Study Abroad Greater China 2018 in Beijing, Central China, Shanghai, and Taiwan / UTRGV SA Summer I

Posted by: Ping

Studying abroad isn’t just a fun way to spend a semester – it’s quickly becoming the key to success in our global economy.”
– Michelle Obama

Study abroad is a crucial part of a well-rounded higher education. The SAC 2018 trip will include excursions to Beijing, Shanghai, Central China, and Taiwan which will give your 2018 summer an unforgettable memory.

Enshi Grand Canyon | Photo Source:

Great Wall Simatai | Photo Source:

Shanghai at Night | Photo Source: Internet

Hongcun, Anhui, China | Photo Credit: Yu Le – Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, China

Taipei at Night | Photo Credit: Ping Xu


Poster Design: Ping Xu
Download Study Abroad China 2018 Poster (13″X19″)

Download Study Abroad China 2018 Poster (11″X17″)
Download Study Abroad China 2018 Flyer

Faculty-led Study Abroad Greater China 2018
Study Abroad Greater China Trip in Chinese Mainland: May 14 – June 29, 2018
Study Abroad Greater China Trip in Taiwan:
June 30 – July 27, 2018 (Optional)

ARTS-4337 Digital Photography | CRN: 61577
ARTS-4388 Special Topics Studio / Visual Travel Journal | CRN: 61576
ARTS-4388 Special Topics Studio II / Chinese Calligraphy |
ARTS-4391 Individual Probs / Advertising Internship |
ARTS-6387 Special Topics Studio I (Digital Photography) |
CRN: 61577
for Graduate Students
ARTS-6387 Special Topics Studio II (Visual Travel Journal) |
CRN: 61576
for Graduate Students
CHIN-1311 Beginning Chinese |
CHIN-2311 Intermediate Chinese |

Eligibility: No prerequisite required

China Trip Application Deadline: January 31, 2017

Program Description:

It is a six-week Summer I study abroad trip at Beijing, Shanghai, and Central China in Chinese mainland. Students may participate without prior knowledge of photography and Chinese language. We offer multiple course plans at a very affordable price. After completing the Study Abroad courses in mainland China, students will be eligible to join an optional 4-week English Camp in Taiwan for free.

Course Introduction:

ARTS-4337 Digital Photography: 3 credit hours | Capacity: 15
_taught by UTRGV’s School of Arts professor Ping Xu | Download syllabus here
> May 14 – June 29, 2018
ARTS 4337 class is a digital photography course. Students will learn how to visually communicate their ideas in a creative manner. Students will also learned how to set up lighting and shoot models in a professional lighting studio, and to use Adobe image retouching software to edit photos. The effective integration of traditional and digital photographic elements is of particular emphasis in this course. The structure of the class includes landscape and portrait photography, lectures, demonstrations in lighting studio, and project development.

By the end of the course the students will:

1. get familiar with raw format images for digital photography.
2. get familiar with digital imagery for digital print reproduction technology.
3. get the ability to explore visual languages through a variety of image editing software.
4. gain the skills of critical thinking and problem solving through digital photography.

ARTS-4388 Special Topics Studio / Visual Travel Journal: 3 credit hours | Capacity: 15
_taught by UTRGV’s School of Arts professor Robert Gilbert
> May 14 – June 29, 2018
ARTS-4388 is a visual storytelling assignment. Students will be required to keep a separate working journal where they recorded impressions, thoughts and experiences. Short pieces of writing were to be developed and paired with photos, drawings, digital tools and found art. And then, after returning to UTRGV, the students’ final project was to print their travel journals in booklet form.

ARTS-4388 Special Topics Studio II / Chinese Calligraphy: 1 credit hour | Capacity: 15
_taught by Shanghai University professor
> June 2 – 29, 2018

Chinese calligraphy, as one of the most glorious traditional arts in China, is the unique artistic form of Chinese characters. By using a writing brush, Chinese calligraphy expresses the writer’s learning and cultivation, thoughts and feelings, and character and ideology through the changing movements of dots and lines.
Chinese calligraphy has a long history of over 3000 years. It embodies the five thousand–year Chinese cultural accumulation and implies the strong flavor of Chinese nationality’s calligraphy reflects the connotation of the Chinese philosophy and incorporates the aesthetic properties of Chinese music, dancing and painting etc.

