Overview

Travel from Beijing to Shanghai and discover the traditions and daily lives of remote minority cultures on a high school summer abroad program in China.

Program Description

Experience the rich cultural diversity of China in a program that introduces you to remote ethnic minority cultures in China, including Miao, Dong, Buyi, and Zhuang communities. Learn about the history of these cultures and current government policies affecting these minority communities. Spend time in the beautiful and remote rural landscape of southern China. Be introduced to field plowing and rice production, and learn about traditional crafts and trades such as papermaking, watercolor painting, batik, embroidery, weaving, and blacksmithing. Contrast daily life in rural communities with life in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Luoyang, and Xi’an.

Begin your exploration of China’s cultures in the capital city, Beijing, where you’ll see important sites such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall. Next, discover the rich history of Luoyang, one of the four great ancient capitals of China. Visit temples and learn about the history of Buddhism in China. Spend time in Xi’an, one of China’s oldest cities. Take Chinese language lessons and see important historic and cultural sites, including the famous Terra-Cotta Warriors. Two homestay experiences—one in a city and one in a rural village—allow you to experience daily life in China in very different contexts.

Throughout the program, you’ll attend performances of traditional dancing and singing and see stunning natural sites such as Huangguoshu Waterfall National Park and Moon Hill. End your experience in China with three days of exploration and reflection in Shanghai, where you will visit a number of important sites such as Yuyuan Garden, Old City, Longhua Temple, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Nanjing Road, and The Bund. Chinese high school students will accompany you during a portion of the program.

Sample Itinerary

Days 1–3
Orientation in Beijing

  • Learn about the history and culture of China
  • Get to know other members of your group during activities and group discussions
  • Begin Chinese language practice
  • Walk Beijing’s historic hutongs (narrow streets lined with traditional courtyard residences)
  • Visit sites of interest such as  the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, Beihai Park, and the Temple of Heaven
  • Go on an excursion to the Great Wall at Badaling

During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 4–5
Thematic Focus in Luoyang

  • Visit Luoyang’s old section, markets, and folk museum
  • See the People's Square
  • Bike to Longmen Grottoes and see the thousands of statues of Buddha carved there
  • Practice Chinese conversation

During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 6–8
Thematic Focus in Xi’an

  • Attend Chinese language lessons
  • Visit the site of the Terra-cotta Warriors, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, the Muslim quarter, and the Drum Tower of Xi’an
  • Visit the Shaanxi History Museum to see artifacts from select Chinese dynasties and attend a talk about Chinese cultural history

During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 9–14
Urban Homestay

  • Practice tai ji
  • Do activities with your host family
  • Visit museums and parks in the city

Thematic Focus

  • Learn about Miao, Dong, and Buyi minority cultures and government policies regarding nationalities
  • Join Chinese students in activities and visits to important sites, parks, and museums
  • Participate in cultural exchange activities
  • Go on an excursion to Huangguoshu Waterfall National Park
  • See a Dixi Opera demonstration in a nearby village

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Xi’an, Guilin, Guiyang

Day 15
Thematic Focus in Kaili

  • Visit the Minorities Museum and a Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital
  • Prectice Chinese conversation

During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 16–21
Rural Homestay Accompanied by Chinese Students from the City

  • Explore the village
  • Do activities with your host family
  • Do field work (e.g., learn to make Chinese tofu, plant sweet potatoes, plough fields with the aid of water buffalo, pick corn)
  • Go hiking in a natural preserve

Thematic Focus

  • Attend a performance of traditional dancing and singing
  • Go on an excursion to a nearby town to see sites of interest such as museums, Sunday morning markets, and a Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital
  • Visit several nearby villages and learn about traditional methods of papermaking, water color painting, batik, embroidery, weaving, spinning, blacksmithing, and lushen (bamboo reed musical pipe) making

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host community: Xijiang

Days 22–24
Thematic Focus in Libo and Yangshuo

  • Go on a boat ride down the Li River
  • Visit Xiao Qi Kong and see the natural arches that span the river
  • Visit West Street
  • Bicycle to Moon Hill

During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 25–27
Reflection and Wrap-up in Shanghai

  • Meet with Experimenters from the China: Cultural Diversity in the North program and share learning experiences
  • See sites of interest such as Yuyuan Garden, Old City, Longhua Temple, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Nanjing Road (Shanghai’s main shopping street), The Bund (a famous waterfront area in central Shanghai), and Xintiandi district
  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hostel.

Day 28
Departure

About The Experiment

The Experiment in International Living is a non-profit organization that has been offering immersive experiential learning programs abroad since 1932. Today, The Experiment offers three-, four-, and five-week summer programs for high school students in more than 20 countries around the world.

Programs are designed to equip participants not only with essential cultural skills and, in many cases, language skills, but also with a deeper awareness of and sensitivity to critical global issues shaping the diverse communities and regions we visit. Each year, hundreds of Experimenters come away from their summer abroad with invaluable new skills, connections, awareness, and knowledge that help them to thrive—and lead—in diverse, intercultural environments.

The Experiment is committed to providing participants from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds with access to The Experiment’s immersive cross-cultural programs through its partnerships, scholarships, and other initiatives.

The Experiment places the highest priority on health, safety, and security. Each program follows a comprehensive structure designed to maximize the well-being of all participants while they engage in dynamic cross-cultural experiences.

We have implemented specific risk management strategies that include a 24-hour emergency on-call service and regular safety reviews. We hire and train experienced adult group leaders and maintain longstanding partnerships with in-country offices to support each of our programs.

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