Courses in Kunming

All students are required to take the One-on-One Tutorial and the Kunming Impressions 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 Developing Chinese Fluency.

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

One-on-One Tutorial 一对一专题研究 (Required)

Students work with a tutor to develop a specific outline for a course of study in the first week, which guides the tutorial throughout the semester.  Changes are possible with the Director’s permission. To reach the goal of the tutorial, the one-on-one closely follows a prescribed teaching schedule and teaching method. In the process, students accumulate knowledge and information in the literature of the her/his field, build up specialized vocabulary, and develop linguistic proficiency relevant to the subject of study.  Students should be able to analyze a large amount of information, carry on in-depth discussions with the tutor, and write summaries of their readings. During the semester there are two open presentations, with Q&A. A final paper of 5000 Chinese characters is expected.  Student meets with the director of the program regularly to present acquired information of the study and discuss the progress of the study.       

4 meeting hours per week + 1 meeting hour with the head teacher biweekly.

Reading materials are prepared by tutors in consultation with the Director.

Yunnan Impression (A) - Advanced Students

The goal of this course is to help students gain a better understanding of Kunming by conducting an in-depth study on a variety of topics which cover many aspects of the city and its outlying areas, such as historical events, political and financial figures, education, current social concerns, business practices and environmental issues. Students are required to conduct interviews and collect information from the locals in order to have an in-depth discussion on each topic. This course is also designed to be a language course to enhance students’ vocabulary and speaking ability at the advanced-level.

4 hours per week

Textbook: 《云南印象》, compiled by the School in China faculty.

Yunnan Impressions (AA) - Upper Intermediate Students

The goal of this course is to provide a rich linguistic and cultural environment for students to engage local residents in Chinese.  To increase their understanding of Yunnan, students taking this course are advised to take Digital Yunnan Daily as their second elective course. Yunnan Impression AA is special in that its classroom activities are the linguistic and culture preparation for the language fieldwork in the real world.  Information gained in the fieldwork is then used in class discussions and presentations.  

To create meaningful fieldwork opportunities, this course undertakes activities such as visiting local schools, living with a local family for a brief period, and taking a Global Partnership for Sustainability trip, which takes students to a wetland conservation area, and into mountains. Students are encouraged to keep journal entries about their interactions with local people, and their engagement with local community.

This course is designed to be a language course that enriches students’ literary language expressions, to speak and write as an educated Chinese speaker.

4 hours per week

Textbook: Chinese in Motion, Yi Lin,2011 &2012, Cheng & Tsui.  

Yunnan's Ethnic Minorities

This content course takes the study of Yunnan minority groups as its focus.  The course uses case study publications to introduce methods of anthropological research, analyses and discussions of Yunnan ethnic minority cultures and their values, as well as the changes brought about by the development of the modern society. The course discusses  the difficult situation that minority groups are facing, through the discussion of their ecological environment,  the relationship between nationality and the nation, and among different ethnic groups.  It further discusses the future of sustainability of their culture, their environment, their relationship with others, and ethnic minority groups along the border of China.

The MiC Kunming program facilitates valuable trips to villages in Yunnan, which brings the class into contact with different ethnic minorities, such as Miao, Lisu and Bai peoples. 

4 hours per week

Textbook and course materials compiled by School in China faculty.

China’s Environment and Development 中国的环境与发展

This course introduces environmental issues that have emerged in the past twenty years along with China’s fast economic development, to help students gain a general understanding of environmental policies and practices in modern China. The course pays particular attention to the particular environs and challenges of Yunnan Province. Topics to be discussed include the implementation of environmental laws and regulations, treatment of water pollution, food safety, biodiversity and deterioration of ecological systems, hydropower projects, and heavy metal pollution, etc. Students will work closely with the Yunnan branch of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for its social design and development projects, and will actively participate in the Global Partnership for Sustainability (GPS) project during the fall or spring break week.  The GPS project brings students to YNU’s wetland and its national park to learn from the local community and to contribute to the sustainability of their environment. 

4 hours per week

Text: 《环境与发展》, compiled by the School in China faculty.

Business Chinese 商务汉语

This course aims to enhance students' language skills in a business context and to promote their understanding about the business environment and culture in contemporary China. The text is derived from real business cases from multinational companies that have successfully made inroads into the Chinese market.  The second part of the course will provide an overview of China's changing macro-economic environment, while real business cases let us examine individual Chinese companies and their development in the new millennium. By the end of the semester, students are expected to 1) enhance their cultural awareness of contemporary China and the Chinese business world; 2) gain vocabulary and fluency in Chinese in order to function more confidently and comfortably in real business settings; 3) access business news and information in Chinese; and 4) give a business presentation in Chinese.

4 hours per week

Textbooks: Business Chinese for Success (成功之道), Peking University Press, 2003; Thirty Years of China Business, CITIC Press, 2007.