By the end of the course the students will:

  • gain the skill to write the typical Chinese calligraphy radicals
  • gain knowledge of and be able to recognize:
    > the “seal” style character
    > the “official” style character
  • be able to write the formal style character
  • know how to use the Chinese writing brush, paper, ink and ink stone.

After successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  • identify Chinese in written character
  • demonstrate many written Chinese characters
  • identify both the seal and official style in Chinese character
    apply their knowledge of how to use the Chinese writing instruments

ARTS-4391 Special Problems / Advertising Internship: 3 credit hours | Capacity: 8
> June 2 – 29, 2018
_Open to graphic design students and communication students only
_mentored by UTRGV School of Arts professors
_supervised by art directors in TBWA Worldwide and McCann Worldgroup
Preparing students for the real world, Advertising internships can help Graphic Design students identify career paths and shape their future. We effort in association with UTRGV’s Study Abroad office, to take UTRGV Graphic Design students and communication students to China and arrange a four week internship in a world leading advertising agency Shanghai branch, such as TBWA Worldwide and McCann Worldgroup, is scheduled.

CHIN-1311 Beginning Chinese: 3 credit hours | Capacity: 20
> June 2 – 29, 2018
_taught by Shanghai University professor
> Course credit approval form by advisor
> Transfer evaluation form by chair & dean. Every student needs the form to be signed by Dr. Block if the student comes from College of Fine Arts.
Please contact College of Fine Arts secretary at or your dean office to set up time for dropping off form and picking it up after the form is signed by your dean.
Please contact School of Art secretary at or your department office to set up time for dropping off form and picking it up after the form is signed by your department chair or school director.

This course is designed to enhance 0-level students’ abilities to speak and write Chinese. It starts from the pinyin, then goes forward step by step, involving the most frequently used words and sentence patterns in Chinese vocabulary and grammar, and the most fundamental communication activities in daily life. Includes an introduction to Chinese culture. The course will focus on listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students who begin to learn Chinese are applicable to this course. The course will give the students understanding of Chinese through various teaching methods, i.e. lectures on vocabulary and texts, presentation on given topics, homework and assignments, dictation, etc.
Timely attendance and class participation are essential to the course. Homework and dictation assignments will be assigned for each lesson. One quiz and one test, both will be comprehensive. By the end of the semester students will:

• Be able to demonstrate basic speaking abilities.
• Be able to read and write simple passages.
• Be able to know more about modern life in China

CHIN-2311 Intermediate Chinese: 3 credit hours | Capacity: 20
> June 2 – 29, 2018
_taught by Shanghai University professor

The Chinese course develops students’ basic communication competence in Mandarin Chinese with a focus on listening and speaking, and in simplified Chinese with reading and writing, and their understanding of Chinese culture. The language course will be conducted in Chinese and English.

Students will mainly focus on improving their Chinese pronunciation and tones, learning new grammar patterns and practicing the newly learned grammar and vocabulary. Organized in-class activities include daily dictation, quizzes, memorizing text and completing oral exercises such as retelling stories, making up dialogues, giving presentations, and performing skits. The class helps students strengthen their skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The topics in the textbook cover the most commonly used. The class is designed for 4 weeks. Students are expected to learn at least 20 new Chinese words every class day. Students should be able to function in Chinese in their daily life with good confidence and to hold conversations with local Chinese people on most common topics, such as talking about Chinese culture, food, and customs. In addition, with some high level vocabularies, students can also talk about some social issues.

Teaching Internship in Taiwan (an optional free trip for students who join the China trip)

> June 30 – July 27, 2018
• U.S. Citizen and native English speaker
• Join one of the art courses through the Study Abroad China trip
• Join one of the Chinese courses through the Study Abroad China trip
The Taiwan Annual English Camp is customized for UTRGV students who join the Study Abroad China trip in mainland China. It is free of charge to UTRGV students who meet the prerequisite. It is a teaching opportunity and an additional study abroad program only available to our UTRGV China trip participants! UTRGV English Department will provide a 4 hour crash session to students about how to teach an ESL class overseas.

