China: Ethnic Minorities and Contemporary China

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Discover the traditions and contemporary daily lives of China’s minority cultures.

Experience the rich cultural diversity of China in a program that introduces you to Miao, Dong, Buyi, and Zhuang ethnic minority cultures. Learn about the history of these cultures and current government policies affecting these minority communities. Spend time in rural villages and learn about traditional crafts and trades such as papermaking, watercolor painting, batik, embroidery, weaving, and blacksmithing. Contrast daily life in rural communities with life in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Luoyang, and Xi’an.

Orientation: Beijing, 3–4 days
Homestay: Guiyang, 5–6 days; Xijiang, 5–6 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels and hostels

Questions & Answers


based on 4 reviews
  • Growth 9.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Adventures in China

This was an amazing experience. I grew so close to the people who were strangers in the beginning yet ended up being like family. It was so fun to see and learn all about the history of China. The most impacting part of my experience was living in Baibi village for my rural homestay. I learned to be blessed and appreciate the little things in life because not everyone is as fortunate as me. I am now more open minded to new cultures than before.

How can this program be improved?
I would say a way this program can be improved is by not putting the very tiring days all next to wach other. For example, climbing the great wall one day and a hiking day the next is just not a good idea.
Yes, I recommend
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Everyone should experience this!!

Being in a foreign country with people you don't know can be challenging at times, especially when it's your first time travelling outside of the country. But I was able to meet so many amazing people that made me feel comfortable and loved. From gaining new friends to family members, I did not feel out of place at all. I enjoyed the program so much that if I had a choice to stay longer I would gladly take it. Though I did not know Mandarin my family still treated me like one of their own. Everyone was so kind and courteous to me. My idea of what China was before the trip definitely changed afterwards. I learned so much regarding China's education through my host sister Ann and one of the teachers from Tian Tian. I witnessed different methods Chinese students cope with the stress they endure from life. So many amazing experiences happened to me that it is hard to just talk about one, but my top favorite was when everyone played games with each other in the rural village. It was awesome. Some of us played basketball while others cheered from the sideline. Even people that didn't really want to do it at first joined once they saw how much fun we were having, even children from the village joined us. It was so much just running around and a cool day.
I would definitely recommend this program to everyone. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that everyone should experience. Going abroad through The Experiment in International Living is way better than just going to the country. You get to live life with them by being in their home and eating what they eat on a daily basis. You began to break the assumptions you had before going by actually being there. Learn things I wouldn't have known if I had not gone. The Experiment not only unlocked my love for traveling but allowed me to appreciate my culture, China's culture, and the many friends and family I have gained.
Also, before going to china make sure you caring toilet paper or some kind of tissue paper.

How can this program be improved?
More days to rest. China is a huge and old country, so trying to fit so much history, and walking, can tire people out and you an you can start to lose the real sense of why you came.
Yes, I recommend
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Learning to Appreciate

When the trip first began, I was ready to view the world in a different way. I was able to meet my homestay family with excitement and curiosity, the mind of someone who wanted to explore. Living with my homestay family, I had to try harder to communicate with them. It was not something easy that I would usually do at home. The language barrier was something that made the experience more important. With the first few days of the homestay, I had to use a lot of gestures and body language to help my host family understand me. It made me realize how much easier it was for me back at home because I didn’t have to do much for anyone to understand me. I really enjoyed seeing the change in relationships I had with my host family. We somewhat connected really well after the first few days of struggling to communicate, but it wasn’t just that experience that changed me, it was the whole Experiment itself.

I was able to empathize and put myself in a different perspective to understand how it must have been like with the language and culture barrier. Seeing things from a different view makes situations a lot easier to comprehend. Being able to understand someone and not make judgments or assumptions upon your own perspective was something that I figured was going to be helpful in the future.

The Experiment experience changed the way in which I perceived things. I’ve learned many things along the way. Looking down to the simplest of things, I’ve learned to appreciate what I have. At one point during the trip, I really missed the fresh air back at home. I also started missing the tap water as well because the tap water in China was unsafe to drink. I remember being in Beijing and thinking about how much I missed seeing a blue sky. It wasn’t something I would ever miss, but the thin layer of gray that’s always in Beijing due to the air pollution made me miss it badly.

It wasn’t so much as how the homestay experience has changed me, but how The Experiment has changed me. All in all, The Experiment has taught me many good things. I had many realizations about my own life and the life of others. I gained a better perspective and stronger will because of The Experiment. To be able to realize that I should really appreciate what I have means that I have learned one of the many important lessons in life. And it was not only about learning new things by perspective, but also about learning about myself. I believe The Experiment has helped me gain new knowledge to further myself in life. To experience through The Experiment has never made me so happy and grateful for the things in life.

How can this program be improved?
More days to rest
Yes, I recommend
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我爱中国!!! (I love China!!!)

I spent a whole 4 weeks in China during the summer of 2015. It is and will be the most memorable time of my life! I've never had so much fun or smiled so much. The trip taught me how to come out of my shell (I am usually really shy, but that changed after hanging out with so many nice, outgoing people), and to go with the flow. On the trip, the scenery was beautiful, the information we learned was very eye-opening and interesting, the food was really delicious, and the people who lived in China (as well as the other students on the trip with me) were so nice! In fact, my favorite memory of China was when one of my friends and I just started to play Chinese checkers in one of the stores. Instead of telling us to get out or buy something, the store owner showed us how to make better moves since she had been playing for such a long time. She was so happy to have made our day, that I felt extremely bad afterwards for not being able to buy something there (I had no money on me at the time). All in all, if you're looking for a mind-blowing experience, got to China!

How can this program be improved?
The toilet situation in some parts of China takes a while to get used to, but that's just part of the immersion. Other than that, I can't complain.
Yes, I recommend

About The Experiment in International Living

The Experiment in International Living provides 3-, 4-, and 5-week summer programs for high school students who want to connect deeply and engage meaningfully with the richness and complexities of another country.

Programs equip students not only...