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UNC William D. Weir Honors Fellowships in Asian Studies
William D. Weir Honors Fellowships in Asian Studies offer Carolina undergraduates a unique opportunity to develop their language skills and gain practical, independent work experience in China. The program is designed for students who have started their Chinese language journey and would like to develop advanced working language skills. Up to three fellowships are awarded annually. Recipients spend the Spring semester in Beijing for intensive language study at the CET Chinese Language Center. They then devote eight weeks during the Summer to an unpaid internship in Shanghai based at the CET Shanghai Program center. Internships are available to match a broad range of student interests, from law and business to the arts, journalism, and health and human services.
The Fellowship covers the much of the program expenses, including CET program fees, airfare, housing, textbooks, excursions, and medical insurance. Students contribute the equivalent of UNC tuition for one semester and cover their food and personal expenses.
The language prerequisite is 3 semesters, completed by the start of the program.
The program is located at the CET Chinese Language Training Center at Capital Normal University (CNU). CNU is a top tier university in China, with 28,000 students and a longstanding relationship with CET—it hosted the first CET program back in 1982.The CNU campus is large, modern and filled with resources: a gymnasium, sports fields, libraries, student centers. It is close to subway and bus stops, giving you easy access to all of Beijing.
The CET campus spaces have been recently renovated. Renovated classrooms—equipped with air purifiers—are a 5-minute walk from beautiful, brand new dorms, and are bright, modern, and comfortable…perfect for learning Chinese.
There are regularly scheduled excursions to places such as the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City. Students also participate in a weekend trip to a nearby city such as Datong, Chengde, or Qingdao. CET also provides for special courses and activities, such as tai qi or Chinese calligraphy.
CETs Shanghai Center is based at Donghua University, one of the few large university campuses located in the downtown part of Shanghai, where students can enjoy this central location and the university's close proximity to a metro stop and numerous bus lines.
Students will be in classes with other program participants. All courses are taught in Chinese.
William D. Weir Honors Fellowships in Asian Studies are administered in partnership with CET Academic Programs, an American organization based in Washington, D.C., that has coordinated educational initiatives in Asia for over 20 years. CET and Carolina have had a long and productive working relationship.
CET's Chinese language program enrolls students from colleges and universities across the United States. The program is housed at the western branch campus of the Beijing Institute of Education, which is located in a quiet residential neighborhood with easy bus and subway links to all sections of the city. Nearby shops, restaurants, parks, and cultural sites offer students daily opportunities to integrate themselves into local life.
The course of study is organized as follows:
Fellows devote the bulk of their time to intensive Chinese language study. CET typically offers as many as 10 separate levels of instruction to suit students' varying abilities and levels of preparation. The average class size is eight students, with even lower enrollments in upper-level and oral courses. This arrangement maximizes opportunities for individualized instruction and greatly enhances student learning. The CET program also includes a practicum for students at all levels. This element of the curriculum takes advantage of the surrounding environment by teaching students to use Chinese in everyday situations. Students learn to perform specific tasks in their host environment, such as buying train tickets and bargaining in the market. The CET curriculum is rounded out by a robust program of weekend excursions to major cultural and historical sites. Class work during the Spring semester will be undertaken along with other American students enrolled at CET Beijing.
Summer Internship (8 weeks)
During the summer portion of the program, Fellows work a minimum of 25 hours a week in their internships in Shanghai. CET maintains an extensive network of contacts with corporations, non-governmental organizations, and Chinese government agencies. CET staff coordinates placements based on students' interests and an assessment of their language proficiency. CET will also provide a customized course during the summer for the Fellows focused on a topic or mix of topics related to their internships (business in China, the Chinese legal system, health and health care in China, etc.) and will include instruction on language skills useful in their specific internship placements.
The Fellows conclude the program by preparing written reflections on their internship experiences. These reports will be assessed by Carolina faculty for a final grade on the internship experience. Upon successful completion, students will receive 6 hours of graded UNC credit, HNRS 393, for the summer portion of the program.
Courses in this program are both UNC Graded Credit and Transfer Credit.
UNC Graded Credit Courses (often taught by UNC Faculty): No action required
- These courses automatically show up on your Tar Heel Tracker and UNC Transcript.
- You will receive a letter grade for those courses, and this does affect your GPA.
Transfer Credit Courses (not taught by UNC Faculty): ACTION REQUIRED
- You must submit the Credit Request Form to earn any credit for your time abroad.
- You must earn the equivalent of a C or higher to earn any credit.
- These courses will transfer back to UNC as “TREQ” credits.
Students live in double rooms in the campus dormitories at Capital Normal University. Students live with a Chinese roommate who was selected to assist in immersing the students in their language-intensive semester. The program's strong results derive partly from a Chinese language-only pledge. CET includes lunch in the CET dining hall. The campus is known for its open atmosphere: interaction among Chinese and foreign students is encouraged. Facilities include a library, soccer field, and weight room; all of which are open to study abroad students.
CETs Shanghai Center is based at Donghua University, one of the few large university campuses located in the downtown part of Shanghai, where students can enjoy this central location and the university's close proximity to a metro stop and numerous bus lines. While there is no language pledge in the Shanghai program, students continue to benefit froma Chinese roommate.
Review the Budget Sheet posted above for detailed information on costs and fees. Costs vary per term and are subject to change.
Tuition and fees for the program are set based on the host institution’s rates, and will be charged to the participant’s UNC student account. Always refer to the Budget Sheet on this page, and not the host institution’s posted rates, as it is customized for UNC students. Review the Budget Sheet for additional Cashier Billed Expenses and Out-of-Pocket Costs. The Study Abroad Office strongly encourages students to budget carefully for their time abroad.
Follow these steps to apply for this program:
- Complete the required UNC application by clicking “Apply Now” at the top of the page. If you have not done so already, create a profile to start your application.
- Follow the instructions on your UNC application to submit the supplemental application required by the partner institution.
What Weir Fellows say about the program:
"It's almost impossible to sum up the incredible experience that the Weir Fellowship provides. If you want top notch academics, amazing teachers and classmates who will guide you every step of the way in your Chinese improvement, a vibrant colorful city with delicious food and warmhearted people, and an internship experience that will leave you with powerful impressions and lasting connections, then you are just going to have to go out and experience it for yourself!"
~ 2012 Weir Fellow from Charlotte, NC
"Before my Weir experience, I studied Chinese, and I liked it. Six months of dumplings, Chinese puns, incomprehensible taxi drivers, hundreds of hours of studying, and one Chinese roommate-turned-best-friend later, and now I speak Chinese, but I love it."
~ 2012 Weir Fellow from Fairview, NC
For information on requesting ARS accommodations (academic, health, and mobility concerns) for a study abroad program, contact the Advisor for Access