Summer program offers adventure in China, Tibet

Exchange in China
Exchange in China
Mary Amanda Vakeva, left, a senior hotel and restaurant management senior, and Jessa Herren is a graduate student in community counseling prepare to take a peek at Beijing.

As the world becomes increasingly smaller and the need for cross-cultural understanding grows, the Summer Chinese Studies program is one way Northern Arizona University students, faculty and staff can immerse themselves in another culture first hand.

Participants will explore Chinese culture with Beijing as their classroom. The itinerary includes spending nearly a week in the historic city of Lhasa, Tibet, two nights in China’s largest city, Shanghai, and visiting the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and many other historical destinations.

“Overall, the experience (of the program) was amazing,” said Mary Amanda Vakeva, senior hotel and restaurant major who participated in the program last summer. “I learned so much—not just about China and the Chinese, but about myself and the world in general.”

The 2008 Summer Chinese Studies program is titled “China and Tibet Adventure” and takes place between May 19 and June 15. The program is open to all NAU students, faculty and staff, and participants can earn up to three credits from two Chinese universities and NAU. The cost is $4,500, which covers airfare to and within China, tuition, room and board, visa fees, all tours and a train ride to Tibet. Financial aid and scholarships are available to those who qualify.

Thomas DeStefano, professor of educational psychology and the program’s leader, said this summer’s academic theme will focus on the cultures, ancient philosophies and history of China with a sub-emphasis on the Chinese education system. Students will study at Chinese universities and go on subject-related field trips.

“The major focus of this experience is to provide participants with an opportunity for cultural exchange and cross cultural understanding between American students and the Chinese people,” DeStefano said.

The deadline for enrollment is Feb. 8, or until the program is at capacity.

For information, contact DeStefano at or 523-6302, or contact the Center for International Education at 523-2409 or