Rural Healthcare & Education Practicum in China

Image of a city view in Xi'an,China
Gain hands-on experience in a qualitative research study and experience Chinese culture first-hand.
Location: Xi'an, China
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Program Type: Internship
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

Please note: This program is not being offered in Summer 2021

  • Gain hands-on experience in a qualitative research study
  • Experience Chinese culture first-hand
  • Earn KU internship credit
  • Study Abroad & Global Engagement is offering a significant number of $2,500- $5,000 Freeman East Asia Internship Scholarships to participants in this program.  KU students who are US citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply. 

This 6-week internship program offers KU undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to provide project and field support to faculty and researchers working for NGOs, which design and evaluate projects aimed at improving health and education in rural China. 

The NGOs include the Center for Experimental Economics in Education (CEEE) and Northwest Socioeconomic Development Research Center (NSDRC), based at Shaanxi Normal University (SNU), and the Rural Education Action Project (REAP), based at Stanford University.

REAP, CEEE and NSDRC launched the Seeing Is Learning Program in 2012 to document and address the lack of vision care available in China‚Äôs rural areas. Since that time it has shown that there are millions of children with uncorrected vision and that only one out of every six rural children with poor vision has eyeglasses.  The current project includes fieldwork such as training teachers, testing village children and evaluating the effectiveness of the program and communicating the results of project evaluations to local and national government ministries within China.

Located in central China, Xian is home to more than 8.6 million people and the capital city of the Shaanxi Province.  It is known for being one of the oldest cities in China, the starting point of the Silk Road, and home to the famed Terracotta Army statues. 

Project work is based out of the CEEE Office in Xian at Shaanxi Normal University (SNU), however, participants may also travel with local students and researchers to research sites in the surrounding province or beyond.

Students will enroll in GIST 495 Global Internship Credit (3 credits) with Professor John Kennedy for the duration of the program.   The course requirements include reviewing English language research and policy reports for publication, personal essays (reports) on field site visits to villages, schools and rural clinics as well as collaborative projects with Chinese researchers.  


Participants will live in apartments near Shaanxi Normal University or in on-campus residence halls, where CEEE is located, and can purchase meals in the university cafeteria.  

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

KU undergraduate and graduate students are eligible. The internship is open to a wide variety of majors who have an interest in education, rural health care and international development. Prerequisites include a minimum 2.75 GPA. Some Chinese language is preferred, but not necessary for internship.

John Kennedy, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Political Science

Office: 521 Blake


Phone: 785-864-9025