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

China & Kyrgyzstan

The Silk Road

A 6-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
42 Days
Description

Explore the diversity of China and Kyrgyzstan’s peoples and cultural traditions: live with Tibetan families in Qinghai Province, witness the dizzying pace of change, politics, and development in western China’s booming cities, visit a 2000 year-old bazaar in Kyrgyzstan and live with families on the shores of an alpine lake.

Dates

Jun 28 - Aug 8, 2020


Suggested Ages

16-18

Number of Participants

12


Availability

Open

Begins In

29 Weeks

Land Cost

$8,565


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,185

Xining

Xi'an

Kashgar

Urumqi

Turpan

osh

Program Overview

Travel along ancient trade routes while learning about Silk Road history, religious practices, and ethnic diversity.


Silk Road…the words alone conjure up all kinds of images: camel caravans bringing the treasures of ancient China across the heart of Asia; empires old and new vying for power; knowledge and ideas traveling between cultures. Traveling from China into Kyrgyzstan and back, our Silk Road program explores this region’s history of exchange with all of Eurasia, and examines the connections between people living here today, including Han Chinese, Uyghur, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tajik, Mongol, Tibetan, and Hui communities.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore China and Central Asia’s ethnic, religious and cultural diversity
  • Learn about the ways that politics and development are reshaping daily life for local people

Silk Road…the words alone conjure up all kinds of images: camel caravans bringing the treasures of ancient China across the heart of Asia; empires old and new vying for power; knowledge and ideas traveling between cultures. Traveling from China into Kyrgyzstan and back, our Silk Road program explores this region’s history of exchange with all of Eurasia, and examines the connections between people living here today, including Han Chinese, Uyghur, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tajik, Mongol, Tibetan, and Hui communities.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore China and Central Asia’s ethnic, religious and cultural diversity
  • Learn about the ways that politics and development are reshaping daily life for local people
  • Travel through spectacular mountains and deserts, remote villages and booming cities

Our journey begins in Xi’an, home to the Terracotta Warriors and China’s ancient capital. From Xi’an we head southwest into the Amdo region of Tibet for a homestay with rural Tibetan homestay families, learning about how life continues to change for people who were once nomadic herders. In the far-western province of Xinjiang, we take in some of China’s most breathtaking natural scenery, explore historic mosques and massive bazaars, and confront issues of ethnicity, nationality and power in China today.

Continuing even further west, we enter Kyrgyzstan! Outside the city of Osh, on the plains of the Fergana Valley, we live with homestay families and experience their legendary hospitality. Home to a market that has been in operation for more than 2,000 years, Osh is rich in history and offers windows into the Soviet era and post-Soviet politics that shape Kyrgyzstan today. Our time in Kyrgyzstan concludes with a visit to the Jalalabad Walnut Forest, said to have originated with walnuts carried from Western Eurasia by Greek settlers after the conquest of Alexander the Great. Before returning home, we reflect on all we’ve seen and experienced together on this journey along roads made famous by the countless travelers and traders who walked them before us.

 

 

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.

4/5
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.

3/5
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.

1/5
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

Numerous day hikes in Tibetan areas, hiking through the Jalalabad Walnut Forest in Kyrgyzstan.