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Energy Technology & Policy: Wanxiang Fellows Program in China

Beijing and Hangzhou, China

Beijing and Hangzhou, China

Program sponsor: Northwestern

Claire Walter (Tufts University), Junru Yan, and Shen Ferrer share a laugh atop the Great Wall of China.
Yellow Mountain
Wanxiang Fellows Program, Summer 2018

This summer fellowship program, sponsored by the Wanxiang Group, GLO, and ISEN, allows students to study renewable energy in the United States and China while gaining exposure to Chinese language and culture. On-campus lectures and a visit to Wanxiang America Corporation’s solar panel manufacturing facility during a Saturday in spring quarter provide students with a foundation for understanding energy and sustainability within a comparative context.

Wanxiang fellows begin their summer abroad experience with four weeks of courses at Peking University in Beijing and program excursions to historic sites.

Students then participate in a two-week intensive program at Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic, where they explore issues of energy technology and application through lectures by Wanxiang researchers and practitioners, as well as site visits.

Students develop group projects on energy and sustainability topics of their choice and present these upon return to Northwestern in fall quarter.

Professor Licheng Gu is the director of the NU in China programs in Beijing. Professor Gu started working with the NU in China programs from the very beginning and will be with students in Beijing for the duration of the program. Professor Gu teaches in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and serves as China Liaison for the Office of the Vice President for International Relations. He will be joined by assistant director Hongbing Zhang, prestigious faculty, and staff from the Office of International Relations at PKU.

Professor Qian Jane Wang is the director of the Wanxiang Fellows program in Hangzhou and Shanghai, as well as the instructor for the ISEN 350-SA course. Professor Wang is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering in McCormick. In Hangzhou she is joined by staff from Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic and many exciting guest lecturers.

Walk through program timeline with student perspectives

Begin Application Process


This program offers a set curriculum with a combination of Northwestern courses and courses offered by Peking University. Students must enroll in the courses listed below. For courses with Northwestern course numbers students will receive a Northwestern transcript. Both the courses and grades appear on students' Northwestern transcript and are factored into their Northwestern GPA. For courses offered by Peking University, students will receive a Peking University transcript and course credit will be eligible for transfer back to Northwestern as long as students earn course grades of C or better. Visit the Global Learning academic planning section for more information about credit transfer and grades, GPA and transcripts.

ISEN 350-SA: Energy Technology & Policy in China

This is a Northwestern course, which will appear on students' Northwestern transcript. Grades for this course are figured into students' Northwestern GPA.

In this course, which involves a two-week experiential program at Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic, students will learn about the unique energy challenges that exist in China and innovations that are being developed to respond to these challenges. The course begins during spring quarter at Northwestern with an introduction to the study of the energy landscape in China and a visit to the Wanxiang America solar panel assembly and production plant in Rockford, IL. While in Hangzhou, students will learn from researchers at Wanxiang Polytechnic and practitioners from the Wanxiang Group, and will go on various field trips, such as to a solar farm, electric vehicle factory, and energy storage station. Upon returning to Northwestern, students will report on their experience.

Chinese Language: Interdisciplinary Course

While there is no language prerequisite to participate in the China summer program, students are required to take intensive Mandarin language training while in China. Four to seven levels are offered, depending on the student’s skill level. Please note that all students who plan to continue their language studies at Northwestern after the program will be required to take an oral and written language placement exam to determine the appropriate language level.

And one of the following courses:

  1. POLI SCI 379-SA China in Transition: Ideology, Political Economy, Law, and Relations with the United States
    This course aims to provide a hands-on introduction to Chinese politics, economy, and legal system, as well as US-China relations. It is intended to help students make sense of what they observe and experience, while also offering an opportunity to explore selected themes and topics in greater depth and to acquire a more visceral understanding of how institutions and processes operate in China.
  2. GBL HLTH 332-SA-Public Health in China
    This seminar consists of a series of lectures on the health care system and public health in China. Lectures will introduce students to the most common health problems in China, the role of government, the organization of the health care system, and issues such as environmental health, nutrition and food safety, and control of epidemics.

Program Requirements


Open to students from all majors meeting Northwestern's minimum application requirements.


No language requirement is needed.


Apply for permission to study abroad
All students are required to apply for permission to study abroad. Learn more about the process, deadlines, and access the application on the apply to study abroad page.

Program Contacts

Estimated Credit

Students are required to take all 3 courses. Visit Registration & Credit to learn more about credit types and requirements, registration, and other considerations.


