China Study Tour

AOMA is committed to providing a well-rounded education as part of our effort to become the best Chinese medical program in the country.  Our faculty maintains connections with international colleagues and institutions in service not only to the profession but also to our students.  AOMA offers a study-abroad program in China that is but one aspect of an ongoing collaboration with the Chengdu University of Traditional Oriental Medicine. The program is currently offered every 3 years, pending sufficient enrollment.  This program gives students the opportunity to spend several weeks studying in China and to practice at one of the four sacred mountains.

Participating in the China Study Tour is life-changing, thrilling, and immensely rewarding, and it can affect your course sequences and graduation date. AOMA's academic advisors can assist you with the necessary academic preparations.

Trip Details

China Study Tours are led by established and respected AOMA faculty.  The 2013 China Study Tour included 21 AOMA students and alumni, with Dr. Xiaotian Shen, as their guide. Details such as pricing, dates, and coursework for the next China Study Tour will be available online when they are ready.  However, interested students can start planning now by:

  • Meeting with advisors to speak about intentions and to begin curriculum planning
  • Considering a savings plan and starting to budget wisely in advance

The Study Program

AOMA has a special relationship with Chengdu University that allows us to offer a first-rate study experience for students and practitioners of TCM. Members of the general public are also welcome to join the group.

A one-week cultural tour of Beijing kicks off the adventure. From there, we go to Chengdu, or “Perfect Metropolis.”  Chengdu is not only the capital city; it is also the administrative, cultural, educational, and industrial center of the Sichuan Province. We travel in the spring, a beautiful time of year in China.  We also organize group visits to markets and temples around Sichuan Province, home of the giant panda and famous Sichuan cuisine.   In addition, participants have plenty of opportunities to explore the city on their own. Furthermore, Chengdu University offers a wide range of study opportunities in herbs, tuina, qigong, and taichi. Students also have the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on clinical experience under the supervision of the host teachers and professors. Translators are on hand to ensure clear communication.

The trip concludes with a one-week visit to the beautiful Emeishan (High Eyebrow Mountain). Emei Mountain is the highest of the four sacred Buddhist mountains of the Middle Kingdom and trip participants gather here for the practice of tai chi, qi gong, and meditation.

Tibet/Borderlands Excursion

An optional trip to Tibet, or to the borderlands between China and Tibet, is planned immediately following the conclusion of the Chengdu study program. The trip lasts about five days. Destination will depend on travel availability so please check back for further details.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much $$ will the trip cost?

The cost for the China Study Tour in 2013 was $4500. If you choose to go on the Tibet excursion, it will be an additional $1500. The price for alumni, family members, and members of the general public will differ depending on the parts of the trip in which they participate.

What does the cost of the trip cover?

All airfare, visa fees, lodging/tours/several meals in Beijing, Chengdu tuition, and accommodations in Chengdu and Emei Mountain (and airfare/lodging in Tibet, if that option is chosen). This amount does NOT include the spring AOMA tuition, which depends on the number of credits a student takes.  Participants will also need personal funds/money for other food and spending in China.

How are the credits and coursework set up?

Student work will qualify for 5.5 credits in China. Student participants must meet with an advisor as soon as the decision to go is made in order to discuss how to incorporate the Chengdu courses into the student’s degree plan.

What about financial aid?

Only 5.5 credits are available in China but there will be other credits available at AOMA during the second 6 weeks of the term. Student participants will receive spring financial aid disbursement the same time as usual (which will be after the trip leaves), so they must make sure to budget these expenses in advance. Students can set up a payment plan with the finance office immediately.

What are the dates of the trip?

Generally, China trips begin in early April and end in the middle third of May.

When do I register?

The registration deadline for the China Study Tour, including a $500 deposit, is usually in September of the preceding year. Registration deadlines are usually in September.

Other important information

Passport Requirements: Your passport must have at least 6 months validity left before expiration, and at least one blank visa page left in it. Note: The last three pages on the U.S. passport are not visa pages and do not count. If you don’t have a passport – GET IT NOW!

Visas: AOMA will process all visa applications. Participants will be required to complete the visa application and provide their passports for processing. Chinese Visa Application Form

Travel Insurance Coverage: Participants will be required to be secure their own travel insurance coverage. Prices online range from $175 - $500; check or for quotes.

Vaccinations: Although no vaccinations are required, the Center for Disease Control recommends immunizations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Polio, Japanese Encephalitis, and Rabies. The Austin Diagnostic travel clinic is very helpful:

Food: Food is NOT included (except certain meals during the week in Beijing). Participants should budget about $8-$10 per day for food.

Rooms: Rooms are shared and you may pick your roommate. If you want a single room, there will be an additional cost of approximately $600.


China Study Tour Sample Itinerary [PDF]

How to Save for China [PDF]

Links to pictures of previous trips

Mt. Emei article

Chinese Embassy website


Deadlines for future China tours will be posted here as soon as they are available.

To help with saving for the trip, set up a payment plan ASAP with the AOMA finance office. If you are thinking about the next trip, please do not wait until the deadlines are posted.  Begin by setting up an appointment with the financial assistant to discuss financial options.

What to do now
  • Tell the organizer that you plan to participate, and begin to submit your materials
  • Set up a payment plan with the finance office (optional, but recommended)
  • Apply for/renew your passport
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor ASAP to incorporate the trip into your degree plan
  • Still unsure if you should go? Meet with Julia Aziz to brainstorm your options.

China Study Tour Contact

Julia Aziz, Director of Student and Career Services, 512-492- 3024, office C3 for more information.

Disclaimer: all information is subject to change and estimates are based on our knowledge at the current time.