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May Term in China

May Term in China

History 210 - Emperors and Revolutionaries: Chinese History through Travel

History 380 - Emperors and Revolutionaries: Chinese History through Travel (Research option)

These courses are co-sponsored and hosted by the History Department of Peking University, China's most prestigious university of higher learning. Students are afforded the unique opportunity to learn Chinese history, both ancient and modern, from the country's leading academic experts--and at the same time meet with a variety of non-academics, from government officials to rural villagers. Cultural history is brought alive by attending performances of the Peking Opera and the Beijing Acrobatic Troupe. Encounters with the Chinese people become personal as students have the chance to meet and develop friendships with Chinese students at PKU from the day of arrival.

The courses include visits to many of the "must-see" sites (such and the Great Wall near Beijing and the Terra Cotta Soldiers of the Qin Emperor near Xi'an) — all enhanced by on-site lectures by top scholars from PKU and some local universities. But explorations also include many sites throughout the country that, though off the beaten track, nevertheless hold significance for Chinese history. Such locations in past courses have included the mountainous stronghold of the early Red Army at Jinggangshan and the north Shaanxi wartime headquarters of the Communist Party in Yan'an.

The courses are academically and physically rigorous, designed for mature students who enjoy roughing it, who want to experience China as it really is — not just as tour books describe it. Students who enroll in History 380 complete all assignments required for History 210, but in addition they conduct a rural fieldwork project during the course and write up the results in a research paper. At the end of the courses, all students receive certificates of course completion at Peking University.

In addition to taking at least one course in Chinese history or politics as a pre-requisite, students are required during the spring semester and in the days just prior to departure to attend orientation sessions that include introductions to Chinese culture and language.


IWU students discuss topics ranging from student life to world affairs with history students at Peking University

Overnight train, Beijing to Xi'an


On-site lecture at the Terra Cotta Soldier Museum near the tomb of Qin Shihuangdi, the first Emperor of China.

Students enjoy paper cut exhibit and singing performance by renowned folk artist Li Fu'ai


Scaling the crevice where Chiang Kai-Shek was cornered and kidnapped by his generals in December 1936

Enjoying dumplings at a famous restaurant in Xi'an


Talking with farmers about changes in rural life

Professor Lutze and students talk with Chinese students in a rural classroom - English Class


At the Great Wall

Visit to a rural elementary school


April Schultz - Chair and Professor of History

Department - History