People have told me, "I wanted to see something completely different."
After studying Chinese history and the language, what I honestly wanted was to see—what is the same?
China is highly exoticized in the mainstream media, making the differences between our two cultures something foreign and hard to relate to. Fluency alone will not determine how well you use a language: it is engagement with the culture which cultivates understanding, and that understanding will be crucial to developing relationships with the Chinese. Whether those relationships will be for business or academic study, they will be enriched with an experience abroad.
Reed has a number of exchange programs for students interested in international off-campus study. Students who are interested in these programs are encouraged to meet with their faculty adviser and the off-campus program director to develop a study plan. Students in good academic standing who are approved by Reed faculty for participation in these programs are able to use their financial aid and are registered as regular students at the College.
Reed has developed affiliations with four Chinese Universities: Beijing Foreign Studies University and Capital Normal University located in Beijing; East China Normal University located in Shanghai; and Fujian Normal University located in Fuzhou, where students can study the Chinese language intensively. Students may also take additional courses in Chinese calligraphy, culture, and Tai Chi.
Independently arranged programs
In addition to the formal programs, Reed students are able to participate in a variety of other independently arranged study programs sponsored either by a foreign university or an American college. Students are encouraged to discuss their study plans with their adviser, as well as the director of international programs, before they leave the College. Although students participating in such programs are required to take a leave of absence from the College and are not able to use financial aid, they can, with careful planning, be assured of having the work apply toward Reed academic requirements. For those interested in non-Reed exchanges, please consult the International Programs Office's searchable database. The office remains a resource for students interested in non-Reed exchanges. In addition students can use: www.iiepassport.org or www.studyabroad.com.
Funding study in China
With some diligent effort, you may find it possible to obtain funding for partial or even full support of your study in China. Opportunities and funding sources are subject to frequent change, but here are three that are worth looking into. (Note that all of these require U.S. citizenship).
Created to encourage study abroad in East and Southeast Asia, and subsequently spread understanding of Asian cultures, this generous scholarship has an additional stipulation: a service requirement—in which you propose and carry out a plan for promoting your study abroad experience after you have returned to your home campus or community.
This scholarship encourages American students to study language in regions "critical to U.S. interests", and China is certainly one of those. Although its main concern is the language component of a program, fields of study which are relevant to international concerns is a nice bonus. This scholarship also carries a service requirement of employment for at least one year with the federal government in a position with national security responsibilities.
Applicants must be currently receiving a Pell Grant, and other requirements include:  applicants must have applied to (or already accepted by) programs which will spend at least 4 weeks in one of the eligible countries (and no more than one year),  will receive academic credit, and  will propose and fulfill a service requirement. Applicants who are currently underrepresented in study abroad programs (students with high financial need, students in fields such as sciences or engineering, ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, etc.) are encouraged to apply for this congressionally funded scholarship. This scholarship can be used to pursue the study of any Chinese dialect.
Please see the International Programs Office webpage for more information on study abroad opportunities and requirements.