学而不思则罔,思而不学则殆。
孔子《论语》
Learning without thinking leads to confusion; thinking without learning ends in mental exhaustion.
the Analects of Confucius

China Studies is a special regional study program at UCU.

It aims at helping the students to understand China, a rapidly developing country, whose global influences are continuously growing. By following the program, you will not only learn practical language and cross-cultural communication skills, but also gain an insight into the path and features of China’s development in order to become a better informed global citizen.

At UCU, students can learn the Chinese language to a sufficiently professional level, enrich their theoretical knowledge in the fields of culture, literature, history, philosophy and sociology (among others) through English-taught content courses, and practice real social communication skills by going on an exchange (at one of our five top destinations) or taking a field course in China.

China not only has a long history and rich culture among diverse regions and ethnic groups, its rapid economic rise from the early 1980s has also captured the world’s imagination. At the same time, China’s development has started to resonate throughout the globe. China Studies is for students who are interested in the language, culture, literature, philosophy, politics, history, economy and society of China. Because China Studies is a form of area studies, it uses several disciplines, like for example anthropology, cultural studies, social science or political science to look at China. Students can choose their own focus within the possibilities of the China track. Meanwhile, the extensive language program will help the students to reach a high proficiency level in order to be able to communicate with the world’s largest population, conduct research in China-related fields, or work for Chinese or other international companies. Both China Studies (track) and Chinese Studies (minor in Chinese Language and Culture) can be easily combined with other disciplines, as a background, an eye-opener, or an aid to set a specific research focus within the student’s own field. 

The China Studies program offers:

  • An insight into Chinese culture and society;
  • A communicative curriculum in language teaching;
  • Real experiences in China (through studying for one semester at a top Chinese university or/and participating in a field course in China);
  • Flexible and tailor-made programs including:
    • following 4 Chinese language and culture courses as a minor (if a student starts from a higher-level language course, other content courses can be counted as well in order to fulfill the requirement for a minor);
    • following China Studies as a track (e.g. two level 1 courses including ‘Introduction to China’ and ‘Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture’; one level 2 course at UCU about Chinese literature and film or at a Chinese university during exchange; one level 3 course at UCU about Chinese ideologies, or at a Chinese university during exchange, or the ‘Field Course’);
    • completing all the courses in China Studies in order to continue with a China-related master program;
    • following 1 Chinese language course to fulfill the foreign language (& culture) requirement;
  • Support to interdisciplinary research or thesis writing.

The students could choose to start the track either from the fall semester or the spring semester during their first year. Please see the following scheduling options:

  First year Second year   Third year
  Fall Spring Fall Spring Summer Fall Spring
Option 1 Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture Chinese II & Introduction to China: Society and Culture Chinese III Chinese IV & a China-related content course (level 2 at UCU or in China) *Field Course (level 3 in China) *a China-related content course (level 3 at UCU)  
  (choose exchange destination)            
Option 2   Introduction to China: Society and Culture Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture Chinese II & a China-related content course (level 2 at UCU or in China) *Field Course (level 3 in China) Chinese III & *a China related content course (level 3 at UCU) Chinese IV
* Choose one of the level 3 courses as a track finisher.

China Studies Exchange Destinations Map

Below you can find more information about exchange destinations that can be part of the China Studies program.

The Field Course will take place in the Yangtze Delta region (e.g. Shanghai or Suzhou and Hangzhou).

See more information about the Summer Course at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University as an example (UCU students can participate only in the first part of the course in Suzhou and Hangzhou. Therefore the fee will be adjusted accordingly). Detailed information about the field course will be announced before registration.

There is also the possibility to take a minor in Chinese Language & Culture. The minor comprises of the following courses:

  • UCHUMCHI11 — Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture
  • UCHUMCHI22 — Chinese Language and Culture II
  • UCHUMCHI32 — Chinese Language and Culture III
  • UCHUMCHI33 — Chinese Language and Culture IV

Please note: 

  • In all the language courses, Mandarin, which is the official language in mainland China (also spoken in Taiwan and among the Chinese groups in other Asian countries) and the simplified characters are taught.
  • If a student starts from a higher-level language course, other content courses can be counted as well in order to fulfill the requirement for a minor.

Diagram

Level Fall Spring
1 UCHUMCHI11: Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture  
2   UCHUMCHI22: Chinese Language and Culture II 
3 UCHUMCHI32: Chinese Language and Culture III UCHUMCHI33: Chinese Language and Culture IV

The Master programs of China Studies are offered in the Netherlands and in many other countries worldwide, including our exchange partners in Hong Kong and XJTLU in Suzhou, for instance.

By completing the entire track of China Studies at UCU, students will receive 52,5 ECTS. If students wish to continue with a research master, by taking the master program at Leiden University for example, the possible requirements are as follows:

  • reach a language level of HSK 4;
  • receive 30 ECTS in China-related fields of history, art, culture, politics, society or economy, which students could do by either following two China-related courses during exchange or by writing their thesis in a China-related field.

This way, the China studies track at UCU will provide opportunities for the students to continue with their China Studies. For the definite requirements, please consult the university you would like to apply for.

In the past, students who finished the China track have pursued different master’s programs relating to China. Here are a few examples of master’s programs which UCU graduates have pursued:

  • MSc degree in International Affairs at the London School of Economics/Peking University
  • MSc in International Management for China at the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • LLM Law and Chinese at Edinburgh University
  • MSc Contemporary Asian Studies at the University of Amsterdam
  • MA Modern Chinese Studies at the University of Oxford

Some students took a gap year after UCU and studied for one year at a Chinese university on a scholarship.

