Travel Course 

China - March 10-21, 2011

Course Description
Explore China's rich past and feel its current rhythm on a study trip to China! Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will offer an upper-level, credit-bearing China travel course during the Spring break in March 2011. The course will acquaint students with China's history, culture, and society through visiting historical sites, museums, art performances, universities, and meeting the friendly people of China. The destinations in China include four cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an and Baoding.

Course Objectives

  1. To deepen the understanding of the diverse cultural traditions learned in Tier II Human Heritage courses.

  2. To examine the historical, social, economic, and political issues of China critically and comparatively.

  3. To illustrate the interplay between tradition and novelty in the context of modern Chinese history and society.

  4. To produce a quality paper using both the text and first-hand observations.

Course Requirements

Prior to and after the trip, students will have weekly meetings with Professor Kailai Huang, the faculty leader of the trip, to discuss issues related to Chinese history, culture and society. Students are required to finish assigned readings and submit a book report prior to the trip. During the trip, Professor Huang and other host presenters will give on-sites talks and lead discussions. After the trip, students will present a project based on their knowledge of and experiences in China.

Trip Highlights

  • Stroll along Shanghai's riverfront. The city's spectacular skylines and the cluster of buildings of various architectural styles reveal its fascinating history and cosmopolitanism.

  • Marvel at the life-sized terra-cotta soldiers and horses in Xian that formed China's First Emperor's underground army.

  • Roam in the magnificent Forbidden City in Beijing to immerse you in history, art, and culture.

  • Ascend the Great Wall of China, the most famous monument in the world. This experience will top your imagination and take your breath away!

  • Tour the futuristic Bird's Nest, the Olympic Stadium and the Water Cube, the National Aquatics Center, to observe China's transition and transformation.

  • Visit Hebei University in Baoding. You will have opportunities to know your Chinese counterparts and to speak to our MCLA alumni teaching English there.

  • Dine on the authentic Chinese food to appreciate the country's rich culinary culture.

China Trip Daily Itinerary*:

  • March 10 Thu. Leave North Adams for Shanghai, cross the international dateline.

  • March 11 Fri. Arrive at Shanghai. Check-in, Guest House, Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) or alternative hotel.

  • March 12 Sat. Visit Longhua Temple, Chinese City (Old Town), Yu Garden, and the Bund.

  • March 13 Sun. Visit the Shanghai Museum, Nanjing Road, and the Observation Tower in either the Jinmao Hyatt Hotel in Pudong or the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Acrobatic show in the evening.

  • March 14 Mon. Fly from Shanghai to Xi'an. Check-in, Hotel Royal Xi'an or alternative hotel, visit the Grand Mosque of Xi'an. Tang Dynasty Dance show in the evening.

  • March 15 Tue. Visit the city wall and the Qin terra cotta soldier museum. Overnight sleeper train from Xi'an to Baoding

  • March 16 Wed. Arrive at Baoding in the morning. Visit Hebei University to meet students and faculty.

  • March 17 Thu. Take train or bus to Beijing. Check-in, Beijing Tianrui Hotel or alternative hotel. Visit Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City.

  • March 18 Fri. Visit the Mutianyu Great Wall and the Ming Tombs.

  • March 19 Sat. Visit the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, and the Hongqiao Pearl Market.

  • March 20 Sun. Visit the Yonghe Lama Temple and the Temple of Confucius, and the Olympic venues. Beijing Opera in the night.

  • March 21 Mon. Fly back to the US. Cross the international dateline, arrive at North Adams late in the night.

  • March 22 Tue. You attend all your classes, including the early morning ones.

*This itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions, transportation, access to venues, and other unexpected situations.

Costs and Inclusions:

The estimated costs (based on present currency exchange rate and projected airfares) are around $2,550, which includes all international and domestic transportation, all admissions, all hotels and most meals, and visa fees. More updated details will be available in the fall semester at the informational meetings. The course website will be updated periodically to reflect the latest changes.

Dr. Kailai Huang, phone, 413-662-5426;
Department of History
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
375 Church Street
North Adams, MA 01247