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This program is organized by Duke faculty/staff in collaboration with DukeEngage.

Program Dates

May 13 - July 9

Service Focus

Partnering with a middle school to provide arts education and English lessons.  

Program Leader

, Professor of the Practice, Department of Music, Duke University


Language: Students with Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese speaking skills will be given strong preference. However applicants with limited or with no Chinese language background but exhibiting tremendous passions and experiences in arts will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Coursework: Applicants are encouraged to take one or more courses from the following: Theater or Documentary, or Visual and Media Studies; Department of Dance or Music Department; and service learning courses.  Education courses, experience working with youth, or ESL teaching experience will also be helpful to participants.

Program Scope

The DukeEngage Zhuhai program was started in the summer of 2010 with a mission to integrate arts-education into the local curriculum at Zhuhai No. 9 Middle School (grades 7-9). Service through teaching in addition to the immersive experience of living with host families will provide DukeEngage students with great opportunities to build a reciprocal relationship with the Zhuhai community; they will learn the true culture of Chinese citizens and gain insight into a new way of living while they concurrently share with a Chinese society the important value of education. 

The program is located in Zhuhai, a southern Chinese city located within the former Special Economic Zone, which is in many ways a perfect microcosm of 21st century China—a rapidly evolving country that continues to develop and transform daily, and acts as an influential force of the globe, home to extremely talented and innovative individuals. However, the intense momentum of forward development in China has resulted in an education system lagging behind with many gaps. Millions of Chinese students are placed into overcrowded classrooms each year, with a relentless, singular emphasis on standardized tests. These scores continue to determine a student’s survival and success after school. Students lack several essential elements to an education. They are driven to seek perfect test scores, but not artistic potential; formulas but not personal creativity; professions and jobs but not passions and dreams.

During the two months of service, the Zhuhai program aims to open the minds of young Chinese students using Duke students’ own unique experiences and education. Through a series of integrative classes, DukeEngage participants will teach English using various art forms—all of which integrate leadership, self-confidence and self-expression. Duke students will expose Chinese students to a form of arts education to which they have never before had access. Lesson after lesson, we will strive to nourish students with a greater understanding of their self-worth, social awareness, and responsibilities through constructive and self-exploring interaction with the arts. In this way, the DukeEngage Zhuhai program will encourage Chinese students to understand school as the beginning of a life-long journey—a place in which they can expand their boundaries, push limitations, and try novel pursuits.

Service Opportunities

1) Develop an art–based educational project for the school

2) Establish after-school classes including: drawing, dancing, singing, filming, acting, photography, sports and other art classes

3) Expand the English teaching program for school English teachers

4) Engage in weekend community service at a local orphanage; a school for persons with disabilities; and nearby primary, middle, or high schools

5) Conduct discussion sessions with local university students

To see this program profile in its entirety, please access the PDF document in the upper right column.


  • DukeEngage in China–Zhuhai Program Profile 2015
  • The PDF above details the DukeEngage in China–Zhuhai program in its entirety. All program details, including program dates, are subject to change leading up to the point of departure.  

  • Download PDF

VIDEO - Zhuhai 2015 "Goodbye"

A reflection documentary by Vanessa Wu

VIDEO - Zhuhai No. 9

A documentary by Eliza Bray, DukeEngage 2013 (YouTube)

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