in China, it is very important for you to observe the laws of the country, as the US Embassy has little way of assisting US citizens who are detained by the police.

As the US State Department website relates:

"Terrorism is rare in China, although a small number of bombings have occurred in areas throughout China.  Recent bombings have generally been criminal in nature, frequently the result of commercial disputes.  The vast majority of these local incidents related to disputes over land seizures, social issues or environmental problems.  While some incidents have grown to larger scales and involved some violence, these incidents have not been directed against foreigners."

Health and Fitness Requirements:

The majority of USF's study abroad programs involve a great deal of walking, and in some cases hiking and trekking. The Chinese Learning in the Culture program depends largely on walking around the cities.

While Qingdao is comparatively pollution free, those individuals who have any respiratory conditions (asthma) should consult with their doctors prior to travelling. If you have any concerns regarding your health (mental or physical), please consult your doctor, your program director, and the staff of Education Abroad prior to the program.

Generally, the weather in Qingdao from May-July can be quite warm, humid and even hot in July. As it is affected by monsoons, rain should also be expected. Air conditioning is not readily available in most facilities.

Travel & Health Links:

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Special Terms

Students should understand that the program itinerary/schedule is subject to change at the discretion of USF.

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Program Photos


Group On Great Wall

Contacts for More Information

Questions regarding study abroad program enrollment, registration and payment of fees:

Krissy Loveman
Education Abroad, CGS 101

Questions pertaining to the academic program or credits:

Professor Eric Shepherd
Department of World Languages
Phone: (813) 974-3259

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This program is currently not accepting applications.