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SIT China Community Health

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:



Kunming, China




2.5 GPA, good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Summer: 3/4

Program Cost:

Refer to the Application tab for more details

Study Abroad Advisor:

Ana Jimenez

Yuantong Temple, the largest Buddhist complex in Kunming
Yuantong Temple, the largest Buddhist complex in Kunming

SIT Study Abroad offers more than 60 accredited semester and summer study abroad programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. SIT also offers the International Honors Program, which is multi-locational.

The SIT Experience

  • Rigorous academic programs through a field-based, experiential approach
  • Cultural immersion through fieldwork, language classes, and urban and rural homestays with local families
  • A small group of students in each program, supported by SIT faculty and staff, homestay families, in-country experts, and community members
  • Access to SIT's extensive local resources and networks
  • A commitment to reciprocity as the foundation of our educational philosophy

SIT Community Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Shadow Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners and examine community health issues by working with professionals in urban and rural areas.

This program will engage you with integrated healthcare in China today, where Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western medicine coexist. You will learn about China’s rapidly changing healthcare landscape and strategies being imagined and implemented to address questions of personal and community health.

Dried herbs and plants for Chinese herbology
Dried herbs and plants for Chinese herbology

Major topics of study include:

  • Critical health issues such as HIV/AIDs, China’s reproductive policy, women’s and children’s healthcare, and the reform of China’s healthcare system
  • Indigenous ethnic minority healing systems, including Bai traditional herbal medicine, Naxi Dongba shamanism, and Tibetan medicine
  • Chinese traditional healing practices such as Qigong therapy, Five Animal Movements, medicinal food therapy, tea therapy, foot massage therapy, hot spring therapy, and music therapy
  • The pharmacopoeia of TCM herbal medicine and techniques of massage, acupuncture, moxibustion, and cupping
  • Daoist philosophy and TCM theory/diagnosis

Students who participate in this program take two courses:

  • Community Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine (6 s.h.)
  • Chinese language (beginning, intermediate, or advanced; 2 s.h.)

For a course descriptions and syllabi, please consult SIT's program webpage.

SIT Academic Programs

Interdisciplinary Seminars

Thematic seminars merge student experience with academic theory to examine critical issues from multiple perspectives. Students learn from SIT faculty as well as guest lecturers from local universities, research institutes, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and community and professional associations. Field-based activities and assignments complement readings, discussions, and research papers, allowing students to engage in a variety of study methods.

Intensive Language Study

Programs typically offer language study at the intermediate and advanced levels and/or beginning instruction in a less commonly taught language spoken by the local community. Language courses incorporate formal classroom instruction, discussion, and field exercises designed to enhance student engagement while improving oral and written competence. Select programs are taught entirely or partly in the target language.

Program Dates

For program dates, please consult SIT's program webpage

For More Info

If you have questions or are ready to apply to this program, please make an appointment with program advisor by calling the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 (M-F, 8-5).

Ana Jimenez
Study Abroad Advisor & Program Coordinator
Tel: +1 319-335-0353

Kunming, China

Green Lake Park
Green Lake Park

This program is based in Kunming, in Yunnan province, one of the most culturally-diverse provinces in China. Kunming is known for its laid-back nature and is home to a number of universities, museums and cultural institutions. It is nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” because of its temperate climate.

The program partners with the Yunnan Provincial Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital. The hospital’s doctors, nurses, and facilities are all available to students. You will learn about the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of TCM practices during lectures and then have the opportunity to practice them yourself on most days during a practice session.


Kunming at night
Kunming at night

SIT places the highest priority on the health, safety, and security of all students. Through their 80-plus years of running international experiential education programs, they have developed sophisticated proactive and reactive risk management strategies. Their proactive risk management begins with in-country assessments of safety and continues through student orientation and emergency preparedness. Their reactive risk management strategies include 24/7 on-call availability, emergency/crisis response protocols, and comprehensive student insurance. Their structure also allows for rapid response and adjustment to changing situations.

