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 regular Chinese Table, a cultural reimbursement program, and one long weekend trip.
In addition, beginning in 2015 the School in China: Kunming program also offers students the opportunity to participate in a week-long pilot project as part of Middlebury’s new Global Partnerships for Sustainability, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy.
Excursions at the School in China: Kunming are typically arranged on the weekends and can have academic, cultural and recreational components. We often take advantage of Kunming’s climate and natural heritage to organize outdoor activities. Previous excursions have included:
- A day trip to Stone Forest, a UNESCO world heritage site
- Hiking in Kunming’s Western Hills
- A badminton tournament on campus
- Bike rides to the Kunming Botanical Garden and Heilongtan Temple
- Cooking classes where students learn to make Chinese dumplings
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 on a regular basis. Roommate-led activities in the past have included:
- Cooking local dishes
- Painting Chinese opera masks
- Learning “Chinese poker”
- Ping Pong