Study Abroad China 2018 Course Options


  1. Receive academic credits through
    > studying digital imaging courses during the trip and gaining 3-6 academic credits
    > studying a Chinese language course in Shanghai University, and gaining 3 academic credits
    > joining an internship program for Graphic Design students in a world leading advertising agency Shanghai branch, and gaining 3 academic credits and/or an internship experience
  2. Meet Chinese students and Chinese people through multiple partner school visits
  3. Visit world famous historical sites and UNESCO World Heritage Sites through multiple excursions
  4. Experience various types of authentic Chinese cuisine when traveling different parts of China
  5. Gain an increased awareness of the ongoing changes in Chinese society through our exchange cultural activities
  6. Gain a teaching experience overseas though our additional Taiwan trip

Why Study Abroad in Greater China

China represents a vast territory with a population in excess of 1.3 billion and boasts more than 5,000 years of uninterrupted civilization. Dramatic landscapes filled with mountains, deserts, steppes, and rivers, combined with a rich culture, booming economy, and ancient history, make China an unforgettable study abroad destination. Whether you want to improve your Chinese language skills, explore multiple cities and remarkable national parks, or take a graphic design class in China, Summer Study Abroad 2018 offers the memorable experience studying in China at a very affordable price.

1) Learn from China’s development
2) Enhance your global experience
3) Improve your career prospects
4) Learn Mandarin Chinese and Simplified Chinese
5) Discover Chinese culture
6) Gain an advertising internship in a world leading advertising agency
7) Gain a teaching experience in Taiwan

China Trip Itinerary:

5/14 M: Depart from McAllen to Beijing
5/15 Tu: Arrive Beijing and Central Academy of Fine Arts
5/16 W: Exchange Activities at CAFA
5/17 Th: Great Wall Simatai, Hebei
5/18 F: Songzhuang Artist Colony in Hebei / Shichahai in Beijing
5/19 S: Tian’anmen Square / Forbidden City / Summer Palace, Beijing
5/20 S: Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) / Panjiayuan Antique Market, Beijing
5/20 S: 1:05 pm leave Beijing to Hengyang through 7h fast-speed bullet train

5/20 S: Central China Tour Begins / Arrive Hengyang, Hunan
5/21 M: Orientation / Welcome Banquet / Sightseeing of Hengyang City
5/22 Tu: Class of ARTS-4337 Digital Photography & ARTS-4388 Visual Travel Journal
5/23 W: Class of ARTS-4337 Digital Photography & ARTS-4388 Visual Travel Journal
5/24 Th: Class of ARTS-4337 Digital Photography & ARTS-4388 Visual Travel Journal
5/25 F: Class of ARTS-4337 Digital Photography & ARTS-4388 Visual Travel Journal
5/26 S: Class of ARTS-4337 Digital Photography & ARTS-4388 Visual Travel Journal
5/27 S: Mount Heng National Park
5/28 M: Class of ARTS-4337 Digital Photography & ARTS-4388 Visual Travel Journal

5/29 Tu: Excursion of Enshi Grand Canyon, Hubei
Fast-speed bullet train: Hengyang > Changsha > Enshi
5/30 W: Excursion of Enshi Grand Canyon
5/31 Th: Excursion of Shennongjia

6/1 F: Excursion of Shennongjia & Three Gorges Dam
6/2 S: Excursion of Three Gorges Great Falls
6/2 S: Return to Hengyang
Fast-speed bullet train: Yichang > Changsha > Hengyang
6/3 S: 1:30pm Leave Hengyang to Shanghai through 6h fast-speed bullet train

6/3 S: 7:30pm Arrive Shanghai
6/4 M: Chinese Summer Camp Begins / Orientation & SHU Campus Tour
6/5-8: Chinese Classes & Advertising Internship

6/9 S: Sightseeing of Shanghai (Shanghai Oriental Tower, SWFC Tower, Bund, and River Cruise)
6/10 S: City God Temple / Yu Garden + Shanghai Museum
6/11-14: Chinese Classes & Advertising Internship
6/15 F: Shanghai Disneyland
6/16 S: Tianzifang & Jade Buddhist Temple
6/17 S: Sunday
6/18-22: Chinese Classes & Advertising Internship
6/23-24: Wu Zhen & Hangzhou, Zhejiang
6/25-26: Ancient Villages: Xidi & Hongcun, Anhui

6/27-28: Chinese Classes & Advertising Internship
6/29 F: Closing Ceremony of Chinese Classes & Thank You Banquet to SHU Faculty
6/30 S: Summer I Ends / Back to USA (or participate your additional trip to Taiwan)