UCHUMCHI11: Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture
This course introduces all the aspects of the Chinese language (speaking, listening, reading, writing, characters) and Chinese culture to beginners. It covers many practical subjects, including self-introduction, directions, shopping, ordering food, etc. Many interactive methods such as apps, games, songs and role plays are used during the course. After completing this course, students will be able to: speak basic Chinese at a beginner’s level, read around 200 Chinese characters and write 100 Chinese characters, summarize the general aspects of Chinese culture and history, and discuss the complexities involved in modern Chinese day-to-day life.

UCINTCHI13: Introduction to China: Society and Culture of an Emerging Country
This course is developed as an integrative course, introducing the cultural development and societal transformation of a large emerging country. The course looks at the historical evolution of China and its internal diversity, creates an understanding of how economic, social, societal/cultural and geographical transformation in China has been shaped by the political, cultural and institutional specificity of China’s post-reform development path, presents the major issues (economic, social, political, cultural, and environmental) in contemporary China, and discusses the discourses on changing international policy from Chinese and international perspectives. Besides, through case studies the students will also gain an understanding of the different avenues and forms of cultural expression through the lens of the political/institutional ramifications of these, and apply social, scientific and cultural theories to interpret traditional and contemporary cultural developments and manifestations.

UCHUMCHI22: Chinese Language and Culture II
This course furthers the students’ knowledge of Mandarin Chinese. The aim of this course is to provide the students with a lower intermediate level of Mandarin Chinese. Having attained this level, students can easily handle everyday situations in Chinese. After completion of this course, students will be able to read around 600 words and write 300 words, hold an easy everyday conversation in Chinese, write a letter on the computer, read a simple Chinese text with the help of a dictionary, etc.

*If the student chooses to do this course during exchange, the equivalent course should be able to bring the student to HSK 3 level (the official chinese proficiency level).

UCHUMXXX23: A China-related course
This course can be taken at one of the Chinese universities during exchange. Students can choose topics within the fields of history, art, culture, politics, society or economy (other fields are possible, based on discussions with the coordinator). The course can also be taken at UCU, with a focus on Chinese literature, film or media.

UCHUMCHI32: Chinese Language and Culture III
The aim of this course is to provide the students with a higher intermediate level of Mandarin Chinese. Having attained this level, students can easily handle everyday situations in Chinese. After completion of this course, students will be able to read around 900 words and write 450 words (the students will learn more than 300 words during this course), conduct everyday conversations in Chinese, write an article in Chinese and read the simple versions of Chinese news.

UCHUMCHI33: Chinese Language and Culture IV
This course brings the students to an advanced level of Mandarin Chinese. Having attained this level, students can easily handle everyday situations and more specific contexts (business, academic, etc) in Chinese. After completion of this course, students will be able to read around 1200 words and write 600 words (the students will learn more than 300 words during this course), conduct more complicated conversations in Chinese, write an article in Chinese and read a Chinese story book.

UCHUMXXX3X: A China-related course
This level 3 course will be about the three main ideologies/religions in China: Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism. More details will be announced.

UCSSCGEO35: Field Course Shanghai: Experience and Examine China's Prime Metropolis
This course can be chosen as the final course for China Studies, directly following the China exchange. The core is the empirical encounter with urbanization and urban development processes in the Chinese context, as well as the study of diversity and change in a metropolitan area—Shanghai. This study consists of (1) observation of several distinct – functional – parts of the city, and (2) interpretation through a confrontation of observed features with other data sources. The visual exploration of areas by visiting sites is combined with lectures and other presentations. The participants play an active role via intensive preparation before going to ‘the field’. The overall objective is to confront accumulated (theoretical) knowledge with empirical reality. As the focus is on dynamic urban/metropolitan phenomena in the Chinese context, the course challenges participants to confront knowledge derived from earlier coursework with current mega-urban development and transformation occurring in an institutional environment distinct from those found in Western countries (defining urban development ‘with Chinese characteristics’).

UCHUMXXX3X: Field Course China
This course can also be chosen as the final course for China Studies, directly following the China exchange. It is centered around the empirical encounter with urbanization and development processes in the Chinese context, as well as the study of regional development, interpersonal relations, and inequality. More details will be announced.

Level Fall Spring Summer
1 HUMCHI11: Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture INTCHI13: Introduction to China: Society and Culture of an Emerging Country  
2*   HUMCHI22: Chinese Language and Culture II (either at UCU or during exchange)  
  HUMXXX23: A China-related course, either at UCU or during exchange (history, literature, film, art, culture, politics, society or economics)  
3 HUMCHI32: Chinese Language and Culture III HUMCHI33: Chinese Language and Culture IV (either at UCU or during exchange) Field Course
  UCHUMXXX3X: A China-related course at UCU (ideologies, philosophy, religion)    

* it is advised to follow Humanities Lab course.

Dr. Meiyi Bao
Track Coordinator
Chinese language and culture
Linguistics
Chinese education

dr. Leo van Grunsven
China
Urban geography
Regional development
Asian economies
Globalisation

Contact person

Dr. Meiyi Bao is the China Studies coordinator at UCU and has her office in Voltaire–Ee.