Program Spotlight: Chengdu, China

Study abroad in China will open your eyes to a culture and way of life unlike anything you are used to in the United States, and Chengdu is ideal for students who are interested in experiencing Chinese culture in its most authentic form. Known as “China’s China”, this city is one of the most ancient, culturally fascinating, and authentic places in all of China. It is also one of the most important economic centers in the country. Keep reading to learn more about the USAC Chengdu program.

Life in Chengdu

Life in Chengdu is a mix of culture rooted in ancient history, a booming economy, and a growing city center. You’ll no doubt practice your Mandarin daily, and you’re sure to make friends with friendly locals on campus and throughout the city. Life in Chengdu is slower-paced than its larger metropolis counterparts, such as Shanghai and Beijing, but you won’t be bored! USAC students have no trouble immersing in the culture through local cuisine, festivals, and events throughout the year.

Resident Director for Chengdu

Each USAC Specialty Program has an on-site Resident Director (RD) who is responsible for the overall operations of the program, such as student housing, organizing exciting field trips, student support, and more. Meet the Resident Director for our Chengdu program, Wentao Song.

Meet the Resident Director for USAC Chengdu, Wentao Song.

Pre-departure, you will work with the Program Advisor for Chengdu, Belen Figueroa. As a USAC Bengaluru and Prague alumna, Belen uses her personal study abroad experiences to help students prepare for their journey.

Host University & Academics

Of course, study abroad in Chengdu, China will take you to a top-tier university. USAC students study at Southwest Minzu University. The campus is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and cafes to keep you entertained and fed.

Students studying in Chengdu will take courses in Chinese language and culture to truly immerse in the culture.

In-person internships are also available in Chengdu. If you choose to participate in an internship, there are placements with local organization in some of these fields:

  • Business
  • English-language instruction
  • Health and wellness
  • Journalism and communication

Field Trips & Tours

No study abroad program is complete without field trips to help you explore your host city and the surrounding areas. Through USAC-guided field trips and optional tours, students will travel to exciting destinations and significant historical sites throughout China to better understand the country’s culture and history. Possible destinations include*:

  • Panda Research Institute
  • Yellow Dragon River
  • Leshan and Emei Shan
  • Beijing Tour
  • Shanghai Tour
  • Xi’an Tour

*The following are possible destinations, view term calendars for specifics. Due to continually evolving COVID-19 regulations some tours and field studies may or may not be available during the term you choose to study abroad.

Four USAC students smile during a trip to the Great Wall of China.
Photo taken before COVID-19.

Immersion Activities

There’s no better way to learn about a culture and immerse in your community than by getting involved in activities on and off campus. In Chengdu, there are a variety of options to help you connect with your host community, including:

  • Practicing Chinese with new friends and language partners.
  • Volunteering at the English/Chinese Corner.
  • Joining in and helping at “senior citizen college” in workshops that include music (traditional instruments or singing), Chinese painting, and dance.
  • Learning Chinese Gongfu.
  • Playing sports with Chinese students on campus.
Two USAC students show off their souvenirs while exploring Chengdu. Photo taken before COVID-19.

What Alumni Have To Say

“Studying abroad in Chengdu, China was truly life-changing. First arriving in China was a bit overwhelming. Nothing can prepare you for the large amounts of people, the lack of English, as well as the different culture. However, after the first two weeks, the reality of being in China settles in. SMU is a great University to be at because of its convenient location and size. The campus was relatively small, so there was no stress about getting lost. It was also located near attractions such as Jingli Street and near a subway/bus stop. There are so many wonderful things to do in Chengdu. Such as trying new foods, going for walks, going to the museum and so much more. USAC is also a great program. The staff makes transitioning into China so easy. They are always eager to help and plan super great field trips. My favorite field trip with USAC was our field study to Xian. Xian is such a cool city with so much history. My study abroad was by far one of the best experiences I have ever had. I definitely plan on going back to China in my future.” – Mireya G., USAC Chengdu alum

“During my Fall 2018 semester in Chengdu, I got immersed in so much culture and had a great time with many students in the program as well. This program became one of the best experiences in my life as I made new friends that became like a family to me. Everyone was so helpful and the area is such a diverse neighborhood. I was a bit hesitant at first to study abroad, since it was my first time traveling alone, but I would say it was one of my best choices in life. I really wish I could have done a full year, but I really enjoyed the food, culture, and adventures. USAC staff also makes it so much simple and they help you in anything you need help in. Such a great experience in your life!” – Joselyn C., USAC Chengdu alum

Want to learn more about study abroad in Chengdu, China? Explore our summer, semester, and yearlong offerings on the USAC website.