Sophomore International Experience: China
The Sophomore International Experience is a special two week study abroad trip led by Bryant University. The U.S.-China Institute offers trips to China during winter and summer sessions.
Students can earn three academic credits and spend 12 to 14 days overseas to learn about Chinese culture and how businesses operate globally.
This international education program is geared specifically toward students in their sophomore academic year. All students must be in both good academic and disciplinary standing at the time of application and departure.
For information of application, eligibility, credit, and cost, please visit the Study Abroad Office.
For information about course and trip details, please contact:
2010 Trip Highlights
Here's what past participants had to say...
"So where do I begin, China is amazing! I’m so glad that I chose to go to China for Sophomore International Experience. It hasn’t even been a whole week yet but I don’t regret coming at all. Beijing was awesome. Some interesting times, some fun times, some awe inspiring moments, and much, much more. The Great Wall had the most beautiful scenery! Of course, I have been sore all of today from walking so much on the Great Wall, but it was worth it! I was amazed at all of the traffic in Beijing as well as the hour long rides to our destinations. I had never realized that Beijing was that big. I was surprised how eager both the elementary students as well as college students were to practice their English with us and learn as much as they could about America. Now I also have a better understanding of what Chinese food is, not the American version of Chinese food."
"The first five days in China have been a very good experience. It is one experience that I will always remember. Studying China through seminars and books is nothing compared to actually being immersed in the culture. I talk to the locals every chance I get. It is a very interesting feeling being the minority. It is something that I have never felt before. I think this is a country that cannot be even slightly understood in a two week visit. I think the culture here is so rich that it would take years and traveling the country to understand what it is truly like to be a part of the culture. I have an interest in learning the language and have asked many questions about different words and their meanings."
"This trip has been such an amazing experience for me on so many levels. First of all, all of the opportunities that I have had on this trip are truly once in a life time opportunities. I am so happy that I chose to come to China because originally I was apprehensive about the trip, and this was a very big step for me personally. Now that I have done this and had all of these great experiences I feel like there is nothing I can’t do. The thing that I really love about this trip is the blend of different experiences that I am having, from sightseeing things like climbing the Great Wall, to more cultural experiences such as talking to the range of students from eighth grade to college. Every day was so packed with fun activities after every one I kept thinking to myself that the next events can’t top the ones I just did, but they always do."
"Also, this trip has demonstrated to me that there are perhaps misconceptions of this country which are relayed to us in America through our media. Talking to our tour guide Jerry has been very interesting, as he has given us a local perspective on things that have been topic of conversation in America. For example, the way that the Olympics were portrayed through the American media made it seem as though the Chinese people were extremely oppressed. However, Jerry described to us that through the eyes of the Chinese people, the Olympics have brought nothing but good. Also, it was my belief that the government played a large role in everyday life, perhaps restricting the freedoms of the Chinese people. However, thus far I have not noticed anything of the sort. People seem to be free and happy."
"The SIE trip has only enhanced my desire to go back to China. I definitely plan to go back and see even more and one day to do business there. I loved every city we visited for different reasons and I imagine there is much more of China that I would enjoy experiencing. There is no doubt that I would strongly recommend this SIE trip to upcoming sophomores. I would explain it to them as the most interesting, most fun, most eye-opening, and, at times, scariest experience of my life that I would never want to take back. I feel extremely privileged that I got the chance to travel with 35 friends to a place that put us so far out of our comfort zone that we banded together and learned to adapt. Just that – the idea that in a place so different than anything I’ve ever known I had the best time ever and met some of the greatest people ever – was worth every minute of work and every penny of money spent towards this trip. The things I learned and got to experience first-hand are more valuable to me than anything I could have read in a textbook, and I hope many more students take the chance to submerge themselves in the trip of a lifetime."
"Looking back, I am so glad I went on this trip. While there were definitely some tough times, I feel like those times gave me the opportunity to grow as a person. Before this trip I was not very aware of the Chinese culture or what a Chinese lifestyle is like. The trip taught me a lot about their customs, lifestyle, and personality. I was amazed to find so many Chinese people speaking English. Wherever we went on the trip there was always a friendly native who I could hold an intriguing conversation with. I think that I learned something different in each city we went to. In Beijing I learned that China and its people have both old traditions, as well as new ones. I have a lot of similarities with the Chinese youth, but when it comes to tradition I have a lot to learn."
