The Smith College China Project is a specialized, cross-cultural international community service project. The primary goal is to partner with NGOs (public welfare, social service and environmental institutions), primary and secondary schools, or colleges/universities, to develop reflective intensive internships and teaching fellowships in China.
The type of placement varies with each individual partner organization. Primary areas of focus include: teaching English, social welfare, and energy/nature conservation. Current Smith students can apply for placements during the summer. Recent alumnae can apply for a a post-baccalaureate year-long, paid teaching fellowship. Requirements for individual placements vary according to the host institution.
Directory of Projects:
Nature Conservancy (www.nature.org/china)
The Nature Conservancy is an international organization working throughout China to preserve critical habitat.
Bejing Nature Conservancy Headquarters:
- The main office is located in Beijing and is the hub for all projects. The bulk of their work and advocacy is conducted there. TNC has three month summer internships assisting them in administrative aspects of their major projects.
- Yunnan province in Southwest China: Projects aim to preserve the pristine environment and unique lifestyle and culture of local non-Han ethnic groups. They are also working to save the Golden monkey species, prevent deforestation, develop low tech solar energy by developing partnerships with the indigenous communities. A three month summer commitment is required.
- Sichuan province: T.N.C. is working on economic development issues with local community members to develop landtrusts to preserve the habitat. In China no one owns private land, instead it is leased for long term use. In Sichuon local collectives manage the land for farm use. TNC is working with a new government program to preserve the habitat and transfer the use of the land by establishing a foundation to preserve it. A three month summer commitment is required.
- All placements require fluency in Mandarin, and a two part application process: an internal Smith application and then a TNC application. For further general information on The Nature Conservancy go to: (www.nature.org/china)
The Amity Foundation http://www.amityfoundation.org/eng/
The Amity Foundation, an independent Chinese voluntary organization, was created in 1985 on the initiative of Chinese Christians to promote education, social services, health, and rural development, environmental protection, and disaster relief from from China’s coastal provinces in the east to the minority areas of the west.
Participation in their projects is open to anyone regardless of faith background. Amity is a leading NGO in China providing significant support to children in orphanages or foster care, and children and teachers in rural China. Their summer volunteer programs provide significant assistance to rural underserved communities.
About The Director
The program is directed by Tiertza-leah Schwartz, director of voluntary services at Smith College. Since 1995 Schwartz has traveled, consulted and participated in community service projects in China. As an adult adoptee, and an adoptive parent of a Chinese daughter, Schwartz brings a special focus to the China project. She continues to provide consultation on the development of community service and community-based learning placements to colleges and universities, NGOs community and social service institutions and has developed a wide range of colleagues in China who are interested in voluntary community service and community-based learning programs.
- In 2000, she represented Smith College on the first building project for Half the Sky Organization Inc., working with a team of adoptive families to refurbish space the Hefei Social Welfare Institute and orphanage for a preschool and Grandma Nurture Center.
- In 2002 she traveled to China to consult with colleagues at Anhu Agricultural University (AAU) and Anhui Academy of Social Sciences (AASS) in Hefei.
- In 2004 and 2005, she accepted an invitation from the presidents and faculty of Anhui Agricultural University (AAU) and Anhui Academy of Social Sciences (AASS) to consult on development of community-based learning and community service programs at Chinese colleges.
- During her 2004 and 2005 trips to China, Schwartz met with representatives from international and Chinese NGOs, social welfare institutions, to discuss the development of partnerships for the Smith College China Project.
- In the summer of 2006, she hosted a delegation at Smith of the presidents from Ginling College and Nanjing Normal University.
- In the summer of 2012 she returned to China to continue building relationships with Chinese colleagues and visited a rural English language program that Smith students organized.