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Shilin Stone Forest
Shilin Stone Forest

Housing is provided in a hotel (double-occupancy rooms) close to the Yunnan Provincial Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital. During excursions in Dali, Lijang, and Zhongdian, participants stay in small hotels and guest houses. There is no long-term homestay option in this program.

Educational Excursions

Dali Ancient City
Dali Ancient City

You will participate in one extended excursion north of Kunming to Weibaoshan Daoist mountain, Dali Ancient City, Shaxi town on the Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Route, the Lijiang World Heritage site, and Zhongdian (Shangri-La) Tibetan area. While there, you will gain insight into minority culture, alternative health practices, and rural life. You will visit clinics, explore Bai herbal medicine, Tibetan Traditional Medicine, and Naxi Dongba traditions, and you will learn about the vast difference between daily life in urban versus rural settings.

Travel Arrangements

Participants will make their own travel arrangements to China, taking advantage of any frequent-flyer options and/or internet specials available to them. The cost of travel is not included in the program fee. Information about airport pick up will be given at orientation. Students should book airfare to correspond with the arrival and departure dates given by SIT.


This program is open to UI students who fulfill the following requirements:

  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA: Students must have at minimum a 2.5 cumulative GPA to participate in this program.
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing: Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa. Academic and disciplinary history will also be considered when determining whether a student is prepared to represent the University of Iowa as part of this program. Students who, even after being accepted into a program, are put on either academic and/or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad. In these cases, students must forfeit their acceptance, will not be allowed to study abroad, and are wholly responsible for any and all financial expenses incurred.


The cost sheet outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill, as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective websites for further details. If the fee is inclusive of UI tuition, it is calculated by Current Tuition. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

Summer 2019 Cost Sheet

PDFCost Sheet for SIT China Community Health, Summer 2019

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.

SIT automatically gives students from Big Ten institutions a $1,500 scholarship. There is no application necessary, the credit is automatically credited to your account. SIT offers additional awards that can be found on SIT's webpage.

Pell Grant Recipients will have their application fee waived by SIT, are eligible for additional SIT scholarships, and are competitive candidates for the Department of State's Gilman Scholarship. Please talk to your Study Abroad Advisor for more details!

How to Apply

The application deadline is March 4.

Applicants must meet with Study Abroad advisor before application will be processed. You can schedule a meeting by calling 319-335-0353. After discussing the program and its requirements, students can proceed with the UI Study Abroad Application.

Once the Study Abroad advisor has approved their UI online application, participants must also complete the SIT application. The SIT application can be found here: SIT Application. Final admissions decisions to the program are made by SIT.

Acceptance and Confirmation Materials

After you have received an email from UI Study Abroad indicating that you have been formally accepted to the program, have reviewed the estimated costs, and you are ready to commit to participating in this program, you will need to complete the following steps:

Summer 2019 Students

First, read, download, and complete the Confirmation of Participation and Withdrawal Policy document. Sign this document, and submit it to the UI Study Abroad office by the deadline outlined in the document.

Note that if the Confirmation of Participation document is not submitted by the confirmation deadline, your application will be automatically withdrawn and your acceptance rescinded.

Health & Safety Planning

All students preparing to study abroad should review the following:

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

UI Financial Aid Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the Health Preparation Guide for International TravelPDF form with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.

Flight/Travel Arrangements

SIT will provide you with a document called "International Flight Information" that will assist you with making travel plans and give the information you need to purchase your flight. Please refer to this document.


If you need a visa, SIT will send you a document titled "Passport and Visa Information" and you should follow these instructions. Contact the SIT visa coordinator with questions or reach out to Study Abroad. You must have a passport valid for 6 months after your return date in order to apply for the visa, so please renew or apply for your passport as soon as possible.

Program Payment

You will be billed for the program on your U-Bill through the University of Iowa's Billing Office. Billing occurs the semester you are abroad and is due with the first U-Bill of the term, thus allowing financial aid and scholarships to disburse BEFORE the bill is due.


In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions you can email

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

Resources and Cultural Information

Traditional Chinese Medicine Shop
Traditional Chinese Medicine Shop

SIT Resources

Contact a Former Student
SIT Confirmation Materials
Pre-Departure Materials by Program
SIT Medical Review