In Beijing, students will live in the Zhong Guan Xin Yuan Global Village international student dormitory in shared suites. Lunches are provided on weekdays, but students are responsible for breakfasts and dinners.

In Hangzhou, students will share a double-occupancy room at a hotel near Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic campus, and most meals are provided.

Host Institution

Founded in 1898, Peking University, or “Beida,” was the first formally established modern national university of China. With over 30,000 students, of which seven percent are international students, Peking University is a premier institution for education and research, particularly in natural and social sciences. The campus is located in northwest Beijing, in the Haidian district, which has a concentration of many well-known colleges and universities.

Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic, where students will spend the final two weeks of the program, specializes in science and technology.



While in Beijing, students will participate in weekend excursions to important historical and cultural sites, which will give context to Chinese society and civilization. Visits typically include guided tours of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall, among others. In addition, students will view cultural performance pieces, such as a classical Peking opera and an acrobatics show.


The financial hub of Mainland China, Shanghai is also the largest city in the world by population and the flashy, vibrant centerpiece of the booming Chinese economy. Students will have the opportunity to tour Shanghai at the end of the program and visit such sites as the Bund, the Yuyuan Gardens, and the shopping districts, among others.

Program Resources

Browse the program handbook for more detailed information about excursions, courses, and identity-based considerations. Note: This is the previous year's handbook and should be used for informational purposes only. Do not make any travel plans based off of the dates or information provided here. 

Review identity-specific information about China:

Program Cost

Summer program costs vary, but summer study abroad tends to be much less expensive overall than a regular quarter at Northwestern. Review the comparison.

Summer 2020: $4,735

Billed by Northwestern
  • Tuition: $3,000
  • Housing: $1,100

Total program fee: $4,100

Estimated Additional Costs
  • Airfare: $2,250 (offset by Wanxiang Fellowship - see below)
  • Meals: $450
  • Local transportation: $100
  • Books & supplies: $50
  • Personal expenses: $350

Total: $3,200

Wanxiang Fellowship Support includes:

  • $2,250 for international airfare (account credit)
  • $100 for train from Beijing to Hangzhou (covered cost)
  • $75 for GeoBlue Health Insurance (covered cost)
  • $140 for visa fees (covered cost)

Total: $2,565

Financial Aid & Scholarships

  • Students applying to this program are eligible to apply for GLO scholarships and are also encouraged to apply for other funding opportunities.
  • Northwestern students receiving financial aid during the academic year may be eligible to apply for summer aid for this program. Visit the summer aid & scholarships page for additional information.

Program Financial Details

This section outlines some of the billing and financial arrangements for Northwestern Programs, and is intended as a guide to help you navigate the financial aspects of your study abroad process. You should always refer to your program materials for the most current information and instructions. Contact your study abroad adviser (listed above) if you have any questions.

Program Confirmation

Once you are approved to attend a Northwestern study abroad program, you will need to complete a Program Confirmation form to confirm your participation. Northwestern students admitted to Northwestern programs are not required to pay a confirmation deposit, but will be charged a cancellation fee for withdrawing from the program after confirming.

Northwestern Invoice

Your Northwestern invoice will be issued through CAESAR on the regular quarterly schedule, and will include your program fee, which includes tuition, accommodations abroad, all related program activities, and international health insurance. Your program's billable costs and estimated budget are outlined above.

If you receive financial aid and/or loans, these funds will continue to apply directly to your CAESAR account. If you were awarded a ULA scholarship, it will also disburse to your CAESAR account.

If you use the Northwestern 9PAY plan, you may continue to use 9PAY for your NU-billed study abroad expenses, but you should request a study abroad 9PAY estimate to have your plan set up appropriately. The 9PAY plan is not available for summer programs.

Student Visa Financial Certification

If you are required to obtain a student visa, you may need to provide documentation that you will be supported financially for the duration of your time abroad. This may require bank statements from your parents and/or a financial aid award letter; review your visa application instructions carefully to be sure you are providing the appropriate documentation, and contact ULA for assistance.

If you primarily fund your education through financial aid and/or loans, you may also contact Krista Bethel in the financial aid office to request a letter of financial support.

Withdrawal & Refund Policies

If you withdraw or are dismissed from a Northwestern Program after submitting your program confirmation form, you are subject to the withdrawal & refund policies for Northwestern Programs.

Life in China

Video by: David Zane - Wanxiang Fellows Program 2018, McCormick 2021