"In the end, this trip was one of the best experiences of my life. It has opened my eyes and given me a global perspective on life. I do plan on returning to China in the future, but I am afraid that my future trip will be no match for how great this trip was. This trip was so great that I have been telling my friends that they should visit China at some point in their life. I highly recommend it for students next year. It is an experience like no other. China is a place that at times can be like America, but at other times be completely different. It is wonderful. I do not know how the beach could be better than this."
"This trip improved my perception of the Chinese people and culture. Most of them were very nice and helpful to us. I had an idea of what their culture would be like. They have a history of amazing feats and many know that they are becoming the next superpower of the world. I would go back to China in a second, but I would want to see many of the things we were unable to see, while still seeing some again like the Great Wall, Olympic Village and The Dandelion School. I will never forget the images of those three places for the rest of my life. The Dandelion School makes me want to work even harder at Bryant now and achieve everything that is out there. Bryant truly does offer a lot for us to get involved with and I am 100 percent going to take advantage of that."
"As for my future plans in regards to China, I am eager to travel back there. I thought that when I signed up for this it would be the only time in my life that I would go to China, but I am already trying to figure out how I can go back. I already have study abroad plans for Australia or Spain but I would like to possibly do the summer internship in China. When CEO of AIG John Carey said that, “there is no such thing as domestic business anymore”, it really made me think about my major and what I would like to do with my life. I am looking to possibly switch around my schedule and take Chinese this semester and I think I would even be interested in one day working in China for a couple of years. This experience was a huge eye-opener for me and I am eager to see where it leads me."
"Before I went to china I thought that this trip would just be a learning experience and not much else. I was worried that the language and culture barrier would be extremely hard to overcome. As soon as we landed, however, I quickly realized that this trip was more than just a learning experience but also a life experience. We started our journey in Beijing. There we saw some of the most beautiful historical sites I have ever seen. The intricacies that go into the production of each individual structure completely blew my mind. The Summer Palace for example was one of the most beautiful historical sites I have ever been able to see. Each structure, whether it a building or an arch, had the same attention to each individual detail. The Great Wall is another example: even though the Great Wall is only made of stone it has been able to last hundreds of years and still be in shape enough for people to walk on. These details show just how advanced Chinese architects were hundreds of years ago."
"This China trip has a wonderful Itinerary with life changing activities. So far I have three favorite activities. The first was climbing The Great Wall! I never thought in a million years that I would be able to say I was on The Great Wall. Immediately after we left I was ready to go back. Being on The Great Wall was like experiencing an important piece of history, one that will never be forgotten. My other two favorite activities were attending the Dandelion School and the University. I love interaction with individuals and I felt that these two visits were extremely rewarding. The Dandelion School made me want to be a better person. I realized that I wanted to help this school and the children that attend. I decided that for my Management 200 class I am going to fundraise and set up an organization that will raise money for the school. I loved the children that I met on our visit and I am determined to help them."
"We have just left Beijing on our way to Guilin, we are very close to the middle of the trip and so far I can only describe it as amazing. In only six days we have learned more than any of us has learned in any of our classes in Bryant, because we have had the wonderful opportunity of experiencing the cultural differences first hand. I believe that this trip has helped most of us understand, not only the Chinese culture, but also it has given us a very good idea of the existence of cultural difference. In my personal opinion, there is no other way to really understand culture shock until you experience it firsthand. Through the program that has been organized for us, we have had more than plenty of chances to experience these shocks. This trip I think, has also taught us not to be so self centered and believe that the western culture dominates the world."
Watch it online (only available on Bryant campus): log in with your standard Bryant username and password (same as what is used for e-mail). The site may prompt you to install some browser plug-in- these must be installed for the videos to play back correctly. If there is any question about these there is a "Need Help - Click Here!" link to a document on the login page, that describes everything in detail. Once logged in click on the tab at the top "Video Library" and then click on the folder that says "Bryant_Self_Produced." Then click "SIE 2008" and you will see "SIE08_China.mpg".