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Global Leadership Study Abroad 2015 - Guangzhou China

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The first section below is info for students who have applied and been accepted into the program. The remainder of this page is information on the study abroad for students considering applying.

Information for Accepted Students

  • The prep course you need to register for is IAS 201R, section 29. It is taught 2nd block winter semester and is Tuesdays from 4-6pm.
  • The informal Intro to Mandarin Chinese course I will be teaching will start Jan 13 and will be each Tuesday from 4-6pm in room 459 CB.
  • Your passport should be valid at least through Dec 1, 2015 in order to get a visa (which we will do as a group in prep class).
  • See information on airfares below. If you find any great fares, please email me and I will add them to the list.

Airfares from LAX - Update Jan 14, 2015

There are two ways to get from LA to/from China which were both about $850 as of Jan 14. One is with China Southern. The other is on Alaska and Hainan and you would be with the other students (if that is important to you).

Discussion on Airfares, Jan 13, 2015

Here are my notes from our discussion in class about airfares today:

  1. The BYU Kennedy Center is the office at BYU that runs the study abroads. They have their own travel agents to help with travel for study abroad kinds of activities. You are not required to use them but I recommend you visit and carefully check with them to see what fares they have identified. They have access to special student fares, wholesale fares, etc. Also, they understand our study abroad and our requirements and can work to get you who use them on the same flights. Finally, I have been talking in detail with them and we have worked out some recommended itineraries that seem to be the best deal.
  2. I have been talking with Julie-Ann Zarbock in the Kennedy Center Travel Office. Her office # is 280-B HRCB. She says you are welcome to visit her. However, they have created a notebook on our group in their office and so anyone in their office will have access to that notebook and should be able to help you.
  3. The best deals they have found to date are with Hainan Air, Delta, and Southwest. They have put together the same itinerary that was used last year for this same study abroad. That itinerary is through Seattle and Beijing and arrives in Guangzhou on May 3 at 12:35AM.
  4. The cost was in the $1100 range today. She says it may change daily but her observation is that it is only going to go up in the future. Thus, she suggests you may want to move quickly to buy your tickets.
  5. Importantly, the way the tickets are booked, you may be charged baggage fees for the SLC <—> Seattle legs. So, when you talk to her be sure to discuss this and choose the cheapest option at the time (Delta charges baggage fees, Southwest doesn’t charge baggage fees – but as of today Southwest was more expensive for the ticket – so you need to check that).
  6. For those who come in on the flight mentioned above (arriving 12:35AM on May 3), I will arrange a shuttle bus to pick you up and get you to the hotel.
  7. If you take a different flight and it gets in between 6am and 10pm on May 3, you should be able to take the subway to the university, and students from SunYatSen University will be available to meet you at the airport and help you get to the university. Alternatively, you should be able to catch a taxi ($30) from the airport to the university at any time of day.
  8. There are other routings to get to Guangzhou – today in class Tysum Ruckti found an LA flight for $850 that some of them are going to take.
  9. The study abroad officially starts May 4 (Monday). The flight in #4 above will arrive at 12:30AM Sunday morning (May 3). If you take a different flight you simply need to be there some time on May 3 at the latest.
  10. The study abroad officially ends the June 15 (Monday). The flight in #4 above will leave the afternoon of June 15 to return.
  11. You have full flexibility to go early, stay longer, visit your old mission on the way, etc. The travel office can help you with that if needed.
  12. Perhaps the most important point I got from talking to the Kennedy Center Travel office today is that the agent there expects fares to go up and so she suggests everyone move quickly to get the best fare possible before they do go up.

Why Do Study Abroad in China?

  • You can do this study abroad for not much more than it would cost you to stay in Provo for spring term.
    • The cost will be about $3,000-3,400 plus airfare if you are a major in the College of Engineering and Technology, more if not. (The ECEn Department is providing an additional $400 subsidy to their students)!
  • You can complete EngT 231 (a required GE course). Doing it in China is a very different experience in China compared to Provo.
    • You will study globalization, leadership, and ethics “in the field” as you visit factories and design centers and talk to westerners living and working there as well as Chinese engineers and technologists.
    • You will experience Asia in a safe group setting and will live in China for 6 weeks (very different from a short trip where you never get beyond the tourist sites). Prof. Nelson is a China expert, is fluent in Mandarin, and has travelled to China more than a dozen times in the past few years. You will gain insights into Asian culture and practices you can get no other way as you travel with the group.
    • You will study EngT 231 in a class combining students from SunYatSen University with your and your BYU classmates, with the class taught by the BYU program director.
    • You will thus make close friends and collaborate on class assignments and projects, gaining cultural understanding and insights you can get no other way. Along the way your Chinese friends will teach you much about Chinese culture, food, cooking, and life.
  • You will also take IAS 201R, Chinese Culture and Language and get to practice as well as experience what you are learning as we live and travel around China.
  • We will take many side-trips from Guangzhou to see the variety of China from north to south - Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guilin, Xi'an, Beijing, Dunhuang, Zhangjiajie (the Avatar landscape)…

