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Being Chinese in the 21st Century: Stability and Change

At the center of this course is a 21-day trip to China led by Professors Judith Allen of the Department of Psychology and Joseph Schneider of Department for the Study of Culture and Society. Professors Allen and Schneider have lived and worked in China and they successfully led two Drake groups there in the recent past.

The present course and trip to China frame the last century there as one where change and stability are entwined. It invites students to interrogate how these are related in its people and cultural practices through an academic project they will shape in negotiation with faculty about what it means to be Chinese today. That will take them into the past in order to understand the present. Because of the challenges of language and limited access, the student project does not assume research will be done in China, but, rather, that the trip and its experience will provide a rich context in terms of which to understand more deeply the people, the culture, and society.

The course and trip are open to community people and students from other universities and colleges (credit hours will transfer), although currently enrolled Drake students have priority for the maximum 20+ seats available at the application deadline (February 8). All non-traditional students enrolled for the course and trip will be designated as audit (AU) students.

Academic Details

  • Travel to China from May 21 - June 11, 2013 (travel concludes on June 11)
  • 4 on-campus meetings before May 21; pre-departure readings and lectures; project proposals negotiated with faculty before departure
  • Course Numbers: PSY 194 & SCSS 196, SCS 196. For Honors Program students, HONR 197
  • Fulfills Multicultural AOI; possibly others, upon petition
  • 6 credit hours
  • 21 days of travel
  • Meetings in China with families, lectures by Chinese scholars and experts; meeting with Chinese students is planned.
  • In-country daily observation and reading reflection journal writing 
  • Final project and journal due July 31


The final cost range for 15 students is $6,600-$6,900.  For 20 students, the final cost is somewhat less (to be determined at the deposit deadline). This price includes:

  1. Tuition (a $2,400 value for 6 hours credit)
  2. Airfare round trip from Des Moines to Beijing and Shanghai to Des Moines
  3. Lodging (all hotels are at least “four star” Chinese hotels)
  4. Three meals a day, except for a 2-3 travel days when a lunch or dinner is at student’s expense
  5. A Chinese national guide, Mr. Mirron Zhao, who worked with Drake students in 2007 seminar and The Ray Society China trip in2006
  6. A local Chinese guide in every city
  7. Private motor coach for all daily excursions; bottled water supplied
  8. All museum/historic site entrance fees
  9. Frequent flyer miles on American Airlines for those enrolled in program

Additional Expenses

  1. Personal expenses (souvenirs, etc., students choose to purchase in China)
  2. Passport and Chinese visa

Apply/For More Information


Apply online.

Once a student is accepted, a $500 deposit is required to secure a spot in the program.

For more information, please contact:

Professor Joseph Schneider
Department for the Study of Culture and Society
134 Howard Hall, Campus or 515-271-2158

Professor Judith Allen
Department of Psychology
319 Olin Hall