6/30 S: Arrive Taipei
7/1 S: Sunday

7/2 M: English Summer Camp begins / Orientation
7/2-6: English Summer Camp: Period-1
7/9-13: English Summer Camp: Period-2
7/16-20: English Summer Camp: Period-3
7/23-25: English Summer Camp: Period-4
7/26 Th: Taipei City Sightseeing
7/27 F: Taiwan English Camp Ends

During the first week of the trip, students will tour the Chinese capital city Beijing and neighbor province Hebei; the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace, Panjiayuan Antique Market, sites of Olympic 2008, and one of UTRGV’s new partner schools Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), the only art academy of higher learning directly under the Ministry of Education, where is located in Beijing and Hebei, China. The Art Academy enrolls about 8,000 full-time students. During three day staying at CAFA, CAFA will arrange an interactive session between students and faculty from UTRGV and CAFA. In addition, we will visit senior student exhibition from CAFA School of Design, and explore a local artist colony.

The Study Abroad team will arrive Hengyang, the second largest city of Hunan province, on May 20. As one of the partner schools of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Hengyang Normal University is a public, comprehensive normal (liberal arts) university located in the city of Hengyang, China. The University enrolls about 20,000 full-time students. After arriving Hunan province, students will begin the lecture hours and lab hours for either ARTS-4337 Digital Photography or ARTS-4388 Visual Travel Journal in Hengyang Normal University’s digital labs and lighting studio. After completing the course, a photography exhibition will be taken place in both U.S. and China.

In the final five days of the trip of Central China, students will travel to Enshi and Shennongjia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Hubei province through fast speed bullet train. After completing the China trip in the central China area (Hunan and Hubei) in the beginning of June, the team will visit Chinese biggest city and financial center Shanghai, and reside in the international student dorm of UTRGV’s new partner school, Shanghai University. During our four week stay in Shanghai University, students will take one or more Chinese courses and will be arranged for other program activities:

  • Chinese language course
  • Chinese calligraphy course
  • Advertising internship
  • Excursions for weekend days
    > Sightseeing in multiple cities
    > Multiple museums in Shanghai (and Taipei)
    > Shanghai Disneyland
    > Evening Tours of Downtown Shanghai
    > Excursion to Zhejiang Province
    > Excursion to Anhui Province

Example of excursion in Shanghai:
Enjoy a night in Shanghai by starting a 90-minute night cruise on beautiful Huangpu River where you can see amazing city skyline and landmarks, such as Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center Shanghai Tower, Shanghai Tower (the second tallest building in the world) and more! The city view along the Bund area in the evening is the most prosperous, which you shouldn’t miss out.

Experiencing Chinese Culture

Through visiting the following UNESCO World Heritage Sites,

  1. Great Wall Simatai
  2. Forbidden City
  3. Summer Palace
  4. Temple of Heaven
  5. Shennongjia
  6. West Lake
  7. Xidi Village
  8. Hongcun Village

and through the Study Abroad Greater China trip, students will gain knowledge of the Chinese culture and will experience personal contact with Chinese students from Central Academy of Fine Arts, Hengyang Normal University, Shanghai University, and Chinese common people and their daily life. Students would also meet Taiwanese people and learn Taiwanese culture through our additional free trip in Taiwan.

From Chinese capital city Beijing to commercial center Shanghai, from central China’s provinces to Taiwan, students will also taste variety of Chinese cuisine styles such as Beijing cuisine, Chinese Islamic cuisine, Hunan cuisine, Shanghai cuisine, and Taiwanese cuisine, and experience authentic Chinese food in Chinese mainland and Taiwan.


  • In Beijing
    Students will reside in the International Student Dormitory of China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) during the excursion of Beijing.
  • In Hunan
    After arriving Hengyang of Human province, students will reside in an off-campus 3.5 star hotel which is equipped with air condition, TV, Wifi, tables, chair, and bed in a two bedroom with bathroom. Breakfast is available for free. Several cafeterias in campus are available for students. McDonalds, KFC, and Pizzahut are available in the city as well.
  • In Shanghai
    Students will reside in the International Student Dormitory of Shanghai University’s downtown campus during the 4 week travel in Shanghai. (two people share a two-bed room)
  • In Taiwan
    Students will reside in a host family each week during the 4 week travel in Taiwan.

Cost of the Program:
Around $2,800 USD (Excluding international flight tickets (McAllen – Beijing / Shanghai – Taipei / Taipei – McAllen).
The detailed cost sheet will be available after you submit your application package.

