A mountain village visited by Where There Be Dragons' China: The Silk Road program

China

The Silk Road

A 6-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
41 Days
Description

Explore the diversity of China’s people and cultural traditions: live with yak herding families on the Tibetan Plateau, witness the dizzying pace of change and development in western China’s booming cities, learn about Uyghur culture and the history of Islam in China.

Dates

Jun 28 - Aug 8, 2019


Suggested Ages

16-18

Number of Participants

12


Availability

five spaces

Begins In

28 Weeks

Land Cost

$8,565


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,185

Beijing

Xining

Xi'an

Kashgar

Urumqi

Turpan

Program Overview

Travel through China’s most beautiful and rugged natural landscapes while learning about contemporary issues of human rights, religious practices, and minority representation.


More than half of China’s land is populated by less than 5% of its population, mostly minority groups, many of whom inhabit the rugged lands in the northern and western parts of the country. Worlds away from Beijing, the far-western province of Xinjiang is a land where vast desert basins meet 20,000-foot peaks; where Central Asian cultures blend and exist in stark contrast to eastern China. Dragons Silk Road program features an overview of this region’s history of trade and ancient linkage with all of Eurasia. Amidst some of the world’s most striking landscapes, we survey a huge diversity of ethnic customs and religious traditions: those of Uyghur, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tajik, Mongol, Tibetan, Hui, and Han communities.

In the oasis city of Kashgar, not far from China’s shared borders with several Central Asian states, we explore historic mosques and shrines, wander through massive bazaars, and sample some of the city’s famous culinary treats: fresh hami melons, pomegranates, home-made…

More than half of China’s land is populated by less than 5% of its population, mostly minority groups, many of whom inhabit the rugged lands in the northern and western parts of the country. Worlds away from Beijing, the far-western province of Xinjiang is a land where vast desert basins meet 20,000-foot peaks; where Central Asian cultures blend and exist in stark contrast to eastern China. Dragons Silk Road program features an overview of this region’s history of trade and ancient linkage with all of Eurasia. Amidst some of the world’s most striking landscapes, we survey a huge diversity of ethnic customs and religious traditions: those of Uyghur, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tajik, Mongol, Tibetan, Hui, and Han communities.

In the oasis city of Kashgar, not far from China’s shared borders with several Central Asian states, we explore historic mosques and shrines, wander through massive bazaars, and sample some of the city’s famous culinary treats: fresh hami melons, pomegranates, home-made yogurt, roast lamb, and breads sprinkled with sesame and cumin seeds.  We ascend high into the Pamir Mountain range, enjoying the phenomenal beauty of this seldom visited section of the Himalayas. Traveling east along ancient trade routes at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert, we explore the Tarim Basin, the ancient ruins of Turpan, and the painted caves of Dunhuang, which archive centuries of sculpted Buddhist art and culture. Continuing east, we arrive on the Tibetan Plateau, moving into homestays with Tibetan herding families.  Here, in Qinghai Province, we learn about Tibetan Buddhist traditions and the history of their Hui Muslim neighbors.

As we head further east into the part of China that has historically been the heart of the empire, we explore the Silk Road as it relates to Han Chinese history and visit the city of Xi’an, home to the Terracotta Warriors and China’s ancient capital. Here, we learn about the flow of goods and ideas that transformed the whole Silk Road region, and the origins of Buddhism in China and throughout East Asia. In Xi’an we witness firsthand the ways that Chinese culture and commerce were once influenced by Silk Road travelers, and how wealth, power, beliefs and ideas continue to move through the region today.

 

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

5/5
Rugged Travel

Extensive train and bus travel, domestic flight, intense urban environments, remote village homestay.

5/5
Development Studies

Development and minority issues; ecology, land-use and resource management.

5/5
Comparative Religion

Introduction to Islam, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucian thought, Marxism.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Minority issues, environmental studies, ancient and modern history, political studies, religious and philosophical perspectives of Central Asian cultures.

2/5
Homestay

Unique rural homestay (subject to change in the event of government restriction).

1/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Optional ISPs facilitated when itinerary permits: Past students have studied Uyghur music and dance, cooking, traditional medicine, study of minority language/culture, artistic traditions.

2/5
Language Study

We engage in simple Mandarin, Uyghur, and Tibetan language study.

1/5
Learning Service

Limited service opportunities due to the political climate of China's west.

3/5
Trekking

Extensive hiking in the Pamir Mountains if conditions allow, numerous day hikes in Tibetan areas.