Testimonials from Previous Student Attendees

  • My life is forever changed…
  • I can say with absolute certainty that it was the best seven weeks of my college experience.
  • I feel like nothing could’ve have shaped my attitude as dramatically and concretely as this study abroad has, with the students and culture we have seen.
  • For me this experience has been life changing and unbelievable.
  • I learned more about myself, China, and the Chinese language in the Spring Term I spent taking classes and sightseeing in China than I have at any point in my life.
  • I’m more aware of global issues, I’ve developed opinions and ideas on how to better contribute to our world
  • I have loved being in China, I am eternally grateful for the humbling experiences I had, the things that I have learned, and the people who made this opportunity possible. My life will never be the same.


  • Q: What if I have a spring term scholarship, does it reduce the cost? A: Absolutely, the $3,000 cost mentioned above includes Spring tuition. If you have a scholarship, your cost will be reduced by that amount.
  • Q: Do I need to know how to speak Chinese to go? A: Definitely not. Most of our students do not speak Chinese. You will do just fine in the group and will learn some while there.
  • Q: If I already speak Chinese, can I take advanced classes while there? A: We travel enough while there that you will not be able to enroll in an advanced course while there. But you will have extensive chances to improve as we study with the Chinese students and travel throughout China. Regardless of where you learned your Mandarin (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Toronto, Australia, San Francisco, high school, …) you will have plenty of chances to get out on your own and immerse yourself in the language again.
  • Q: Can I travel over or stay late? A: Absolutely. Each year we have students who do this, either to visit other locations in Asia or to see more of China than we will. The requirement is that you arrive in Guangzhou in time for the first day of class and stay with the group until the last day.
  • Q: The way you quote the cost ($3,000-3,400 plus airfare) suggests that we buy our own airplane tickets. Is this true? A: Yes. We will identify the best fares and suggested flights if you want to travel with the group. We will also help you purchase your tickets through BYU travel if you desire. But, you are free to book your own flights to accommodate your own travel schedule. Further, if you want to use frequent flyer miles to obtain your tickets, you may do so.

To Learn More

Keep reading below for more information. Additional resources include:

  • Come to the college's international fair (Oct 16 12-2pm, CB lounge) and meet students who participated this past summer as well as the faculty director.
  • Stay tuned for info meeting sessions to occur later in October and November.
  • Check out the program's video:
  • Contact the program director: Prof. Brent Nelson -, (801)422-6455 and set up a time to visit with him about the program.
  • Visit the college's Weidman Center in 264 CB and visit with Dr. Gregg Warnick - he can give you 100 more reasons why an international experience is right for you!

Additional Info


Fall Semester

  • Recruiting starts in September. A website for our study abroad will be put up at the Kennedy Center at the start of September. The Kennedy Center study abroad website is:
  • The application deadline is in December of each year. Acceptances will be sent out during the Christmas holiday break.

Winter Semester

  • A 0.5 credit preparation class is held 2nd block of winter semester. In this prep class we collect everyone's passports and send them off to obtain visas to enter China. We also receive briefings from the Kennedy Center on safety abroad, cultural awareness, etc. Finally, selected BYU faculty provide over lectures on Chinese history, culture, and economics to prepare us for the trip.

Spring Term

  • The program will start approximately May 4 and end on June 15. You will be able to return in time for summer term if you desire.

Faculty Contact

For additional information, contact Prof. Brent Nelson -, (801)422-6455.


Pictures of where we visited and what we have done in the past can be found here.

Readings and Movies

Good preparation in terms of reading about both ancient and modern China can make a huge difference
in what you understand while you are there. You can find info on books and movies I have read and think interesting here.

start.txt · Last modified: 2015/01/14 11:33 by nelson
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