The cost of program includes:

  1. Fast-speed bullet train tickets from Beijing to Hengyang, and from Hengyang to Shanghai.
  2. Round trip fast-speed bullet train tickets for the excursion of Hubei: Hengyang – Changsha – Enshi
  3. Expenses of excursions in Beijing, Hebei, Hunan, Hubei, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Anhui, and Taipei.
  4. Meals, hotel, dorm expenses, and transportation in Beijing, Hunan, Hubei, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Anhui, and Taiwan, plus entry fees to all UNESCO World Heritage Sites, national parks, historical sites, and scenic sites.
  5. International travel insurance.

Because both ARTS-4337 and ARTS-4388 are photography related classes, students need to take pictures for their visual travel journal project and/or digital photography projects everyday. A DSLR Camera or a Mirrorless Camera is required for joining either ARTS-4337 or ARTS-4388 classes, and an additional tripod is required for joining ARTS-4337 Digital Photography class.

Application Package:

Faculty Led Study Abroad China Trip – Online Application
The online application of UTRGV Study Abroad programs are available on IPP web page:

The paper-based application materials will no longer be accepted later.

Scholarship Opportunities:

  1. UTRGV International Education Fee Scholarship 2018:
    Application Deadline: Contact
  2. FAFSA
  3. GILMAN Scholarship 2018 (Contact
  4. Pell Grant Program
  5. Scholarship & Financial Aid for Minority Students
  6. General Study Abroad Scholarships
  7. U.S. Study Abroad Scholarships & Grants List
  8. 63 Study Abroad Grants & Scholarships


Financing a Study Abroad trip almost always seems impossible or unobtainable. But it does not need to be. Financial Aid may assist qualifying students make studying abroad a possibility. Keep in mind that the financial aid programs that a student is eligible for are the same for all students, including students participating in study abroad. However, some students may still have additional loan eligibility for the academic year that has not been used and may be eligible to request additional aid in the form of student loans. Students are also encouraged to apply for scholarships at UTRGV as well as exterior scholarship funds.

Make sure to complete your FASFA if you have not done so. Keep in mind that you must be in Good Standing (SAP) and submit a summer notification beginning January 2. Once you have made a decision to participate in a Study Abroad Program, set-up an appointment with a financial aid advisor to discuss what additional loan options you have available to make your trip possible. Things to keep in mind is that student loans require at least 6 hours of enrollment and loans are always split in two equal disbursements. Also, your Study Abroad class should count towards your degree and you should not graduate prior to your trip.

If you need more information about financial aid and scholarship, please contact the IPP Office and make an appointment directly:

International Programs & Partnerships (IPP)
Tel: (956) 665-2325

Detailed information about photography courses:
Professor Ping Xu (ARTS-4337 Instructor):
Professor Robert Gilbert (ARTS-4388 Instructor):

Study Abroad general questions and application:
Gilman Scholarship application: Lizette Leal (IPP Study Abroad Specialist):
For Chinese class information, contact Ping Xu and Lizette Leal for information
Mr. Alan Earhart / Director of UTRGV Study Abroad Office (IPP):

Study Abroad Events in Fall 2017


Wednesday September 6, 2017 Study Abroad Scholarship Workshop @ Cenizo Room 2-3pm
Thursday September 14, 2017 Study Abroad Scholarship Workshop @ Cenizo Romm 2-3pm
Thursday September 19, 2017 Study Abroad Scholarship Workshop @ Cenizo Romm 11-2pm
Thursday September 27, 2017 Study Abroad Fair @ The Ballroom 11-1pm
Thursday September 27, 2017 Study Abroad Scholarship Workshop @ Cenizo Romm 1-2pm


Wednesday September 13, 2017 Study Abroad Scholarship Workshop @ BMAIN 2.526 1-2pm
Thursday September 26, 2017 Study Abroad Scholarship Workshop @ BMAIN 1.312 11-12pm
Tuesday October 3, 2017 Study Abroad Fair @ The Main Courtyard 11-1pm


Study Abroad China 2017_UTRGV Press Release: Thursday, August 24, 2017 |

Study Abroad China 2016_UTRGV Press Release: Thursday, July 21, 2016

Taiwan English Camp 2017_UTRGV Press Release: September 5, 2017

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