China: Chinese Language and Culture through the Lens of Food – CLOSED

Nanjing, China

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  • Summer 1 Semester - May 11 – June 17, 2015 (dates subject to change)

Application Deadline

  • Summer 1 Semester - Priority Deadline: November 15, 2014

Final deadline for Dialogue of Civilization programs is February 1st. Program accepting applications until filled and is subject to close at any time.


Faculty Leader: Hua Dong (

Study Abroad Coordinator: Liz McClanahan (

Information Session: January 20th, 6pm, 275 Ryder Hall


Term: Summer I


  • CHNS 1301/1302/2301/2302/3301/3302  Chinese Language Immersion
  • CLTR4944 Cultural Engagement Abroad, NU Core humanities level 1

Program Description: Now in its ninth summer, the language-intensive China Dialogue based in Nanjing offers students a chance to improve their Mandarin proficiency and cultural understanding in the best possible way – by speaking and living it in China. You will not only use it to find your way around some of the most famous landmarks in the world – the Great Wall and Forbidden City, for example – but in daily interactions with local residents while you live and study Chinese at Nanjing University. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to use the language you learn in both a Chinese home where you stay for a week and a workplace while you take part in a Chinese internship program related to your specific major.

This year, the dialogue will have a new focus, food. We will use food as a lens to explore topics relating to Chinese history, society, art, politics, and its relationship to the rest of the world. We will find out the beliefs on food values and taboos, food as medicine and its relationship to religion and environment from the assigned readings and dialogues with the locals and experts. We will visit the urban farmers’ markets and rural farms to learn about the concerns of food safety and security and initiatives from internet activism to sustainable farming; we will learn about the environmental impact of China's large meat industry. Today, one-third of the world’s meat is produced in China and half of all pigs live there. You will get a bite of China by sampling diverse regional cuisines at different locations, from street stands to fancy restaurants, fromtraditional local brands to Big Macs and Starbucks in China, to experience the regional and cultural diversity, the fast pace of urbanization and globalization in the country and their impact on food, business, and the society as a whole. You will listen to farmers to talk about their lives and land, and expatriates from famous design firms on how to design for the emerging Chinese middle class consumers. You will also learn some basic Chinese cooking methods and hone your “knife skills” with a Chinese kitchen cleaver at a culinary school.

This course provides intensive Chinese language training, cultural studies, homestay and internship opportunities in China. You will take Chinese classes for a total of 100 hours, and intern in a Chinese company or institution for a total of 30-40 hours. Placement of internship will try to match your field of study, skills and interests, and cover a wide range of sectors. You will also have the opportunity to experience the daily lives and customs of Chinese by spending a week living with a local family. The program will be based in Nanjing, a historic city with long and influential history as the capital of six dynasties, and is only an hour by train north of Shanghai. The program will visit historic, political, and cultural sites in Beijing, Shanghai, Anhui and Nanjing.

Check out the daily blog sites from the past years, for 2014, for 2013, for 2012, and for 2011.



  • CHNS x30x Chinese Language Immersion (multiple levels)
  • CLTR 4944Cultural Engagement Abroad: Chinese Language and Culture, NU Core humanities level 1

Host University

Nanjing University is one of oldest and top five universities in China. Its Institute of International Students, founded in 1955, has received more than 18,000 international students from over 70 countries. Its present enrollment is around 1,700. Besides a large team of well-qualified faculties in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL), the institute also has the master and doctoral programs in TCFL.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Minimum 2.8 GPA recommended
  • At least 2 completed terms at Northeastern
  • One semester of prior Chinese language study is preferred, but not required.
  • Due to the strenuous level of the Dialogue, students must be able to walk five miles and climb six flights of stairs.

Application Procedure

    • Online Dialogue of Civilizations application (available on OISP website and myNEU)
    • $500 non-refundable program deposit paid through NUPay.* Be sure to select the appropriate summer term.**
    • One copy of passport ID page – to be given directly to your faculty leader after acceptance.
    • 2-3 page essay answering the following questions (copy and pasted into online application):
    1. What are your personal and academic reasons for wishing to participate in this Dialogue of Civilizations program?
    2. How will the program further your academic and career goals?
    3. What is your previous travel and language experience, if any?
    4. What courses have you taken which are directly relevant to the program?

    *If you are not accepted into your Dialogue program, the $500 deposit will be credited to your student account.

    **Applications are not considered complete until deposit is received. This deposit will be applied to the full cost of the program.

    **Faculty may require additional information and/or interview (after application deadline)

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Tuition: $10,634

DOC Fee: $2,000

Tuition and DOC Fee cover 8 Northeastern credits, round-trip airfare from Boston, housing for program duration, International Security and Emergency Support, as well as some local transport, excursions and group meals.


Standard double rooms in hotels and well-operated student dorms. Students will be staying at hotels in Beijing and Shanghai, and in a campus dormitory for most of the time at Nanjing University, plus a week stay with host families.


The program will be based in Nanjing, a historic city with long and influential history as the capital of six dynasties, the early Ming dynasty (1368-1421) and the Republic of China (1928-1949). We will also visit Beijing, the political center of the country and one rural village with well-preserved historic architecture and culture in Anhui, and the home of the China House in the Peabody Essex Museum. The trip will end in Shanghai, the host of the 2010 World Expo and hub of growing Chinese capitalist-market economic reforms.