Return to the search form Return to your search results

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

SIT Community Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine

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

Note: This program is not available for the Summer 2021 session.

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

Academic Program

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.

Cultural Activities

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. For more details, visit SIT's program webpage.

Program Dates

This program typically runs from mid-June to late-July.

For program dates, please consult SIT's program webpage

For More Information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with SIT, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa. 
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353


Kunming at night
Kunming at night

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.


Green Lake Park
Green Lake Park

China, officially known as the People's Republic of China, is the second largest country in the world by land area. Its 1.4 billion citizens live mostly near the eastern seaboard. China has grown and evolved for over 5000 years and due to its growing economic power, is set to be one of the world’s superpowers during the 21st century.

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.


If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.

Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

Non-US Citizens

Students who are not US citizens should contact their consulate for more information if they need to get a new passport or renew their passport.

Travel Arrangements

Airfare is not included in the program fee but students will work with SIT to determine the best time for arrival. Students will also receive support from SIT when applying for a Chinese visa. More information on travel arrangements will be provided by SIT after the application cycle has concluded.


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

Scholarships & Financial Aid

For more information about receiving financial aid while studying abroad, please review the following:UI Financial Aid Information

You can find more information about options for funding your study abroad experience including scholarships on Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad.

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

Note: This program is not available for the Summer 2021 session.

Interested students should make an appointment with the designated UI Study Abroad advisor to discuss the program and the application process. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 319-335-0353. During the appointment, the advisor will provide full application instructions. Note: Application materials will not be reviewed unless a student has already met with the advisor to discuss the program.

The application process consists of the following steps:

• Complete the UI Online Application for Study Abroad. Please note that the non-refundable $50 application fee will be charged to your U-Bill as part of this online application.

• Complete the SIT Application. Final admissions decisions to the program are made by SIT.

Application Deadline

Note: This program is not available for the Summer 2021 session.

Applications are due on March 4.

Acceptance and Confirmation Materials

Coming Soon.

Health & Safety Planning

In addition to submitting their Confirmation of Participation form, students should review the following:

Study Abroad Resources

Passports and Visas

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the PDFHealth Preparation Guide for International Travel 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.


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.


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.