Office of International Programs

Travel - Cultural Understanding in China

Cultural Understanding in China


 July 20 - August 7, 2017

*Orientation prior to depature: June 24 - June 25, 2017

EDU 479 (6 undergraduate credits)

EDU 579 (6 graduate credits)


 Great Wall of China


Travel to Beijing, Dalian, and Hohhot, China in this six credit EDU 579 course.  Students will gain an invaluable perspective as they are immersed into Chinese culture through exploration, volunteer opportunities, and culturally comparative instruction. With a focus on refugee and immigrant populations, students will develop understanding, empathy, and insight into the best ways to support and empower these communities.

The trip will start in Beijing, where students spend time exploring through guided cultural activites and self-guided exploration, including a community service project. The group will take an overnight train to the next stop, Dalian and Dongbei University (DUFE). DUFE is the school the program has connected to through the Confucius Institute, and while at DUFE students will get basic language and cultural training, along with some sightseeing. Next, the group will fly to Hohhot to explore Mongolia. The group will return to Beijing and fly home from there. 




Dr. Julie Alexandrin is an Associate Professor of Abilities and Disabilities Studies and Department Chair for Teaching and Learning. Julie first went to China in 2015 with students and enjoyed it so much she is excited to go again! Julie created the courses to go along with the trip to China, for students to use the experience to better understand and support youth who are immigrants or refugees. By being put in an environment which is unlike one students have experienced, students gain incredible insight and understanding.

Dr. Alexandrin has been at USM for 10 years, and teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses. She believes that understanding the different perspectives of youth is a crucial skill when working with them. Julie started her teaching in a middle school in Milwaukee, WI, then taught in a rural school in upstate NY, and last worked with youth throughout CT, in a community based school. Working now at the college level, Julie uses her past experiences to support her students in being the best educators for all youth they can be.

The other exciting aspect of the China Trip in 2017, is that Julie will be co-leading the trip with Barb Sorum, whom she has traveled abroad with before and brings a wealth of knowledge of working with immigrant and refugee youth. 



The application deadline is March 17, 2017.

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 all academic transcripts

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 approximate program fee is $2,750 + airfare. The cost of tuition and fees at the in-state rate are in addition to the program fee.The program fee includes accommodation, airfare, scheduled in-country travel, site visits, field trips and iNext's comprehensive insurance plan. Six credits of tuition and fees for undergraduates or six credits for graduate students are an additional cost.

Not included in the program fee is the cost of tuition, fees, books, academic supplies, international airfare, and some meals or other personal expenses. All participants on USM travel programs receive the in-state tuition rate regardless of residency.


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 7, 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.