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Dickinson in China - Yunnan University
Kunming, China (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: Spring
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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Budget Sheets Spring
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Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
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Fact Sheet:
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Language of Instruction: Chinese Minimum GPA: 2.8
Academic Area of Study: Chinese, East Asian Studies
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Foreign Language Prerequisite:
4 semesters (college) of instructional language
Program Description:
Program Description:


The Dickinson in China - Yunnan program offers students an opportunity to study Chinese language and culture at Yunnan University in Kunming, a region rich in cultural and ethnic diversity. Students may live on campus or with home-stay families. This program is only offered during the spring semester. 

Dickinson partners with Yunnan University's International Office to oversee the co-curricular student experience in Kunming. Yunnan helps facilitates housing options, some excursions, cultural activities, orientation, emergency management and on-going student support services. Dickinson supports all aspects of the academic program, academic advising, admission to Yunnan University and the visa process. Yunnan and Dickinson work closely together to ensure that students are well supported throughout their time in China.  

Find more details below and in the Dickinson in China Yunnan HANDBOOK (coming soon). 

Kunming, China


Yunnan University is located in Kunming, a city with a mild climate in southwest China. It was founded in April 1923, originally named "University of the Eastern Land." It is one of the earliest established universities in the area. Yunnan University is comprised of 17 schools, 7 institutes and 2 general teaching departments. There are 73 undergraduate programs in several domains.  


The expectations to apply for this program are as follows:
  • 2.8 GPA
  • Students must complete at least two years of college-level Chinese prior to studying in Kunming
  • All students must have a declared major at the time of application.
  • As a part of the review process students’ conduct records and account status are also reviewed.  Students and their parents should note that the review process takes all elements of the student’s academic record into consideration and that even if a student has the expected GPA and language pre-requisites, he or she may not be admitted.
Students who have questions about the review process or their particular candidacy for a program should come into the Center for Global Study and Engagement for advising.

Center staff will not discuss students’ applications with parents, friends or any other party without the student’s consent and presence in the conversation.


Yunnan University
Dickinson's Kunming program offers an intensive study of Chinese language, culture and society. The program is open to students who have completed at least two years of college-level Mandarin. Courses at Yunnan University are conducted entirely in Chinese and the majority of students' credits will come from language courses. During the semester students will take intensive language courses.  

How is instruction different?

It is very important that you show respect toward your teachers and behave in a diligent fashion in and out of the classroom. Each teacher will have his or her own style and standards. Some teachers may be more egalitarian in their approach to teacher-student relations. Generally speaking, however, hierarchy is the rule. The best way to establish a warm, productive relationship with the faculty at Beida is to attend class, prepare your homework, and be attentive right from the start. Be on time, and if you must miss class due to illness, let your professor know. You must attend at least ¾ of classes or you will fail. This attitude will be beneficial later on if you need help or some flexibility in your program.

What classes are available?

Students will take intensive Chinese courses. 

When will I register for classes?

Many of your classes will be determined by your language placement test score which will take place in the first week. Based on your language placement, you will be given a list of class electives to fill your remaining schedule openings. Registration for these will happen in the first week.

Will the courses count towards my major?

Some courses taken in China may count towards your major. Discussion with your academic advisor prior to departure on the program is highly recommended.

Will they count in my GPA?

All courses will appear with titles on the Dickinson transcript but will not count toward your GPA. To get Dickinson credit, your grade has to be the equivalent of a Dickinson “C” or higher (2.00 on a 4.00 scale). Those that receive a grade of “C” or better will receive a “T” on their transcript. The “T” will signify earned credit. However, the grade that is earned in the class will not appear on the Dickinson College Transcript. The internship is offered for credit/no credit and will not earn a letter grade

What is a full course load and How will my courses transfer?

Each course earns one course credit (equal to four (4) semester hours).

For successful completion of course work, students abroad may transfer up to a maximum of 4.0 course credits for one semester and may not take fewer than 4 course credits per semester. To take more than 4.0 credits during the semester, a student must petition the CGSE. If a student registers for more than the maximum courses allowed without permission from the committee, the on-campus coordinator, their academic advisor at Dickinson, and the Center for Global Study and Engagement, the course credit will not transfer. Students will also be responsible for any additional fees for doing this.

Only liberal arts classes will qualify for transfer credit.

Generally speaking, courses must have an equivalent at Dickinson. Exceptions include classes that focus on the culture and/or history of the country in which the student is studying.

Transfer credit will not be awarded for coursework that duplicates what a student has already completed at Dickinson.

Academic Excursions

Does this program include any group travel once I’m in country?

