IES: Beijing Contemporary Issues


The IES Beijing Contemporary Issues program allows students to enroll in history, economics and Chinese culture, and language classes. Each course on the Contemporary Issues Program is supplemented by field trips directly related to the coursework.  Students participate in three intensive, 300-level area studies courses taught one-at-a-time, called “blocks”.  There are daily seminars and discussions of 2-3 hours, along with journaling, presentations, and other challenging assignments that provide an intellectually exciting and in-depth engagement with China

Fields of study:

Economics, Literature, History, Political Science, and other disciplines


Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0; ability to live in a culture very different from one’s own and to adjust to the living conditions of the developing world.

Semesters Offered:

Fall, Spring Academic Year


July – December; January-May


15 – 19 credits per semester - Required Courses:
15 credits per semester on the Contemporary Issues ProgramRequired Courses:

Chinese Language (4 credits)

Understanding China (2 credits)

Three Elective Courses (3 credits each))

Credit Conversion:

1 IES credit = 1 Whitman credit


Homestay, group homestay, or in a rooming house


Homestays: Breakfast and one other meal per day
Rooming House: Meals are on your own, but students have access to kitchen facilities.


Volunteer opportunities or service learning opportunities at social service organizations.


See Link to Financial Aid