Study Away

Summer Program in China

This annual nine-week program is open to all Vassar students. It runs from late May to late July. Based on participating students the program will offer, in a particular year, any of the elementary, intermediate, and advanced courses taught by the faculty members of the Institute of International Education of Qingdao University, who specialize in teaching Chinese as a second language. Based on his/her actual level, a student can take one of the four language courses – Chinese 105-106, Chinese 205-206, Chinese 305-306, Chinese 340-341 in combination with the culture course Chinese 201 – earning three units of credit, in addition to two mini-courses of Chinese calligraphy and martial arts which are open to all participating students. Each language course consists of the following aspects:

  1. Four hours of intensive language instruction each morning on weekdays;
  2. One hour of one-on-one oral practice with a native Chinese college student most afternoons
  3. One to two weeks of home stay with a Chinese family;
  4. Weekend excursions to cultural sites: Beijing (Forbidden City, Great Wall, Beijing streets), Confucius’ Residence, Temple and Tomb, Mount Laoshan (Taoist Mountain), Yisiling Vineyard, Qingdao Brewery, Old and New Qingdao including museums, architecture, markets, residential areas, a variety of stores and restaurants, etc.;
  5. Interactive recreational activities with Chinese faculty members and students;
  6. Adequate amount of time for students’ self-study and attending mini-courses on culture.
  7. An opportunity for individual students to visit other areas of China on their own after the program ends.

With a full immersion in a Chinese environment, a student can achieve the same amount of language training that an on-campus whole-year language course can offer, especially in speaking and hearing skills. In addition to the achievement of the language skills at a certain level, a student will have first-hand experience with Chinese people, their society and culture, which will have far-reaching significance in his/her personal and academic growth.

The program provides an opportunity for individual students to fulfill the one-year foreign language requirement or the Chinese language requirements and achieve language skills at the same time. With a satisfactory completion of one session in the summer program, a student can continue to study the language at a higher level the following fall semester. With such a program, it is possible for a student who started their study of Chinese language in his/her sophomore or junior year to fulfill the requirement for a Chinese Correlate or the language requirement for a Chinese Major or other majors, (such as Asian Studies and International Studies) which count the language toward their requirements. The summer program in China would also make it possible for a student to fulfill his/her desire to study in China while reserving his/her junior year for study abroad in another country. With opportunities to take summer courses as letter-graded Vassar credits, students who are deeply interested in Chinese language studies can devote more time during the school year to their other academic interests.

Summer Language and Culture Program in Japan

Vassar College offers an eight-week summer language and culture program at Ochanomizu University, starting in early June and continuing through the end of July. This program provides a combination of intensive language training and cultural immersion in Tokyo, Japan’s capital.

The program is open to all Vassar students. Different levels of Japanese language courses are offered in a particular year based on the needs of the participants. These courses count towards both the Major and Correlate Sequence in Japanese at Vassar College, or majors in other multidisciplinary programs where Japanese language courses can be counted. Students can also use these courses to fulfill the College’s one-year foreign language requirement. The classes meet three hours a day, Monday through Friday. During the afternoons, the students can participate in the university’s cultural activities, such as traditional Japanese dance, tea ceremony, and flower arrangement. On the weekends, the program organizes excursions to nearby cultural sites. The students live in Ochanomizu University’s dormitory or in carefully selected private homes, where they have daily interaction with native Japanese people. For more information, consult the Department of Chinese and Japanese.

For additional information about studying abroad, visit

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