China

The Search for Meaning

A 6-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
41 Days
Description

Explore China’s ancient traditions and diverse religious practices while learning how people in China are defining themselves and their beliefs today.

Dates

Jun 28 - Aug 8, 2017


Suggested Ages

16-18

Number of Participants

12


Availability

closed

Begins In

10 Weeks

Land Cost

$7,085


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,925

Beijing

Xining

Labrang

Xi'an

Program Overview

“A path, traveled, is no longer the same path. A name, spoken, is no longer the same name.”


Like the words of the “Old Master” (Laozi), Chinese philosophy has long been a source of fascination and inspiration as well as confusion and debate. Today, the question of what people in China believe is as complex as ever: Taoist, Confucian, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian ideas along with new religious movements, nationalism, and consumer culture are all in the mix. So what does religious practice in China look like now? How do people find and create meaning in their lives?

In days past, the Emperor performed ritual harvest rites at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven and a stone on the main altar was believed to be the center of the universe. We begin our course here, preparing for a journey that will bring us closer to understanding our own belief systems, as well as the diverse ideologies that influence modern-day China.

We board a train to Xi’an, an ancient imperial capital and modern megacity. Weaving through crowded streets, lined with merchants selling fresh pomegranates,…

Like the words of the “Old Master” (Laozi), Chinese philosophy has long been a source of fascination and inspiration as well as confusion and debate. Today, the question of what people in China believe is as complex as ever: Taoist, Confucian, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian ideas along with new religious movements, nationalism, and consumer culture are all in the mix. So what does religious practice in China look like now? How do people find and create meaning in their lives?

In days past, the Emperor performed ritual harvest rites at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven and a stone on the main altar was believed to be the center of the universe. We begin our course here, preparing for a journey that will bring us closer to understanding our own belief systems, as well as the diverse ideologies that influence modern-day China.

We board a train to Xi’an, an ancient imperial capital and modern megacity. Weaving through crowded streets, lined with merchants selling fresh pomegranates, lamb kebabs, and candied walnuts, we meet with Hui Muslims at China’s oldest mosque and hear about the history of Christianity at the city’s oldest Catholic church. We encounter China’s growing problem with homelessness when we volunteer at a local soup kitchen, gaining insight into local ideas of social welfare.

Traveling further west, we enter the Tibetan Plateau and stop at Labrang Monastery, one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world. We witness stark contrast between rural rhythms and urban development when we stop for a home-stay in Qinghai Province.

Moving southeast into Chongqing, we settle in for our final retreat at a Chan (Zen) Monastery, with a history of nearly a thousand years. Here, we reflect on all that we’ve learned and hope to integrate into our lives back home…and the search goes on.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

5/5
Comparative Religion

Introduction to Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity, Marxism, other religious beliefs and religious history in China.

3/5
Development Studies

Development as it relates to organized religion, tourism and culture.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Religious studies, ancient and modern history, participant-observation in religious communities, politics.

5/5
Home Stay

Unique rural home-stay and monastery stay (subject to change depending on local conditions).

1/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Opportunities to engage with local mentors and NGOs to further examine course themes.

3/5
Language Study

Basic Mandarin and Tibetan language study.

3/5
Learning Service

Limited service opportunities due to the political climate of many areas we visit.

3/5
Rugged Travel

Extensive train and bus travel, domestic flight, hiking, remote village stay and monastery stay.

3/5
Trekking

Trekking in Qinghai and Yunnan.

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