BIST China 2019

Understanding Modern China: Family and Society (AST 2XX)

Instructors: Dr. Lauren McKee & Dr. Jianfen Wang

This course seeks to introduce students to modern China by studying its history, politics, economics, and social and cultural norms. In the west, we often think of China as going through a period of “rising,” or a transitionary phase on its path to becoming a major world power. However, with centuries of development, China has long been a source of religious, political, and social norms, not to mention technological innovation. This course seeks to offer students a more accurate understanding of modern China, one that is rooted in its long history and as a country with an ancient civilization now seeking its identity in the 21st century.

To understand these “two Chinas”—the ancient and the modern—we will visit historic sites, museums, as well as modern infrastructures. We will explore what makes China an industrial giant by visiting industrial districts and then contemplating the social and environmental consequences of such rapid and extensive modernization processes. In an opportunity to engage with the local people, students will spend 10 days on a home-stay program in Chengdu, living with a local family and attending classes at Chadianzi Elementary School. You will also be paired up with a local college student from Sichuan University for cultural and linguistic exchanges. At the end of the 4 week program, you should have a better understanding of modern China, its domestic strengths and challenges, and its rapidly changing place in the world.

Dates: May 13-June 8, 2019

Estimated total cost (all expenses included) will be less than $5,000

Financial Support

Financial support from Berea College is available for any major to cover a portion of the cost  of a summer abroad.  Find out more information on how to obtain financial support.  A CIE scholarship, which covers 1/3 of the total cost, is available. BIST students may also be eligible to apply to the Gilman scholarship.


For specific questions about this course, contact Dr. Lauren McKee & Dr. Jianfen Wang. For general questions about the BIST application process or scholarships, contact the Education Abroad Team at or (859) 985-3453, or drop by 205 Woods-Penniman.