July 22 - August 8, 2015
SBS 470 (6 credits) or EDU 579 (6 credits)
This international service learning course will provide students the opportunity to study, experience, and contribute to the welfare of children in another culture. Through a combination of classroom and experiential learning, the course promotes understanding of the social circumstances and the developmental challenges faced by orphaned children in China. Students will engage in a service project in collaboration with a program that provides education and enrichment to children in an orphanage. The goals of the course are to provide students an opportunity to develop intercultural understanding, to deepen their comprehension of children’s developmental needs, and to examine international adoption practices. Classroom and orientation sessions prior to departure and a debriefing session after return are required.
This course is open to all USM students as well as community members. The course will require students to complete a set of readings and participate in class discussions prior to travel to China. The class will be together in China for 16 days, during which time we will complete service learning at two orphanages, New Day Creations in outer Beijing and the Dahua Orphanage in the southern part of the country. The remaining time will be spent visiting various sites in Beijing, including Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, enjoying local cuisine, and touring the more rural area around the beautiful city of Guilin.
The Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal wrote a series of articles on our program and posted pictures and videos on their site: http://china.sunjournal.com/.
Class Meetings and Itinerary
The class will meet beforehand on USM's Gorham campus, exact dates and times to be determined. Many of the day-to-day details in China will not be finalized until closer to departure, but a tentative outline of the daily itinerary is as follows:
Wednesday, July 22: Leave Portland
Thursday: Arrive Beijing; welcome dinner; free time
Friday: Visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace; enjoy a noodle lunch, hot pot dinner, and acrobatics show
Saturday: Hike the Great Wall, visit Olympic venues, and have a Peking duck dinner
Sunday: Visit the Panjiayuan Antique Weekend Market and Temple of Heaven; shop at Pearl Market; enjoy a dumpling lunch; arrive at the New Day Foster Home
Monday- Friday: Volunteer at New Day
Friday: Depart Beijing for Guilin
Saturday: Visit Elephant Trunk Mountain
Sunday: Take a Li River Cruise and a bike tour of the rice paddies of Yangshuo
Monday: Visit Moon Hill; transfer to Dahua County in southern China; arrive at the Dahua Orphanage
Monday- Friday: Volunteer at the Dahua Orphanage
Friday: Experience an overnight train ride to Guangzhou
Saurday: Depart for the United States
Deb Como-Kepler, Psy.D. is a psychologist in private practice who specializes in psychotherapy with families and adolescents. A clinical supervisor in the Lewiston area, she has particular interest and training in attachment theory and therapy. Dr. Como‑Kepler is also a part‑time instructor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Program of Lewiston‑Auburn College.
Dr. Julie Alexandrin, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Abilities and Disabilities Studies, came to USM in 2007 to create a professional program for educators who work with youth who are gifted and talented and/or have disabilities. This work resulted in the Abilities and Disabilities Studies program, created in 2008, with concentrations in gifted and talented, special education and Teaching ALL Students, with an emphasis in Universal Design and working with students with a disability who are gifted and talented, and/or who are English Language Learners.
The application deadline is March 16, 2015.
A complete application includes all of the following:
- Signed, completed application form*
- $200 non-refundable deposit (applied to the program cost)
- Typed 200-word essay
- A letter of recommendation from a faculty member or academic advisor (recommendation cannot come from the faculty member(s) leading the program)
- Official copies of USM academic transcript
Incomplete applications will not be accepted. You will be notified by e-mail of your application status. If your application is not accepted, the nonrefundable deposit will be returned. If the program is canceled for any reason by the USM, all deposits will be returned.
*If you are having trouble downloading the application, please contact us at (207) 780-4959 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you one. You may also want to try upgrading to the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
The estimated program fee is $3,750. The cost of tuition and fees at the in-state rate is in addition to the program fee. The program fee includes accommodation, roundtrip airfare from Boston, ground transportation including train travel, site visits, field trips, most meals, and comprehensive medical insurance through iNext.
Not included in the program fee is the cost of tuition, fees, some meals, books, academic supplies, or other personal expenses. Six credits of undergraduate tuition plus regular university fees is $1,721. Six credits of graduate tuition plus regular university fees is $2,483. All participants in USM travel courses receive the in-state tuition rate regardless of residency.
All participants will be automatically registered for a payment plan. The $200 deposit will go towards the cost of the program and the remaining balance will be due as follows:
50% of the balance due May TBD, 2015
Remaining balance due June TBD, 2015
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Federal financial aid and loans are available to matriculated students who participate in travel courses. In order to receive the benefit of financial aid, students must be enrolled for a minimum of 6 credits during the summer for a summer travel course. If financial aid does not cover the full cost of the program, students are responsible for paying the remaining balance according to the payment plan schedule.
Include the costs of this course in your FAFSA application. If you have questions about financial aid or completing your FAFSA, please contact the financial aid office at (207) 780-4166. If you are not a matriculated student at USM, please check with the financial aid office at your institution.
USM's Office of International Programs offers small scholarships for students enrolled in summer travel courses. Scholarships are competitive and awards are up to $500. The application deadline is March 16, 2015. Students applying for the International Summer Scholarship must apply to a travel course before or at the same time as submitting a scholarship application.