Two students painting their faces in tratidional dance make up

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.

We foster a vibrant student life by encouraging interaction between students, roommates, faculty, and the community at large. Opportunities at all locations include the following, with some location-specific examples below:

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.

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. Roommate-led activities in the past:

  • Making dumplings
  • Learning “Chinese poker”
  • Majiang
  • Learning to play the Erhu
  • Carving stone seals

Chinese Table

The School in China 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.


Local Excursions

The School in China: Beijing program organizes weekly activities which are designed to showcase the gems of Beijing and different facets of Chinese culture. Activities outside of the classroom push students’ understanding of contemporary China and complement their coursework. Some previous excursions:

  • Local art gallery visit
  • Walking tours of Beijing
  • Meeting with a local journalist
  • A badminton tournament on campus
  • Chinese cooking class

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:

  • Chinese tea ceremony
  • Calligraphy
  • Traditional Chinese painting
  • Chinese Opera face painting

Capital Normal University Student Clubs and Campus Life

Students are encouraged to participate in campus life and foster relationships with Chinese classmates. Below is a list of active clubs at Beijing's Capital Normal University which students are eligible to join:

Name Chinese Category Description

Classroom of Society


Career Dev.

Aims to prepare undergraduate students to enter society as adults.

Taekwondo Club


Health & Exercise

Gathers together to practice Taekwondo with guidance from a professional instructor.

XingYi Club


Health & Exercise, Career Dev.

A fusing of formerly separate clubs, this group conducts breakdancing, yoga, and career development training.

Feiyan Dance Club


Performance Arts


Teaches dance and puts on performances. Main focus is belly dancing, with other genres thrown in occasionally.

Silent Sea Manga Club


Hobbies & Interests

A network of students which announces when new manga exhibitions are going on in the area.

Ping-pong Club


Health & Exercise

Plays ping-pong together. Free instruction is available for beginners from other Chinese students.

Orienteering Club  


Hobbies & Interests

Organizes and carries out exploration activities throughout Beijing and the surrounding area.

Breakers Flag Football Team

Breakers 腰旗橄榄球队

Health & Exercise

Organizes flag football and cheerleading activities.

Snowskiing Club


Health & Exercise

Teaches skiing, and engages in ski and snowboard activities and competitions in Beijing. Ticket includes admission, equipment, and lesson.

Yitang Chess and Checker Club


Hobbies & Interests

Plays and teaches Chinese and international versions of Chess, Checkers, and other related games.

Chun Yingxiang Movie Club


Hobbies & Interests

Discusses and views films, and might even make movies together.

Litian Jushe


Performance Arts

Acting/theater group which rehearses together and puts on performances.

Niguang Photography Society


Hobbies & Interests

Hosts opportunities for volunteering, e.g. storytelling to the blind, and conducts photography expeditions.

Xingtan Academic Club



Publishes its own newspaper, hosts a movie salon and academic salon, and focuses on history.

Blues Guitar Club


Performance Arts

Offers guitar lessons for a reduced lesson price. Beginners to advanced are all welcome.

Ballroom Dance Society  


Performance Arts

Teaches social dances and ballroom dances. Welcomes members to attend formal competitions.

Board Game Club


Hobbies & Interests

Gets together to play board games.



Excursions and Activities

The 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:

  • 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

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:

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


The Kunming program 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.

Local Excursions

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:

  • 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