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  • Locations: Beijing, China; Chengdu, China; Shanghai, China; Xi'an, China
  • Program Terms: Maymester
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Cost of Attendance Sheets: Maymester
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Category: UGA Faculty-Led Click here for a definition of this term Open to non-UGA students: Yes
Sponsor: UGA Partner Institution: None
Type of Admission: First-come first-served (rolling) Participant Selection: Competitive
Click here for a definition of this term Number of Student Participants: 11-20 students Type of Instruction: Experiential, Lecture
Classes With: UGA Students Taught By: Guest Lecturers, UGA/U.S. Professor(s)
College/School: SPIA Academic Area: International Affairs, Political Science, Political Science and International Affairs
Language Program: No Language of Instruction: English
Minimum number of credit hours: 6 Maximum number of credit hours: 6
Work Opportunity: No Volunteer Opportunity: No
Scholarship Availability: No Housing Type: Hotel/Hostel
Program Description:

Great Wall

UGA- SPIA- Maymester Study Abroad in China: Political Science

This program will provide an opportunity for students to learn first-hand about a society very different from our own, but in many ways very familiar.  China is a dictatorship that does not tolerate political dissent. At the same time, it has allowed a market economy to develop in many parts of the country, it is attempting to develop a more modern legal system, and, based on its size and economic growth, it is now a regional military power and a major economic force in the world. Customers line up at McDonald‘s and military police suppress protest. This remarkable society raises truly profound questions. Is modern life compatible with dictatorship? Is dictatorship an aid to a country’s development, a hindrance, or is it irrelevant? Can a society and very diverse population successfully absorb rapid social, economic, and cultural change?

Much of the study abroad experience in this program occurs outside the classroom. Students meet directly with government and Communist Party officials as well as faculty at local colleges and participate in social activities with Chinese students. Participants are exposed to the full range of Chinese history: the founding of the country in 221 B.C., the reign of the imperial dynasties lasting until 1911, the Communist revolution leading to the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and the vibrant commercial China of contemporary Shanghai.

Program Location

China is a poor country, a developing country, and a rich country: millions of peasants still live in houses with dirt floors, its economy is growing much faster than the U.S., and the skyscrapers of Shanghai rival those of any city in the world. The program includes extended stays in places spanning China’s rich heritage.

Beijing is home to the Great Wall, one of the Eight Wonders of the World. The Wall is over 2000 years old and snakes over 4000 miles. The Forbidden City, the ancient imperial palace dating from 1407, was a huge complex for the Emperor and his government. The magnificent Summer Palace, which was constructed during the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), served as the royal family’s retreat and includes a garden and lake.

Xi’an, an ancient capital of China, marked the beginning of the great Silk Road. Home to the world famous 2200 year old Terracotta Warriors, ancient city walls, and the Wild Goose Pagoda. Situated at the mouth of the Yangtze River, Shanghai is the commercial capital of China and a world destination for shoppers. The Bund area along the Huangpu River reflects the city’s early occupation by Europeans, while Shanghai’s skyline and shopping district are thoroughly contemporary. Nevertheless, you will also find ancient temples and gardens within the city.

Contact Information

Robert Grafstein
Program Director
Dept. of Political Science
Phone: 706.542.2988

Contact the following previous participants for more information:

Cameron Henderson

Academic Program

Course Offerings: May 2018
POLS 4190: Government and Economy of China
POLS 4780: China Society and Culture

Program Itinerary (Projected)

Day Activity   
1 Departure for Beijing 
2 Arrival/Orientation in Beijing
3 Welcome to Beijing: Forbidden City and BISU Visit
4 Class Meeting
5 Great Wall of China
6 Class Meeting
7 Class Meeting
8 Depart for Xi'an
9 Wild Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi History Museum; Class Meeting
10 Xi'an: Warrior Museum, Huaging Hot Springs & Song of Everlasting Sorrow
11 Class Meeting
12 Free Day
13 Depart for Chengdu
14 Chengdu Panda Breeding Center
15 Chengdu Leshan Giant Buddha 
16 Class Meeting
17 Depart for Shanghai
18 Class Meeting
19 Class Meeting
20 Class Meeting
21 Tai Chi Lessons; Afternoon Class Meeting
22 Departure for United States

Program Costs

All program costs are subject to fluctuations in exchange rates.

Program Fee includes a double room, WIFI, and breakfast at all hotel locations, some meals. in-country transportation both ground and air, and VISA into China.  Also includes entrance fees and tour guides on program excursions.  Medical insurance is provided per University regulations through CISI. 

VISAs into China are required for US Citizens and VISA Processing is included in your program price and these fees are subject to change.  However, your program fee does not include TRANSIT VISAS for NON-US CITIZENS flying on Air Canada (the optional group flight).  Transit VISA are not required for US Citizens who participate in the group flight.

VISA Processing will be complete by our 3rd party provider World Strides, who will need 4-6 weeks to process your VISA.  To this end, Passports should be obtained immediately and turned into the GLOBIS Office no later than March 1, 2020.

NOT INCLUDED: Tuition and fees for 6 credit hours (Hope scholarship applies), international airfare, and passport. Luggage overage fees and hotel incidentals.

NOTE: Optional group flight available through World Strides, our 3rd party provider.


Program Ratings:
Accuracy and usefulness of orientation materials:
1 2 3 4
Accessibility and quality of health care:
1 2 3 4 5
Safety of location, facilities, excursions, and transportation:
1 2 3 4 5
Academic quality, appropriateness of workload:
1 2 3 4
Choice of location for excursions, field trips, site visits:
1 2 3 4 5
Safety, cleanliness, comfort and appropriateness of housing:
1 2 3 4 5
Arrangements for and quality of meals:
1 2 3 4 5
Opportunities to learn about and interact with the local culture:
1 2 3 4 5
Opportunities to learn about and interact with the local culture/people:
1 2 3 4 5
Overall effectiveness of program staff in managing program:
1 2 3 4 5
Effectiveness of program staff in handling academic and personal needs and concerns:
1 2 3 4 5
Value of the program in relation to the cost:
1 2 3 4 5
Overall quality of the program in relation to expectations:
1 2 3 4 5
Program Reviews:
Zackary Allen Blanton, Maymester 2016 Participant
"It was a great experience! We visited many interesting and historical places that most can only dream of seeing"

Connor Rabb, Maymester 2016 Participant
The SPIA China Maymester will be one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The program not only provides an opportunity to visit a fascinating country with a rich history and unique people, it also gives the opportunity to experience those things with a total group of strangers that, through common circumstance, become a close group of friends.

Maymester 2019 Participant
100% worth it!!!!

Maymester 2019 Participant
My trip to China impacted me in so many different ways that it is hard to encompass. If you have the chance to go, go!

Maymester 2019 Participant
I never felt unsafe throughout the entire trip! All of the amenities were high-quality and in good locations.

Studying abroad and studying abroad in China are two whole different concepts. In the SPIA China Program, you are given the opportunity to see as much as possible of the most important cities in the country. Every day has a busy agenda, and whether it be class and tourist sites, or tourist sites and evening fun, there is a lot to do at every moment.
     — James Reeves, Maymester 2016

This program is currently not accepting applications.