Middlebury Schools Abroad

International Programs &
Off-campus Study Photo Contest

See more student photos »
 

Courses in Hangzhou

All students are required to take the One-on-One Tutorial and the Hangzhou Studies classes as well as two elective classes selected from the choices below.  All students will have 16 hours of classes per week.

Elective course offerings are based, in part, on enrollment, requiring a minimum of three students. Each course will have a maximum of 8 students. Depending on your language level, you may be required to enroll in Everyday Chinese.

(Just click on a course title below to see the course description.)

Hangzhou Studies (Required)

The goal of this course is to help students gain a better understanding of Hangzhou by conducting an in-depth study on a variety of readings and field trips which cover many aspects of the city, such as local businesses, the history of the Hangzhou region, famous literature from or about Hangzhou, environment, the tea and silk industries, local village life near Hangzhou and religions practiced in Hangzhou. Students will spend significant amount of time exploring topics out in the city, as well as time in the classroom working with a teacher and classmates.
4 hours per week
Texts: Reading materials compiled by Middlebury School in China

One-on-One Tutorial (Required)

One-on-one is designed to bring the student’s four language skills to a higher level through exploring in-depth on a topic of the student’s own choosing.  The course emphasizes discussing and exchanging ideas with the teacher, reading authentic materials, mastering the terminology related to the chosen subject, and writing well-researched essays. As they progress in their studies, students are expected to be able to discuss their subject in greater and greater detail. Students are also expected to prepare formal presentations on their subject. In their presentations, students are expected to express their ideas clearly and are to use key terminologies skillfully and appropriately. Students also write and present research essays, and are expected to write with clarity, accuracy, and depth. The course is also combined with class trips whose frequency depends on the topic.
4 hours per week
Texts and materials prepared by School in China faculty

Chinese Films

This is a course on Chinese films studies which focuses on appreciation, analysis, and criticism of selected Chinese films.  A total of 10-12 Chinese films (most of which were produced in the last 10 years) are introduced during the semester.  The themes of the selected movies vary widely from traditional Chinese culture (e.g. Kongfu) to current social issues in China. Please note that this is not a film-watching class and students are expected to watch the particular movie before coming to the class. Class time will consist of studying an article that introduces the plot of the movie, watching short clips that are considered important for understanding and discussion, and a lot of in-depth discussions on the film’s story and cinematic features. Language learning is not the focus of this class and students should tackle new grammar and terminology on their own in advance of each class. Writing a research essay on each movie is also a requirement of this class.

4 hours per week
Texts: Compiled by Middlebury School in China, Hangzhou

Business Chinese

This class is recommended for students who are interested in business and the topic of foreign businesses in China in particular. Students will study several accounts of foreign enterprises and their market-entry strategies in China. This class will focus on both improving general language proficiency and will also engage in in-depth discussions on each particular case study. The class format includes oral presentations, group discussions and debate. Outside of class, students are required to conduct small weekly independent research projects, the results of which will be presented to the class. In this class, one’s weekly quiz grade is based on the written essays that accompany this presentation.
4 hours per week
Text:
Business Chinese for Success Business(I)

Contemporary Chinese Literature

This course is best suited for students who have 3+ years of Chinese and who have a good background in Chinese history and culture.  As the class materials used in this class are all authentic works, students of this class are also expected to have strong reading skills. Students taking this course are introduced to a wide range of authentic works of modern literature collected from a variety of genres including fiction, prose, and poetry. The majority of class time will be spent helping students achieve a good understanding of the story but will also include frequent in-depth discussions on the historical and cultural background of each work studied.  Though expanding one’s vocabulary is an important part of this class, language learning is not the primary goal. Assessment will be in the form of a research essay.

4 hours per week
Texts: Compiled by Middlebury School in China, Hangzhou

Introduction to Chinese Newspaper Reading

This class focuses on cultivating students’ Chinese newspaper reading skills. All the course materials are original selections from Chinese newspapers. Syntactic structures and terms that are commonly encountered in newspaper articles are studied and drilled in class. In addition to the training of newspapers reading, students also watch related TV news segments. Under the guidance of the teacher, students will achieve a total comprehension of the news segment at the end of the class.

4 hours per week
Text: A Course in Newspaper Reading Comprehension, Beijing University Press (tentative); Additional primary source materials.

Classical Chinese

This course is recommended for advanced students only. The fall semester course focuses on the learning of the syntactic structure and grammatical function words in Classical Chinese. During class students translate texts of Classical Chinese into modern Chinese paying particular attention to the content and philosophical implication of each. In the spring semester students will read a wide selection of wenyan texts that sample the classics of ancient Chinese thought, including Confucius' Analects, the Daoist texts Laozi and Zhuangzi, Mohist arguments against war, Sunzi's The Art of War, and Legalist writings on law. All class discussion will be conducted in modern Chinese.
4 hours per week
Text: Language of the Dragon, Cheng & Tsui, vol. 1 or 2, as appropriate.

High Intermediate Chinese

This course is designed to bridge the gap between the intermediate and advanced levels of Chinese and is designed specifically for those students who are less confident in communicating with locals in Chinese.  Mastering advanced-level sentence patterns and vocabulary, building a habit of speaking Chinese with good grammar, discussing contemporary social topics of China confidently, and expressing complicated ideas with ease are the goals of this class.

5 hours per week
Text:
Materials selected by the faculty at each site.

Advanced Spoken Chinese (Everyday Chinese)

This course teaches conversational Chinese with a business focus.  The goal of this course is to boost students' spoken Chinese to the advanced level. To achieve this goal, the primary task is enlarging the vocabulary that is commonly utilized in real-world situations.  In addition, students will master a great deal of colloquial and idiomatic expressions, particularly those that are often used in the work environment. They will also engage in lively discussions on various topics. In this course, pronunciation and tones are strongly stressed and therefore students should be prepared to be corrected constantly. Students are required to conduct interviews or carry out surveys outside of class, and present the results to the class.

4 hours per week
Textbooks: 《汉语商务通 中级口语教程》

Ancient Chinese History

This course introduces students to China's long history beginning at the dawn of Chinese History, the Pre-Qin Period, to the end of China's last feudal society, the Qing Dynasty.   Modern history is not covered in this course.  In class the instructor will teach the content in a lecture style.  Pictures and video clips will be shown to enhance students understanding.  Students are also expected to engage in periodic class discussions.
4 hours per week
Texts: Compiled by Middlebury School in China

 

Contemporary Issues in China

In this class students will engage in vigorous debate with their classmates on a set collection of topics including both general discussions of interest and also important social issues of the day. Students prepare and debate a different topic every week. In addition to expanding vocabulary and mastering new sentence patterns, students will specifically develop and strengthen the ability to express opinions, debate, and argue viewpoints in both oral and written form.
4 hours per week
Text: 《话题讨论》, materials compiled by Middlebury School in China; primary source materials.