May 7th 2013: Hello and welcome to the ACI website. We’d like to welcome this year’s 2013 Fellows! Looking forward to an exciting summer
What is ACI?
The Amherst China Initiative (ACI) is a non-profit program founded by Amherst alumni in 2009 for college students to work, teach, study, volunteer and travel in China. ACI offers US college students an international volunteer experience teaching in China to students of all levels (graduate, undergrad, secondary, and primary); ACI fellows will instruct free, open and self-designed English courses to the public at China’s nationally ranked 3rd university, Zhejiang University, in Hangzhou.
When not busy with teaching or preparing for classes, ACI fellows will undergo intensive language study on weekdays and backpack through China on the weekends. The program is based in Hangzhou, China, and has brought over 50 Amherst students to China over the past 3 summers to outreach to hundreds of Chinese students who believe that English and a Western-style educational experience can improve their future.
You can also view our ACI Informational Video, to learn more.
What differentiates ACI from other study-abroad programs?
ACI believes an experience abroad can help develop new perspectives. However, our approach is a little different: we encourage independence and immersion, so we provide an environment where you can take an active role in experiencing China. Our feature program is a cooperation with Zhejiang University, China’s 3rd best university, where you will teach English classes to Chinese university and high school students. We also arrange Chinese language classes at Zhejiang University and organize short-duration traveling trips to offbeat locations (read: backpacking and hostels). Lastly, we also have experience with connecting previous Fellows to part-time paid teaching jobs and volunteer opportunities, as well as long-duration traveling trips.
When does the 2013 program take place?
In previous years we offered different sessions for students, but starting from this year, we will be consolidating the program into one session: 6 weeks long, beginning June 28th and ending August 9th. Fellows will have the option of extending their program duration for an additional two weeks.
For the first two weeks, fellows will participate in orientation, language prep classes, and teacher training. The English-teaching and Chinese-studying classes at Zhejiang University should take place in July for 4 weeks. For the last two weeks, fellows will continue to participate in language prep classes but will also work part-time as English teachers and can choose to volunteer in various animal shelters, elderly homes, or orphanages in their spare time. Afterward, some previous Fellows used ACI as a launching pad for an epic Southeast Asia grand tour and came back ragged and tired, but full of some crazy stories.
Why should I apply to ACI?
To ACI? You don’t have to, but some things previous Fellows have enjoyed about us is our flexibility, individualized attention, awkward humor (no kidding) and program culture. But seriously, in general, if you’re looking to visit China, a study-abroad program makes the experience better by addressing a lot of concerns. You may wonder, what’s so hard about doing a summer in China? Everything. Where do you live? How do you get there? What do you do? How can you improve your Chinese? How do you know where to visit? How do you avoid being scammed? How do you develop a social network? Who do you contact if you get in trouble?
How much does ACI cost?
The total fee for the six week program is 2500 USD, which includes housing, language study, weekend trips, one long weekend trip and all general fees (for a more detailed breakdown, you may visit our Costs page). Please note that this does not include airfare, personal expenses, visa and medical costs.
How can I learn more about ACI?
Great question. A lot of our media was contributed by previous Fellows. I’d start with reading Blogs by previous Fellows describing their experiences and then visiting the Admissions to see how you can apply for this summer.
Please note that while Amherst College supports fellowships for Amherst students to participate in the Amherst China Initiative (ACI), the College itself is not affiliated with the program.