User Tools

Site Tools


Global Leadership Study Abroad 2020 - Guangzhou China

This page is both for students who have applied and been accepted into the program as well as for students considering applying.

Watch the program video here. If you have any questions, contact Prof. Brent Nelson (

Information for Accepted Students


  • You should plan to arrive in Guangzhou on May 6 late in the day (flights typically arrive from the US around 11PM or possibly just after midnight.
  • Classes will start May 7.
  • You may leave China starting on June 18 from Beijing

Best Flights Found So Far

  • The above is Alaska Airlines + Hainan Airlines - this is what a lot of our students have taken the past few years. When I looked it up on Google, I found it for maybe $20 cheaper directly from Hainan, but I have always assumed there is some value in booking through BYU in case of problems - it might be worth asking the BYU travel office.
  • If you would prefer a US carrier (Delta), here is what BYU found today for $1006:
  • SLC to CAN:
    • DL2191T 05MAY T SLCSEA* 831A 940A
    • DL 281T 05MAY T SEAPVG* 1133A 310P 06MAY W
    • DL6358T 06MAY W PVGCAN* 915P 1140P
  • New Beijing airport back to SLC:
    • DL 188V 18JUN Q PKXDTW* 515P 636P (from the new airport in Beijing)
    • DL2572V 18JUN Q DTWSLC* 1037P 1227A 19JUN

Some other thoughts on travel:

  1. Prices have been edging up the past few weeks so now is likely a good time to pull the trigger and buy. But, trying to time the purchase of airplane tickets is like paying the stock market - hard to tell what the trends will be.
  2. As we discussed previously, you are not required to book your tickets through BYU - you can book any way you want. But, the BYU people are super helpful and so I always recommend them unless perhaps you find a much cheaper flight some other way or have some other reason to go elsewhere.
  3. The BYU Kennedy Center has a travel office (separate from the regular BYU travel office) dedicated to helping make study abroad travel arrangements. So, to contact them, call the Kennedy Center main phone #: (801) 422-3377 and ask for the study abroad travel office. If you call them you can provide the info above and they can quickly zero in on those flights. And, it is always a good thing to ask if they can find anything better just in case something else has come up in the mean time…
  4. If you are flying from a city other than Salt Lake, definitely shop around - other cities may be much cheaper.
  5. Remember, if you arrive near the times of the above 2 flights, I will be there with a bus to pick you up and take you to the university. Otherwise, we will have students from the University we are staying at come and get you and take you there on the subway.

So, what are other people finding? Let us know so we can spread the word!


  • Make sure now that you have a valid US passport. IMPORTANT: it must not expire within 6 months of the study abroad - check the web regarding Chinese visas for specifics.


  • You will sign up for courses later in winter semester (they are special study-abroad-only sections). The courses include:
    • ECEn 493R - Globalization and Technology (3 credits). Satisfies an elective requirement for all majors in the College of Engineering. If you are from outside the college, you should check with your advisement center - they have often approved this course for other majors for elective credit as well.
    • RelC 358 - Intro to Eastern Religions (2 credits). This counts toward the BYU GE “global and cultural awareness” requirement.
    • IAS 380R - Chinese culture (1 credit). This course will provide an intro to Chinese culture and language.

Prep Class

  • You should sign up for the prep class (IAS 201R) for 2nd block winter semester. Prof Nelson is the instructor and it meets Thursdays from 5-7PM. It should show up in the class schedule shortly.

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 “published” cost is $4,100-4,500 plus airfare. But, there are automatic subsidies built-in depending on your major. College of Engineering majors will get $1,000 from the college to help pay the costs. And, majors from outside the college can receive a $1,000 subsidy from the Dept of Religion. You don't have to apply for Engineering one, you do need to apply with Prof. Wilkinson for the Religion one. Finally, Dept of Electrical and Computer Engineering majors will get an additional $400 from the department.
  • Spring term scholarships apply to the cost as do PELL grants.
  • You will complete ECEn 493 (an elective course for all college majors).
  • You will complete RelC 358 - Intro to Eastern Religions - which provides religion credit as well as satisfying the GE “Global and Cultural Awareness” requirement.
  • You will study globalization and eastern religion “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. Prof. Wilkinson is an expert in eastern religions and will provide us an excellent intro eastern philosophy and religion. You will gain insights into Asian culture and practices you can get no other way as you travel with the group.
  • You will study ECEn 493 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 - in the past we have visited places such as Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guilin, Xi'an, Beijing, Dunhuang, Zhangjiajie (the Avatar landscape)…

Financial Aid

There is much additional financial aid available from both inside and outside BYU. Follow this link to learn more.

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 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 with a range ($4,100-4,500 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:

  • Check out the program's (old) video:
  • Contact the program directors: Prof. Brent Nelson -, (801)422-6455 or Prof. Greg Wikinson -, (801)422-2124 and set up a time to visit with one of them about the program.

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 6 and end on June 16. You will be able to return in time for summer term if you desire.

Faculty Contacts


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 (Prof Nelson) think are interesting here.

start.txt · Last modified: 2020/01/21 15:24 by nelson