Frequently Asked Questions

HPCH 636 Healthcare System in China, summer 2016


1. What’s eligibility of signing up this course?
If you are a current graduate student
in Texas A&M University and have maintained 3.0 GPA, you are eligible for this course.

2. How to I sign up this course?
You will sign up through the TAMU Study Abroad Office,  with your UIN. Keep in mind that in addition to registering with the Study Abroad Office, you will also register the course as a summer course to receive credits (more in #13 and #14).

3. When is the deadline of registration?
The deadline for registration with the Study Abroad Office is January 31, 2016, which is also the deadline for applying for TAMU study-abroad scholarships.

4. What if I change my mind after I sign up?
When you register, you don’t need to pay. After your application is reviewed and approved, you will be asked to confirm your participation. Around February 7, 2016, we will send out
notification to students who have been accepted into this program. You will need to confirm your participation by paying $100 (non-refundable) on the website of study abroad office. You will pay about $500 by March 1, 2016 and the remaining payment is due April 1, 2016. Only a small fraction of the program fee is refundable if you change your mind after April 1, 2016.

5. What’s the actual program cost? What’s covered and what’s not covered?
The program fee includes study abroad fee, mandatory insurance, honorarium for guest speakers, airport pick-up and drop-off, local transportation during site visits, lodging, most meals, air tickets from Beijing to Xiamen, Xiamen to Shanghai, and
train ticket from Shanghai to Beijing. The program fee does not cover tuition and fees for this course, international airfare from Houston to Beijing, non-program transportation, some meals, some admission tickets in site visits, passport and visa application fee. An estimated cost is $1,500 program fee plus $1,500 airfare (estimate) and pocket/emergency money. The final cost will be available in early February, 2016.

6. Is there financial aid or scholarship for studying abroad?
Yes, various financial aid and scholarships are available for studying abroad. The TAMU study abroad scholarships are available when you sign up this course. The Texas A&M Health Science Center also has scholarships for study-abroad. The deadline for application is April, we will send out information to the students who have signed up the course.

7. Do I need a visa to China? How do I obtain the visa?
Yes, you will need a visa to go to China; you can get it from the Chinese General Consulate in Houston. All students will receive an invitation letter from our Chinese host. This invitation letter will facilitate your visa application.

8. Can international students take this course?
Yes, international students can take this course. You will also need a visa to go to China (unless you are a Chinese citizen). You will also need a valid visa to return to U.S. Talk to an officer in the TAMU International Students Office to double check your status in U.S. and if you can return to U.S. after the trip to China.
9. Is my travel to China covered by insurance?
Yes, all TAMU students doing study abroad will be covered by CISI international travel insurance. Our Chinese hosts will also provide additional coverage for foreign tourists in China.

10. How much is the air-ticket from Houston to Beijing?
Many airlines offer different flights from Houston/Austin/Dallas to Beijing. Most flights make one stop en route to China. A direct flight from Houston to Beijing was recently opened by Air China and United Airline. The air ticket price varies substantially from season to season. Based on my experience, if you book early, the price should be between $1,200 and $1,500. Many ticket-booking websites and travel agents offer good deals, so shop around for the best deal. Keep in mind to arrive at the day time of May 17, so our host in Beijing can pick you up from the airport.

11. How should I pack?
You should pack light as we will travel
in three cities in China (Beijing, Xiamen, and Shanghai). You can do laundry while in China. During our travel time (May 16-29), it’s warm in China, so you only need to pack summer clothes. Pharmacies, convenience stores, and super markets are conveniently located within walking distance from the hotels we will stay, in case you forget something. Please wear comfortable shoes as we will walk A LOT.

12. How much pocket money should I prepare?
You can do currency exchange in all banks in China; banks are conveniently located
in almost every street corner. The current exchange rate is about 1 US dollar=6.5 Chinese Yuan. In terms of pocket money, it really depends on how much shopping you plan to do. Our program cost has covered most of the expenses in the trip. You may prepare $150-250 for other expenses including small souvenirs.

13. Is this an elective course?
Yes, this is a 3-credit graduate elective course with letter grading, and it’s a summer course. You will have two lectures prior to the trip, followed by
two-week trip to China; when you return, you will complete a paper and other assignments. More details about the course grading and schedules please refer to the syllabus. You will receive a letter grade in August (like other summer courses).

14. When do I register this course?
You should register the course like other summer courses. You should register it before China trip to receive
grade for this course.

15. What’s the emergency contact when in China?
You will have instructor’s cell phone in China, study abroad office’s emergency contact, our China hosts’ cell phone numbers, U.S. Embassy in China’s phone, all printed
in one card, before your trip.

16. Will I receive orientation before the trip to China?
You will receive two orientations before China trip, one is focused on safety and security conducted by the Study Abroad Office, the other is
on Chinese culture, conducted by the faculty, staff, students who have visited China. The orientation is scheduled in April 2016.

17. What if I have other questions?
We have two info sessions for the course. The first session is scheduled on December 4, Friday, noon, 12-1pm, room 107. The second info session is scheduled on January 21, Tuesday, 12-1pm, room 107. Both sessions will be TTVN to McAllen campus and College of Pharmacy (Kingsville) campus. If you can make neither of the sessions, please contact the course instructor Dr. Hong at