Student Life

Though academics are highly stressed at Middlebury Schools in China, the program's philosophy is based on finding balance between scholastic achievement and cultural immersion. A vibrant student life is fostered by encouraging interaction between students, roommates, faculty, and the community at large. Opportunities for participation include local excursions, roommate-led activities, extracurricular courses, a weekly Chinese Table, a cultural reimbursement program, and one long weekend trip.

Excursions and Activities

The School in China: Hangzhou program organizes weekly excursions, typically on Friday afternoons. These excursions can have academic, cultural, and recreational components. Roommates are invited to attend, and all activity costs are fully covered by the program. Previous excursions have included:

  • Hike through the tea fields around the famous Long Jing Tea Village, followed by a cup of tea at a local tea farmer’s establishment
  • Attend a local sporting event
  • Day trip to the Xixi National Wetlands Park
  • Boat ride on West Lake to visit the famous Three Pools Mirroring the Moon Island
  • Visit a local fan-making factory to witness the art of hand-crafted and hand-painted fans

Roommate-Led Activities

At the Middlebury Schools in China, Chinese roommates are not only an integral part of a student’s everyday life, but an integral part of the program as a whole. Roommates volunteer to organize activities every week. Roommate-led activities in the past have included:

  • Making dumplings
  • Painting Chinese opera masks
  • Learning “Chinese poker”
  • Majiang
  • Carving stone seals

Extracurricular Classes

Extracurricular classes are offered each semester depending on student interest and availability.  These classes typically meet once a week and are designed to offer students cultural knowledge in a more relaxed, casual setting. Previous extracurricular classes have included:

  • Chinese traditional landscape painting
  • Chinese cooking
  • Tai Chi
  • Calligraphy
  • Chinese Chess

Chinese Table

The School in China: Hangzhou organizes a weekly Chinese Table where students have the opportunity to casually converse with teachers and learn important food culture and vocabulary, all while enjoying a delicious local meal provided by the program.

Cultural Reimbursements

The Cultural Reimbursement Program is designed to encourage students to get out and explore the city independently or with their Chinese roommates. Every student is granted a limited amount of weekly funding to use towards culturally-focused activities. In addition, on one weekend per semester, students and roommates are allotted an extra sum of money to be used for group travel outside of the city. Examples of reimbursed activities around Hangzhou in the past have included:

  • Attending a local concert
  • Visiting a museum
  • Visiting one of Hangzhou’s many historical landmarks
  • Taking music or dance lessons
  • Visiting a nearby water town

Long Weekend Trip

Every semester, the School in China will organize one long weekend trip, taking students and roommates to a destination of interest outside of their host city. These trips are included in the program cost.