Thematic Programs

The Asia Institute continues to innovate and creates unique thematic programs, where students can gain valuable learning experiences that can't be found anywhere else. Each program includes a theme, which ties the faculty-led program together, and further engages students in a more in-depth, and less general, study abroad program.

Comparative Democracies
21st Century Democracy in India and the United States
Comparative Democracies: 21st Century Democracy in India and the United States

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12 Days | New Delhi and Mumbai, India
Political Science
After independence in 1947, India became the largest democratic country in the world. However, the sustainability and viability of the “world’s largest democracy” has been questioned. To fully understand democracy in India, students will expand their knowledge of the political systems, culture and history, all which make India unique. This program provides students with opportunities to explore traditional Indian social, religious and political identities, to see how communities are involved in the democratic process in India, with engagement from field experts, government officials, in a service learning project, and historical site visits.

Early Childhood Education in China

Early Childhood Education in China

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14 Days | China
Early Childhood Education, Education
Early childhood education in China has changed dramatically since 1990. Over the past two decades, various Western curricula and pedagogical models have been introduced. This has spurred a debate as to whether continued reforms are necessary, or rather how Western curricula can be appropriately applied to the Chinese cultural context. To examine early childhood environments, in particular public and private pre-school classes, this program will provide students with a deeper understanding of the government policies and educational frameworks that impact early childhood education in China. 

Transitioning Economies:
A Comparative on Econmic Development in Asia
Transitioning Economies: A Comparative on Economic Development in Asia

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18 Days | North Korea,Vietnam, China
Political Science, Economies
In order to understand this dramatic regional shift, students involved in Transitioning Economies: A Comparative on Economic Advancement will look closely at East Asia through the lens of three countries. In addition to China, Vietnam and North Korea will also be considered from the perspective of history, culture and government policies. In the case of Vietnam, the country has made a similar shift from a highly centralized planned economy to a mixed economy, since the DoiMoi Reform in 1986. In North Korea, the country remains tightly controlled by the Communist Party, and is considered by some, to be the world’s most repressed economy.  

Biodiversity and Ecological Sustainability in Borneo

Biodiversity and Ecological Sustainability in Borneo

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19 Days | Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Borneo (Malaysia)
Biodiversity, Environment Engineering
Borneo is the world's third largest island, and home to some of the most biodiverse forests on the planet. The island also has an ideal climate, and as a result many rare species of animals and fauna can only be found there. However, since the 1980s, Borneo has experienced rampant habitat loss and climate change due to the introduction of oil palm. To gain a first-hand experience and understanding of the incredible biodiversity that is threatened in Borneo, students will explore the tropical island by engaging with the Bornean landscape, protected conservation areas, communities and even animals, such as orangutans.

Ancient Cures:
Traditions of Healing in Naturopathy and Yoga
Ancient Cures: Traditions of Healing in Naturopathy and Yoga

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13 Days | India
Yoga and Naturopathy, Asian Studies
The age of technology has given us many benefits, and made our daily lives easier, however in other ways these advancements have also impacted people’s life style and health. India: Traditions of Healing from Naturopathy to Yoga, is an immersive education program for students to transform their way of life and thinking. Involving real life practices of naturopathic therapy and various forms of yoga, students will engage in an adventure with Master instructors, to truly understand the cultural and medicinal traditions of these ancient cures. In addition, students will visit historical sites and communities, providing a broader understanding of India today.

Lessons From Japan:
Earthquake and Tsunami Survival Stories
Lessons From Japan: Earthquake and Tsunami Survival Stories

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10 Days | Japan
Political Science, Disaster Management
Annually, as many as 1,500 earthquakes are recorded in Japan, in addition to regular typhoons and slightly less common volcanic eruptions. With such a high occurrence of natural disasters, crisis management in Japan is critical. Established systems including disaster prevention, emergency response, and recovery and reconstruction must react quickly when an event occurs. This course explores disaster management, both from a preventative standpoint to disaster relief, including visits to areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. In addition, participants will be engaged in on-the-ground service learning projects, which will contribute positively to the local community. Lastly, students will observe how developed disaster management procedures bring together all stakeholders, including society, the government, and local NGOs.

Farm to Table:
Tracking the Food Supply Chain

Farm to Table: Tracking the Food Supply Chain

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12 Days | China
Food Science, Agriculture, Supply Chain

China’s economic growth over the past three decades is widely known, and as people’s incomes have increased, so too has food distribution and consumption. While everyone is investing in China’s booming consumer food and beverage market, recent food safety concerns have come to light, which raise critical questions about the inherent challenges and opportunities in China’s food supply chain. To understand China’s complex food supply chain, students will follow the agriculture industry from the farm, to the processors and distributors, to the end retailer. In addition, students will learn who is involved in the cold chain logistics, and how supermarkets and restaurants are addressing the demands of an increasingly educated consumer.
International Finance:
Understanding Asia's Growing Islamic Banking Industry
International Finance: Understanding Asia's Growing Islamic Banking Industry

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11 Days | Singapore, Malaysia
International Finance, International Business
Islamic banking and finance has grown rapidly over the past decade. Many countries have seen a rise in the demand for Islamic banking services, in particular Southeast Asia.
To truly understand the current development of Islamic banking and finance in Southeast Asia and how Islamic banking compares to conventional or Western banking systems, students must understand the rapidly expanding financial centers of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, through onsite visits and meetings with leaders in the Islamic banking industry.
Four Sacred Mountains:
Buddhism in China
Four Mountains of Chinese Buddhism

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20 Days | China
Buddhism, Religious Studies, Chinese Culture

Buddhism has played a prominent role in China for over 2,000 years. Buddhist ideas, practices and teachings have shaped Chinese culture in areas including the arts, politics, literature and medicine, and still play an important role today. To truly understand Chinese Buddhism, one must visit the Four Sacred Mountains, Mt. Wutai, Mt. Emei, Mt. Putuo and Mt. Jiuhua. These mountains are not only beautiful scenic destinations, but also provide an engaging experience for students to understand the renaissance of Chinese Buddhism. Students will observe strong examples of Buddhist architecture and have exposure to rare Buddhist literature, all while seeing the more natural and rural side of China.
Big Data Analytics:
Big Data and Cloud Computing
Big Data Analytics: Big Data and Cloud Computing

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12 Days | China
Big Data, Computer Science, Engineering

With 1.3 billion people, rapidly expanding megacities, and the largest internet and smart phone user rate in the world, China generates an immense amount of data. In the technology age, companies in China are moving fast to store, analyze and improve decision-making based on valuable real-time insights, and grow their competitive advantage in the world-wide economy. At the same time, this information can also be used to aid China’s support to society, through the prevention of disease, addressing criminal activity and improving people’s daily lives.

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> Courses and Academic Series > Develop a Program

To develop a program, the process is easy! Here are the steps:
1. Email or call the Asia Institute to talk about your ideas
2. Develop one or more program proposals for review
3. Confirm the Asia Institute will host the program
4. Receive full support from the Asia Institute to promote your program
5. Pre-departure preparation and orientation
6. Depart for Asia

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