Destination China

- China -

From $3499

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- Beyond the wall -

An experiential immersion exploring the complexities of rural and ethnic minority communities of Western China for teachers of global studies & world languages, and for coordinators of travel abroad & community-service programs.

- itinerary -

DAY 1 - Kunming

We begin our journey together on the shores of Green Lake Park, gathering to enjoy a welcoming ceremony and Tai Chi session before diving into personal introductions and a framing of the course. After lunch, we embark on group container-building activities and an introduction to the pillars of effective global education for classroom and field-based programming. We also take time in the afternoon to orient to important health and safety considerations, as well as introduce cultural dos and don’ts for our time together.

DAY 2 - Kunming

We awake in our locally guest house and head into the streets for a traditional Chinese breakfast. We’ll come together as a group for our daily briefing before connecting with local author and business owner to discuss issues of migration, education and rural health in Yunnan Province. After lunch, participants depart on a scavenger hunt activity exploring market places, local history, and placed-base education.

DAY 3 - Kunming

Our final day in Kunming begins with choice blocks for participants to invite diverse scholars, experts and guest lecturers to the Dragons Program House, offering a menu of potential topics from martial arts, to issues in environmental conservation and resource management, trade-offs in development, or religious and ethnic minorities in China. In the afternoon, we take a deep-dive into Dragons Global Citizenship, Awareness of Self and Leadership curriculum (GAL) to frame a conversation surrounding best practices in global education. That night we board a sleeper train from Kunming Station to Lijiang.

DAY 4 - Lijang, Nanyao Village

Arriving in the early morning to Lijiang, we transfer into the UNESCO World Heritage site and picturesque medieval city of Lijiang Old Town. Here participants take time to wander the cobbled streets of this idyllic town. As we gather for lunch, discussions surrounding the commodification of culture and cultural tourism lead to best practices and framing around community engagement and international service learning. In the afternoon we transfer to Nanyao Village along the shores of Lashihai basin for a three-day homestay with ethnic Naxi farming families.

DAY 5 - Nanyao Village

Waking to our first full day in Nayao, we gather in a century-old courtyard for our daily briefing and debrief of our first night in homestay. Today we put on our walking shoes and explore the environs of this quaint and peaceful village. We visit the local elementary school and discuss education and school exchanges in China, sharing best practices on peer-to-peer exchanges, and ideas to take back to our respective programming. In the afternoon we journey out to a local Buddhist monastery, and spend the evening playing games, learning about monastic life, and considering the implications of religious freedom in the modern world.

DAY 6 - Nanyao Village

After gathering at our program base in Nanayo for our daily briefing, we travel to the educational center and offices of Yunnan Econetwork, a local NGO dedicated to education, activism and appropriate technology adressing the adverse effects of development, tourism and growth in the Lashihai Basin. With organizational founder Mr. Chen, we discuss strategies and challenges in addressing pollution and environmentalism in contemporary China.

DAY 7 - Nanyao, Yi Villages

We wake early and head out on the trail with options for equestrian support or trekking, climbing steeply into the mountains surrounding Nanyao to an ethnic Yi village, far removed from the economic development enjoyed by communities directly surrounding Lijiang. Our rugged excursion inspires important conversations around poverty, cultural survival and quality of life in China. Our warm hosts welcome us into their remote community and offer us a rare glance into a China well beyond the facade of economic prosperity and iconic tourism along the Eastern Seaboard.

DAY 8 - Lijaing, Chengdu

We gather for our final daily briefing in Nanyao and make the transfer to Lijiang airport, catching a flight to Chengdu and settling into a guesthouse in the city center. We take the day at a slow pace, enjoying hot showers and slow exploration of the parks and temples that define Chengdu. In the evening we gather to introduce the final leg of our journey together, and meet with a local expert on Tibetan studies to explore issues of the Tibetan diaspora.

DAY 9 - Chengdu

Today we spend a full day in Chengdu, splitting into optional excursions that focus on themes of conservation and environmentalism, comparative religions, issues of ethnic minority cultures and contemporary art and culture.

DAY 10 - Chengdu, Anlong Village

After breakfast and our daily briefing we head to the offices of the Chengdu Urban Rivers Association (CURA) for a presentation on the health of rivers an water quality in China. We then head 30 minutes outside the city to Anlong Village to explore local alternative development strategies focused on organic farming and water quality. In the evening we enjoy a Sichuan Opera show.
After breakfast and our daily briefing we head to the offices of the Chengdu Urban Rivers Association (CURA) for a presentation on the health of rivers an water quality in China. We then head 30 minutes outside the city to Anlong Village to explore local alternative development strategies focused on organic farming and water quality. In the evening we enjoy a Sichuan Opera show.

DAY 11 - Chengdu, Emeishan

We rise early to catch a rapid train out to Emei Mountain, the site of the first Buddhist temple ever erected in China. Here, we take to the trail system to avoid the large crowds and explore lesser visited temples shrouded in the mists of bamboo forests. While staying in an old monastery hotel on the mountain we take time to debrief our experience together, wrap up our course and prepare for the travel home.
We rise early to catch a rapid train out to Emei Mountain, the site of the first Buddhist temple ever erected in China. Here, we take to the trail system to avoid the large crowds and explore lesser visited temples shrouded in the mists of bamboo forests. While staying in an old monastery hotel on the mountain we take time to debrief our experience together, wrap up our course and prepare for the travel home.

DAY 12 - Emeishan, Chengdu

We awake to the silence of the forest and calm distant sounds of chanting. Our morning is spent exploring the local trail system and frequent sit spots along the mountain. We come together for ongoing sessions focused on transference and closing ceremoney before heading to the top of the mountain the most recognized Buddhist temple in China. In the afternoon we gather our things and board a rapid train back to Chengdu for our final celebratory dinner.

DAY 13 - Chengdu

After breakfast we wrap up any loose ends on our program, bid our fond farewells, and say goodbye to newly formed friends and colleagues of sinology and global education.

This group trip is Set 17th - Sept 30th, 2021 with 12 participants. If you are interested in a custom trip of this kind please contact us.

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