Office of International Programs


China: Buddhism & Tea

Approximate dates: May 16-June 6, 2016

SBS 470 (6 credits) or LOS 599 (6 credits)


This course is designed as a 3-week study-travel to Chinese Zen Buddhist and Taoist temples, and aims to provide an immersive and holistic experience of ancient and modern Chinese Zen Buddhism. Students will learn about the roots of Zen Buddhist Psychology in the context of Chinese history and traditional culture by visiting historically significant Buddhist sites, as well as direct practical experience of techniques such as traditional Zen meditation and chanting, the culture and practice of Tea Zen, Chinese calligraphy, and martial arts. Students will also gain an understanding of how ancient Eastern Wisdom practices such as Zen Buddhism function in modern day China, how they were adapted in the West, and how they will continue to evolve with modern society.

This course is open to students, staff, faculty, and community members.

Key Destinations

Jiuhua Mountain - one of China's Four Great Buddhist Mountains with numerous ancient temples

Wudang Mountain - one of China's Four Great Taoist Mountains

Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) - stunning "Avatar Mountain" and origin of famous Chinese teas

Longmen Grottoes - UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring Buddhist carvings and art from over 1500 years ago

Shaolin Temple - founded by the First Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, now famous for martial arts

Tea Villages - learn and experience tea growing, picking, roasting, and drinking

Download the program flyer here.



Nancy Hathaway, MEd, LpastC, IPDH. Nancy traveled overland through Asia to begin her Buddhist studies at Kopan, a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in the Himalayas in the '70s. She has studied meditation in the Tibetan, Vipassana, and Zen traditions for over 40 years. She lived in a zen temple for six years and is a Senior Dharma Teacher in the Korean Zen tradition, which has its roots in Chinese Zen. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Mindfulness as an adjunct professor at USM, Colby College's JanPlan, and healthcare organizations for physicians and providers. As the founder of the Center for Studying Mindfulness, she offers workshops, MBSR courses, and private consultations. She is published by Shambhala Publications.

Crystal Goh, PhD is a Zen and Insight (Vipassana) meditation teacher with extensive experience in Chinese and Korean Buddhism. She has worked and taught in London and California as a neuroscientist and was co-founder of Araya, a brain-imaging software company. Currently, she is an affiliate at the Applied Neuroscience Lab and helps organizations around the world to bulid programs that integrate science, meditation, and social engagement.


The application deadline is March 18, 2016, along with a non-refundable $200 deposit

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 copy of USM 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 and we will send you one. You may also want to try upgrading to the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Tuition and Fees

The estimated program fee is $2,600. The program fee includes accommodation, scheduled in-country travel, site visits, field trips, most meals, and iNext's comprehensive insurance plan. The cost of six credits of tuition and fees at the in-state rate are in addition to the program fee.

Not included in the program fee is the cost of international airfare, tuition, fees, books, academic supplies, or personal expenses. Six credits of undergraduate tuition is $1,518 plus $203 in fees. All participants on USM travel programs 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 April 2016 TBD

Remaining balance due May 2016 TBD

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 18, 2016. Students applying for the International Summer Scholarship must apply to a travel course before or at the same time as submitting a scholarship application.