In late August or early September, before departing for China, students travel to Washington DC to attend a two-day orientation with American Councils staff (travel and lodging will be arranged by American Councils). All aspects of the program are discussed: the academic program, life as a student abroad, getting around in Beijing, culture shock, health and safety issues, keeping in touch with friends and family in the US and other issues. After the orientation, students will then depart directly for China.