Chinese Area Studies

Chinese Area Studies Program

This interdisciplinary program prepares students to thrive as globally aware and cross-culturally competent citizens through a critical understanding of Chinese cultures. Students develop functional Mandarin Chinese communication skills and study Chinese literature, history, politics, and art. This program also addresses the role of China within larger global contexts. A major in Chinese Area Studies prepares students to apply their practical language skills, cultural knowledge, and global awareness to a wide variety of career choices, such as government, international relations, foreign service, immigration services, tourism or entrepreneurship.

Study abroad to China is required for the major (minimum of 6 credits). For more information about the program or Mandarin Chinese language classes, please contact Prof. Weiqing Zhang ([email protected]).

Not sure which Chinese course you should take first? Click Placement Information to determine your best fit.

To learn more about resources and opportunities available to Chinese Area Studies students, click Student Resources.

CAS Students Visiting Chinese Famous Calligrapher

On May 25, 2019, CAHSS students and Professor Weiqing Zhang from Chinese Area Studies visited the famous Chinese calligrapher—Professor Weitian Wang. Prof. Wang teaches at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences on Yan Qihu, lakeside in the suburb of Beijing. Professor Wang showed the students around his art studio. The eye-catching art pieces were large calligraphy of “Chinese Dreams”, “Picturesque Landscape”, and “Daodejing” by Laozi. Inside the studio, staffs were busy decorating Professor Wang’s calligraphy work “Hundred Dragons” for national exhibition.

Professor Wang introduced the history and development of Chinese language over the four thousand years. He demonstrated the representation of Chinese Daoism and Confucianism in calligraphy. He expressed his hopes that students should cultivate virtues for good calligraphy because there is strong connection between personality and calligraphy. Professor Wang then taught the students basic skills of calligraphy and under his instruction, students produced quality calligraphy on the rice paper. At the end of the two hour session, Professor Wang improvised the calligraphy “Kang Dragon” (dragon at his terminal status) and presented it as a gift to Professor Weiqing Zhang as a bless to the young American students for their bright future and for the spread of Chinese culture across the Pacific Ocean. To these young students, it was an unforgettable Chinese culture lesson throughout life.

Song: Chinese Character by Prof. Weitian Wang 

UMD Students Join the Chinese Boom

Chinese Class

All around the globe, the number of people studying Mandarin Chinese is growing. UMD students have joined the surge. Why? There are lots of reasons. Some are interested in Chinese culture; others want to travel or study abroad in China, and still others want to be able to work with a company doing business in China.
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UMD's Kongmeng Vang: Exploring Southwest China

Study Abroad Adventure in China

“Living in Chengdu is amazing,” said Kongmeng Vang, a UMD junior with a double major in environmental science and international studies.

When Kongmeng graduated from Champlin Park High School in Brooklyn Park, Minn., he had no idea that just a few years later he would be buying lunch from tiny noodle shops and climbing Tibetan mountain ranges.
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