Yes, there will be excursions each semester. Student will receive an allowance to cover excursions and cultural activities

When will I find out where and when we’re travelling?

Specific dates and locations for the multi-day excursions will be announced at the beginning of the semester or the semester preceding the excursion. 

Can a friend or family member who is not on the program also travel with us?

No, unfortunately, for logistical and academic reasons non program participants are not able to join the program for excursions.

Are excursions optional?

Not necessarily.  These excursions are linked to your academic program and, in some cases, content delivered through the excursion will be relevant to a student’s studies and assessment.  All students should plan to participate in all excursions.  If a student misses an excursion or a planned departure for a trip, these arrangements and costs will not be made up for the student.  It is each student’s responsibility to be where they need to be in order to participate fully in each academic excursion.

Dates and Flights

When is orientation? 

In addition to the full day mandatory pre-departure orientation you’ll have on campus the semester prior to your program. There will be an on-site orientation for this program that will be facilitated by Yunnan University. In Kunming, students’ on-site orientation occurs the week before classes begin. 

During the orientation you will meet and work with the on-site staff at Yunnan University. Orientation events include a tour of campus, an overview of city's public transportation system, university registration meetings, and an overview of your health and safety while studying in Kunming.

What are the program dates?

Dickinson in China - Yunnan ACADEMIC CALENDAR

Students must arrive on the date specified in the academic calendar. You must communicate your arrival plans with the faculty coordinator (Prof. Yang), and the CGSE via the online application system.  Students should arrive at Beijing’s main international airport (PEK) on the day and time specified, within the window of acceptable in order to be met at the airport.

Is there a group flight?

Unless otherwise stated, the CGSE does not arrange group flights. Students are responsible for booking their own travel to/from China. Accepted students will be given a timeframe in which they should plan to arrive and depart. Students should not purchase their flights until instructed to do so by the CGSE and/or on-site staff. We encourage students to carefully review the change fees and cancellation policies before booking a flight.

The CGSE does not endorse any particular travel agent or booking website but does provide additional guidance about booking flights on the CGSE website.

What if my family wants to visit me?

If you have family or friends who are planning to visit you, please do not make travel plans until you arrive at the program and become familiar with your class schedule and program excursions. It is not acceptable to skip class for personal travel.  

When will I have time to travel?

You will travel in and around Kunming as you work your way through the culture course in the semester. Many students also travel on their own during major Chinese holidays when classes are not in session.

Can I arrive early or stay after the program ends?

Students may not arrive early or stay late without the written approval of the on-site staff and faculty director, Professor Yang.  Please note that if you choose to arrive early or stay late, you may not be able to stay with your homestay family or in the dorms. You should also consider your visa validity when you make the decision of whether or not you may arrive early or stay late.  No student may arrive late for the start of the program.


How much does the program cost?

The program budget sheet can be found at the top of this page, under "Fall, Spring, Year (SH)" to the left of the Apply Now button.

What is included in the program fee?

The fee includes tuition, room, board, academic excursions and emergency insurance.  Airfare and visa fees are not included. The budget sheet also lists additional fees students should anticipate.

Is my flight included?

The flight is not included but the cost is taken into consideration when your financial aid need is calculated for your semester abroad.

How much extra money do I need to bring?

This depends on you.  We encourage students to not travel every weekend, but to really engage their host city in meaningful ways during their semester abroad.  An estimate of personal expenses is included on the budget sheet, but it really depends on you and your spending habits.


How can I access my money in Kunming?

After you settle in, you can open a bank account.  Once your bank account is set up, you can receive money by wire transfer.  If you decide to do this, it is recommended that you set up the account in U.S. dollars and exchange the money at the time of withdrawal.

Can I work part time?

A new feature of the market-oriented and outward-looking China is the willingness of many Chinese people to pay for English lessons, including lessons from foreigners, like Americans.  No other types of work are allowed.

Is it safe to drink the water?

Drink only bottled water or water that has been boiled.  Avoid flavored ices or iced drinks.  If you buy fruits and vegetables from the markets, peel or scrub them with soap and water.  Also, drink plenty of fluids since Kunming is quite dry year round.


How do I access health care at Yunnan University?

For treatment of simple illnesses, such as colds, flu, or diarrhea, you can go to the University clinic on campus--you will be charged a small fee for treatment or medicine. The clinic staff may only speak Chinese, so go with someone who can translate if necessary. 

What if I become seriously ill?

If you contract a more serious illness or require hospitalization, please be in contact with on-site staff at the International Office at Yunnan University. They will take you to a larger, nearby hospital with a special section for foreigners.

