A Year in the Life of a Freeman Fellow
What is a "typical" year for a Freeman Fellow?
Freeman Fellows usually arrive in Urbana-Champaign sometime during the last week in July where they are met at the airport or Illinois terminal by Freeman Fellows staff. They are taken to their apartments in university housing at Orchard Downs where they can unpack and settle in.
The three week orientation class provided by the Freeman Fellows Program helps to familiarize the scholars with the local community through visits to points of interest on the University of Illinois campus and in the Urbana-Champaign community. During this three week period, they meet with faculty partners and host families, take a tour of the campus, complete the necessary paperwork to become a part of the university community, and begin to choose the classes they will audit in the fall.
Cross Cultural Conversations
Beginning during orientation and continuing through September, the Freeman Fellows are invited into local homes for lively, candid conversations on topics of interest. These conversations are hosted and led by University of Illinois faculty, former faculty members, and members of the community. Past Freeman Fellows have enjoyed discussing topics such as:
Consumption and conservation
Parenting in a cultural context
Parents and teachers in childhood education
Access to news and information
Academic and personal ethics
They also attend Agronomy Day at the University of Illinois farms.
For the next 9 months the Freeman Fellows are involved in many campus activities, including fulfilling their own research goals, auditing courses, giving lectures on campus and in the community, attending professional conferences throughout the US, and attending regularly-scheduled Freeman Fellows events.
Components of the Freeman Fellows Program
Below is a quick pictorial description of some components of the Freeman Fellows program. To view the complete list of program components, please visit our program components page or download our current handbook .
Freeman Fellows Seminar
Throughout the academic year, the Freeman Fellows participate in a weekly seminar. These seminars are designed to introduce the scholars to University of Illinois faculty members in a variety of disciplines. The topics explore American culture, the professor's research, and other topics of interest. Through these seminars, the Freeman Fellows will broaden their understanding of American culture, learn about the American experience, be exposed to areas of study outside their area of expertise, and experience a variety of teaching styles.
The Freeman Fellows have the opportunity to learn more about American history and culture by participating in field trips to such places as Chicago, IL, Hannibal, MO, St. Louis, MO, Indianapolis, IN, and Springfield, IL. Another field trip highlight includes a visit to an Amish farm and a meal in an Amish home.
In early May, the achievements of the Freeman Fellows are celebrated at the annual Freeman Fellows graduation banquet. During May they may do some sightseeing before they return to their home university in China.