about the

Yale-China Fellowship



The Yale-China Association selects highly qualified Yale graduates to undertake challenging and rewarding two-year assignments as Fellows in mainland China and Hong Kong. This exceptional opportunity for personal, intellectual, and professional discovery is distinct from other overseas fellowships because of the depth of understanding Fellows achieve as members of a Chinese community. A key part of the fellowship’s success is its two-year duration. To spend one year in China is to become familiar with China; to spend two years in China is to become at home in China. The self-discovery and cross-cultural fluency that result from the two years of immersion have inspired many former Yale-China Fellows to become leaders in international or China-related fields.

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The Yale-China Fellowship is the longest continuously-run program at Yale-China and is the flagship program of Yale-China's education program area. Originally founded as the "Bachelor" program in 1909 to provide teachers for Yali High School, the program has evolved through the decades to meet changing needs in China and in the United States; today the fellowship consists of four sites in China and two sites in the United States. The partnerships with these sites form the basis not only of the fellowship, but of the entire education program portfolio.

The goals of Yale-China’s Fellowship are threefold: to assist our Chinese partner schools in improving the English instruction they offer their students; to provide opportunities for Chinese people to get to know Yale graduates and to learn about the culture and people of the United States; and to allow our Fellows to experience life as broadly as possible in contemporary China. Balancing all three goals demands a good deal of effort, as the first is a full-time professional responsibility, and the second and third depend largely on the initiative and determination of the individual Fellow. Fellows need to find the blend that will be the most rewarding for their own interests, personalities, and talents. 





The two pillars of the Fellowship are teaching and community engagement: teaching provides Fellows with a defined role in a Chinese community and is an extraordinary opportunity for personal growth, while community engagement builds the person-to-person connections that lead to the deepest possible levels of mutual understanding and respect. Though the balance and framing of these two elements have shifted over the past century, they have been at the heart of the Fellowship spirit ever since the first Bachelors sailed across the Pacific in 1909. 

I saw a side of China invisible to travelers and academics—the gritty reality of life in Changsha in all its hopes and despairs.
— Steve Platt (Yali Middle School, 1993-1995) Professor of Chinese History University of Massachusetts at Amherst