China: South of the Clouds Gap Year Semester

Video and Photos

About

With 5,000 years of history and an expansive tapestry of cultures, China generously presents our study abroad adventurers with a fascinating semester experience. Dragons’ Study Abroad semester in China does more than introduce the contemporary China that is seen in the country’s burgeoning cities; our course takes us deep among this country’s various faces and across disparate urban and rural landscapes. Exploring little-seen sides of this vast land, we challenge many preconceived Western notions about this country. We venture into remote areas where China is still dramatically underdeveloped. We explore regions of extraordinary natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Inventive travel experiences are balanced with a strong language curriculum and a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary exploration of Modern Chinese history and economic development, society, and cultural tradition. Our semester program offers an unparalleled comprehensive overview of China today.

Highlights
  • Minority issues and status, socio-economic issues, health, land-use and environment, tourism, human rights issues, cultural survival.
  • 5-6 weeks of urban homestay in Kunming, one or two rural homestays in Yunnan, Qinghai or Sichuan villages.
  • Ancient, imperial and modern history, political studies, social issues in modern China, development of market economy, gender and race studies, cultural and environmental preservation, Chinese philosophy.
  • Intensive daily Mandarin Chinese instruction, options for additional one-on-one tutoring sessions and opportunities for language immersion throughout.
  • 3 to 5-day trek in the mountains of western China, numerous day hikes and/or additional multi-day treks depending on student interest.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

100%
based on 2 reviews
  • Housing 9.5
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 10
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
female headshot
Laureen
10/10

I'd do it all over again, and again, and again

I joined Dragons for the Fall 2017 trip and it was an incredible experience. I met 10 amazing other Gap Year students who I will stay in touch with for the rest of my life and the three instructors were absolutely amazing. They came from all over the world and had such a passion for China and teaching us everything they know and love about it as well as learning new things with us.
Every trip differs just a bit depending on the group but ours did two rural homestays in Tibetan regions and one in Banna (the tropics in the Yunnan province). We also spent a month in Kunming experiencing life in the city and studying Chinese intensively. My grasp of the language accelerated in a way it would never have without that complete immersion and three hours of instruction per day.
I lived and breathed China for 3 months and all I can say is that I can't wait to go back. Thanks Dragons! It was unforgettable :)
-Laureen Akram

Yes, I recommend this program
Paul
10/10

Best way to first travel in China

I attended the 2017 spring semester in China, and it was one of the greatest experiences in my life so far. Of all the programs I looked into Where There Be Dragons seemed like the most immersive travel experience, and I was not wrong. The group travels with local contacts of the instructors, so you never feel like a tourist. After travelling with WTBD I feel capable to travel to China again on my own. I have contacts of my own and have grown close with the group of students and instructors. Thanks WTBD!

How can this program be improved?
You should be able to use phones throughout the whole program except for during specific activities. I missed out on photos from the first month of the trip which is a bit of a bummer.
Yes, I recommend this program

About Where There Be Dragons

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...