For many thousands of years, China looked on itself as the centre of the world, a fact not altogether surprising considering China's high level of civilization and its great influence on the neighbouring countries. More recent history brought about a period of downfall and internal struggle, but the tide seems to have turned again and China has been developing in a high tempo in the last few decades. So far, the economic restructuring and liberalization seem to have had little influence on the closed political system. However, whatever the results of these developments, for its neighbours, for Europe, and for the USA, China is increasingly becoming a power to be reckoned with.
The Bachelor’s Programme
Language of Instruction: Dutch
Leiden University is unique in offering a programme in Sinology. The first two years of the programme are mostly spent learning the language (Modern Chinese) and the script. During this period, students are also introduced to the literature, ideologies, history and social structures of past and present China. Many aspects of China are dealt with, such as modern Chinese poetry, the Chinese agricultural system, law and governance in China, religion in China and Chinese art. In the third year, students can specialise in the field of study that fascinates them most. Sometime between the second and the third year of the programme, the large majority of students go to either China or Taiwan for a one-year study period.
See for more information the department website (in Dutch) or the timetables (partly in English)
Following the basic programme, the Languages and Cultures of China programme can be combined with one of the 'practical studies' or PraktijkStudies (International Management & Culture, European Union Studies, Journalism and the New Media, Book and Publishing or the Educational minor) or with other options and, possibly, an internship.