Where There Be Dragonshttp://www.wheretherebedragons.com/program...
3200 Carbon Place Unit 102 Boulder, Colorado 80301 United States
China: Beijing, Dunhuang, Rural Areas
June 28 - August 8
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 the China of the East. Amidst Asia's most striking landscapes, we survey a huge diversity of ethnic customs and religious traditions: those of Uyghur, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tajik, Mongour, Tibetan, and Han communities. In the oasis city of Kashgar, not far from China's shared borders with several Central Asian Islamic states, we explore bazaars, mosques, and the world's largest outdoor market. We ascend high into the Pamir Mountain range, enjoying the phenomenal beauty of this seldom visited section of the Himalayas. We explore the Tarim Basin, the ancient ruins of Turpan, and the painted caves of Dunhuang, which archive centuries of sculpted Buddha images and unparalleled Buddhist art. At Kanas Lake we trek from Mongolian encampments deep into the Altai region, and as we traverse the Tibetan Plateau we camp beside Tibetan nomads and their yaks. Concluding in Beijing, we venture to the Great Wall, visit the city's various cultural and historic monuments, become more acquainted with contemporary Han Chinese society, and consider the great influences carried by the caravans of the Silk Road.
Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons' Silk Road: Linking People and Traditions Summer Abroad Program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, future itineraries are subject to change.
Orientation in L.A. Fly to Beijing; catch a connecting flight to the fabled Silk Road oasis of Kashgar in China's northwesterly Xinjiang Province. Visit Kashgar's open-air Sunday Bazaar, where for centuries traders from all across Central Asia have gathered to buy and sell silk, carpets, medicine, spices and livestock; learn about Islam and Muslim culture while marveling at Id Kah Mosque; lose yourself in the narrow, winding alleyways of Kashgar's traditional old town neighborhoods; visit silk, carpet, and musical instrument workshops; dine at the former British and Russian consulates and learn about the role that foreigners have played in the political history of Xinjiang; attend classes on a variety of topics, including Uyghur language and culture, Chinese and Central Asian history, development issues, traditional medicine, and environmental issues; explore conceptions of race and national identity; attend performances of traditional Uyghur music and dance. Decide on Independent Study Project topics and begin work.
Rugged travel and trekking along the Karakoram Highway. Hike glaciated valleys and mountains of the Pamir range, using camels as pack animals; camp amid small herding communities at the base of sacred Mt. Muztagh-Ata; join Kyrgyz nomads in their yurts for a feast of homemade bread, handmade spicy noodles and fresh yak milk. Travel deeper to Tashkorgan, the last Chinese outpost along the Karakoram Highway before Pakistan; explore ethnic Tajik culture and ruins of ancient forts; return to Kashgar.
Home-stays, ancient ruins and desert oases. Travel by train from Kashgar to Turpan an oasis on the edge of the vast Taklamakan Desert. In Turpan, visit the 2000 year-old ruins of the ancient Buddhist city of Jiaohe; begin study of Buddhist philosophy, history, and art. Visit the elegant Emin Minaret; further exploration of Islamic culture. Make friends and sample local delicacies at Turpan's lively night market. Enjoy home-stays in a traditional Uyghur village just outside of Turpan. Experience the joys and hardships of village life while harvesting melons and grapes; learning to make traditional Uyghur dishes such as samsa and lamian and sleeping out under the stars to escape the searing desert heat; visit the Tuyoq Mazaar, an important Muslim pilgrimage site.
Weeks Four and Five:
Tibetan communities and Buddhism. Travel by train to Dunhuang, Gansu. Marvel at the stunning Mogao Caves, the largest repository of Buddhist art in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; camp out amongst towering sand dunes. Climb from the deserts of Gansu to the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai Province. Enter Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures and enjoy home-stays with Tibetan families; trek and camp amongst Himalayan peaks; visit a major Buddhist monastery and continue study of Buddhism and ethnic minority issues; collaborate with local development workers on a small service project; teach English at a local school; explore China’s tumultuous relationship with its ethnic minority populations.
Return to Beijing. Marvel at architectural wonders such as the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, traditional hutong neighborhoods, and Olympic Village sites. Hike and camp along a remote section of the Great Wall. Enjoy feasts of Peking duck and Mongolian hotpot. Final banquet, Independent Study Project presentations, and end-of-program celebration.
Tuition includes everything except international flight medical insurance and small personal expenses (personal calls home personal snacks aside from meals laundry services, email/internet cafes, etc.)
American, European, Canadian, Australian, South African, Kiwi, Worldwide and Asian Participants.
Dragons programs are authentic, rugged and profound learning adventures that expose the beautiful and complex realities of the countries in which we travel. Featuring extended itineraries, Dragons programs encourage deep immersion into strikingly different physical and cultural landscapes, combining the best in experiential education, travel, service learning, and physically and intellectually challenging experiences. While programs vary in their focus - with some trekking and wilderness intensive, others strong on service and development studies, and still others language-oriented - all Dragons journeys are designed above all else to be fun, safe and honest educational experiences.