Dickinson also provides students with medical and travel security assistance through International SOS. Please visit our Health and Insurance Abroad page for more information.


What are my housing options?

Students will live with a Chinese roommate. 



Will I have a meal plan?

Students will receive a board allowance for meals.

Can I have friends over?

Before inviting friends over, you will need to ask permission from your host family or roommates.  Consideration for others is always a good rule to follow.  During the week, visitors should not remain past 9 or 10 p.m. unless your host family has given you special permission. The people you are living with have to get up early and must consider their neighbors living close by or small children in the house or building.  You can expect restrictions in the number of visitors you may have at one time.  Moreover, you cannot assume you will be permitted to invite friends of the opposite sex.  Be sure to discuss these things with your family first so that you understand what is expected. 

Should I bring a gift to my home stay family?

It is always a nice gesture to bring your new host family a token from your hometown or region and as an initial ‘thank you’ for having you in their home.

What if I don’t like my home stay family?

Yunnan University International Office staff will assist you if you are having difficulty with your home stay family or feel the terms of the arrangement are not being fulfilled. 




Are internships available?


Can I conduct research while abroad?

Students can conduct research abroad under the guidance of a Dickinson advisor. The Student International Research Fund (SIRF) was established to help students with extra travel costs associated with independent research projects. Students are encouraged to present their research at the International Research Symposium when they return to campus. For scholarship information, please visit out Scholarships for Global Study page.


What is a visa?

A visa is a document, normally affixed within your passport, which allows you to enter the country and stay for the duration of your program.  The requirements for the visa and visa process are controlled by the government of the country you are entering, are non-negotiable, and can change regularly.  If you arrive without the proper visa, you will be sent home by immigration officers at your own expense.

Do I need a visa?

Dickinson in China VISA GUIDELINES

Yes, a student visa is required to participate in the Yunnan University program.  If you do not hold a US passport, you should consult with the Chinese embassy in your country of citizenship for the student visa requirements. Obtaining a student visa is the student’s responsibility. We will review the guidelines for obtaining a student visa at the Pre-departure Orientation.

We have produced visa guidelines to provide you with an overview of what you will need to do to obtain a student visa.  Please note: this is only a tool to help you get started!  It is not a substitute for consulting with the Chinese consulate that has jurisdiction over your state of home residence.  Make sure you are familiar with the most up-to-date regulations by visiting their website frequently. Also, you need to ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months after the program end date.

How do I get a visa?

You will need to make an appointment at the Chinese consulate in order to submit previously-gathered documents that are required for the visa. Please consult the Visa Guidelines for your country of study. OR you can use a visa service, Dickinson suggest Washington Visa and Passport Service.

Do I have to go to the consulate/embassy?

If you use the consulate, as opposed to the visa agency service, yes, you will need to make a visa appointment at the Chinese consulate that presides over your home state jurisdiction in order to submit your student visa application. If you choose to use the visa agency, you will only need to gather your documents to send them to the agency for processing.  They will be responsible for making the trip to the consulate on your behalf. 

How much does a visa cost?

Currently the visa fee is set at $140; however this amount is subject to change.  Be sure to check the consulate’s website for any fee change before you submit your visa paperwork.  WPVS, the visa agency where you do not need to schedule an appointment with the consulate rather you send in your documents to the agency, costs $290.00 for 7-10 day service.

How long does it take to receive my visa?

It can take up to 2 weeks to obtain a student visa.

If I’m not a U.S. passport holder, are there any additional requirements?
Yes, you will need to do your own research on visa requirements for citizens of your home country to study in China. The CGSE may be able to help you with the required documents. Also, you will need to inform International Student Services in the Stern Center that you will be studying outside of the United States and discuss how you will remain in valid F-1 status during your studies abroad.

May I use a visa service to get a visa?

Yes, CGSE suggests Washington and Visa Passport Service to assist you in obtaining the student visa.  You will need to research these providers and their fees and timetables.

Will the Center help me with the visa?

Yes, we provide you with visa guidelines, as well as various required documents needed for the visa process.

Student Perspective

Global Ambassadors are returning study abroad students who serve as peer advisors for their program.  Please feel free to contact them for a student perspective.



On-Site Contact

Yunnan University International Office
No. 2 North Cuihu Road
Kunming, P.R. China
Postal Code: 650091
Tel: +86-871-65033472

Professor Rae Yang,On-Campus Coordinator
Department of East Asian Studies
Dickinson College
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013-2896
Phone: (717) 245-1403
Advisors (Please call for an appointment)

Center for Global Study and Engagement
Dickinson College

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This program is currently not accepting applications.