Summer College Study Abroad China, Sample Itinerary

Week 1 After our arrival in Beijing, China’s capital, we depart the city for a small village below a remote and un-renovated section of the Great Wall. We stay in a small family-owned guesthouse here and begin getting to know one another, learning about ensuring our health and safety during this summer program, and get a sense of where and how we’ll spend the next several weeks together.
Week 2 After taking advantage of the quiet and natural beauty of the village, we return to Beijing where we board a flight for Kunming, Yunnan, “south of the clouds” in China’s southwest. Arriving in Kunming we meet the language teachers who remain us for the rest of our time in China. For now, Kunming is just a stopover on our way to our rural homestay village in Bangdong, an ethnically Han village about three hours by road from the small city of Lincang. This village is located in western central Yunnan Province and is a quiet farming community in the hills above the Lancang (Mekong) River.
Here, we settle into the routine that we keep for most of the remainder of our time together. Language teachers assess students and divide the group into small classes according to different language levels. For 3-4 hours per day, we attend class, focusing on listening and conversation skills that we can use immediately during the afternoons and evenings. In the afternoons, we spend time helping with household and farm chores with our host families and exploring the area as a group. Before heading to our next destination of Kunming, we spend some time hiking as a group in one of the many areas of natural beauty and ethnic diversity which can be found in this region of China.
Week 3 We now move on to experience a very different lifestyle: urban life in the city of Kunming. Kunming is sometimes called the “City of Eternal Spring” because of its mild weather, clean air (especially relative to other cities in China today) and abundant native plants and flowers. We arrive Kunming and meet our new homestay families.
In Kunming, we continue with our regular language classes which are held in our Kunming Program House. In addition to our daily classes, we also use this space to hold group meetings or host guest speakers on a wide variety of topics of interest to the group in the afternoons. Evenings and weekends are spent with host families – the best opportunity of all to build language skills and experience day-to-day life with a Chinese family. We also may take part in opportunities for language exchange with local high school and university students and explore local sights such as The Golden Temple, the Bird and Flower Market, and Green Lake Park.
Week 4 After wrapping up our studies and our time with host families in Kunming, we spend our last few days together in a space for retreat. Here we reflect on our learning, celebrate our time together, and prepare for our return home.