The Digital Yunnan Daily 云报在线

This course is developed for students who also takes Yunnan Impression AA and want to know more about Yunnan through reading local sources.  The course uses Yunnan Daily online and WeChat messages as its materials and WeChat (Chinese Bog) as a learning tool.  Yunnan Daily covers a wide variety of news in Yunnan;  知政云南 (Yunnan government activities)、乐活云南、(Yunnan cultural activities)、微博荟萃 (Selected WeChat) are both informational and interesting.  Students choose reading pieces of their own interest for every class meeting, share the news, and lead discussions in class.  The course has a WeChat Group, where the teacher can direct after class reading activities. Students can share news and post their own news in this group.  Both texted messages and voice recordings are required for posting on a weekly basis.   The course requires a smartphone (iPhone or Android) and WiFi.

4 class hours and 1 on-line class hour per week

Teaching materials: Digital Yunnan Daily 云报在线

Contemporary Issues in China 当代社会话题

This class uses the popular 2009 TV series Woju 蜗居 as a background to discuss contemporary social issues. Students will discuss topics such as China’s real estate market, urban migration, young people’s perspectives on love, and urban modernization. This class will also teach current vocabulary and idioms, with a focus on common verbal expressions. By the end of the semester, students are expected to understand the younger generation’s concerns about modern Chinese social issues and be able to discuss their opinions using a variety of expressions.

4 hours per week

Text: 《当代社会话题》, compiled by the School in China faculty.


Chinese International News

This course has a unique focus on current international and global news.  Students will discusses China’s diplomatic activities, international conflicts, international organizations, China’s economic development in global markets, and China’s environmental issues in a global context. The course also brings in fresh international news pertaining to other countries in South East Asia, with which Yunnan has strong economic ties. 

Students’ first contact of any news pieces is usually through TV broadcasting.  Watching the news, understanding the news, discussing and debating the news, and presenting your own research on a news topic in written and spoken form are the major learning activities of the course.

Through these learning activities, the course helps to internalize content specific vocabulary and expressions in formal Chinese.  The news topics break through the language of daily life, and extend to the political, economic, environmental, and international realms.  This facilitates a smooth acquisition of Chinese language at an advanced level.

4 hours per week

Text: 《中文国际新闻》, compiled by the School in China faculty.

Classical Chinese I 古代漢語 (Fall semester)

Classical Chinese is an indispensable training for anyone who wishes to read classical literature and to use it for their research.  It is also a useful training in becoming an educated speaker and user of Chinese. Classical Chinese (I) adopts the syllabus of Classical Chinese (411) of Middlebury’s Chinese Department.  The course tries to develop students’ classical Chinese reading and comprehension ability; introduce the syntax and semantics of classical Chinese; improve the understanding and application of classical Chinese to modern Chinese; and through reading of classical writings, build up a solid foundation for further studies of ancient Chinese ideas and their influence on current China.

4 hours per week

Textbooks: Gregory Chiang (姜貴格), Language of the Dragon: A Classical Chinese Reader (龍文墨影) (Boston: Cheng & Tsui Company, 1998), volume 1


Classical Chinese Thought and Language (Spring semester)

To have a deeper understanding of Chinese people, society, culture, politics and government, CCTL is an ideal course for students with Advanced Chinese.  This course is equivalent to MIDD Classical Chinese II.  

The course is an introduction of the major school of thoughts in the Pre-Qin Period of ancient China and their legacies.  Though the emphasis is on Kongzi, Mozi, Lao Zhuang, Hanfeizi,  Sunzi classical eras, readings of selected texts in original classical Chinese are blended into the study of the course.   Therefore it teaches grammar, syntax and classical Chinese for reading purposes.   Students develop confidence in reading classical Chinese, as they become more and more familiar with these historical periods, great thinkers, and their influence on modern China.

The course materials are written in simple and easy to follow Chinese.  Each chapter is instructionally connected to lectures by established Chinese scholars at the Lecture Room of CCTV.

4 hours per week

Textbook Chinese Classical Thoughts and Language complied by the School in China faculty.

China's Rural Floating Population

China's rural migrant population currently numbers nearly 230 million people. This is the largest human migration in the history of the world. Consequently, this migrant population has become one of the most important subjects in studies of contemporary China. This course will cover the migrant population; China’s household registration system; migrant children; the roles and status of migrant women in their families and communities; employment and the future of the migrant population.

Students enrolled in this course will participate in classroom lectures and discussions, as well as community service projects. Students will work closely with migrant communities in Kunming to enhance their understanding of China‘s urbanization process.

This is an advanced Chinese language course with a focus on social studies. Students will also receive training in reading, oral discussion, and report writing.

4 hours per week

Text: 《中国农村流动人口》, compiled by the School in China faculty.