Minds Abroad

Minds Abroad

About

Minds Abroad is a U.S.-based organization that conducts study abroad programs on both sides of the Pacific: we bring both Asian students to the United States and also Western students to Asia. Focusing on Chinese language programs and culture immersion, Minds Abroad provides a hands-on understanding of non-traditional culture by putting students in real-life contexts.
Because of the way our programs engage students with local communities, Minds Abroad was recently named a “Top Ten Best Practices Program” by the Center for Citizen Diplomacy in conjunction with the U.S. State Department.

Impact Abroad, the volunteer provider, offers an opportunity for those of the Western world who are interested in helping handicapped children and orphans in Yunnan. Specifically, you would volunteer at the Yunnan Children or other child welfare institution in Yunnan. Impact Abroad partners with these institutions to place volunteers.

Headquarters

2201 Hongyuan Building, #64 West Dongfeng Road
Kunming Shi
Yunnan Sheng, 650031
China

Reviews

Default avatar
Jennifer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My daughters attended Minds Abroad’s Yunnan S+T Program, last year and it was a wonderful experience for them. The program was a perfect combination of Mandarin classes, volunteering at local schools for underprivileged kids and weekend excursions to places in and around Yunnan.

Since my daughters are 15 and 17, the Mandarin lessons put together for them were customized according to their needs, levels and age group. The class size was limited to only 5 students, which was great in a way. This ensured one-on-one, individual attention. The classes were arranged in a spacious, airy room of the office of Minds Abroad and they were fun-filled , engaging as well as intellectually and creatively stimulating. The tutor was a middle-aged, highly knowledgeable local school teacher and my girls connected with her on many levels. She helped my daughter settle into the life in Kunming and was focused on getting their basics right from the very beginning. She gave a lot of stress on perfecting the tones and I am really indebted to her for my daughters’ new found interest in one of the most complicated yet beautiful languages of the world, Mandarin.

My daughters went to various places of historic and cultural interest in Yunnan over the weekend. Their guides were fantastic and a treasure-trove of knowledge. Many of the sites that they covered were out-of-the-beaten track, not frequented by a lot of tourists. Their top favorite was the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Though the trek up the gorge was arduous and needed a lot of stamina and tenacity, it was worth it. The program associates of Minds Abroad were also extremely hard-working and punctual and they went out of their way to make sure that our girls had a wonderful experience. I am really thankful to Leah, an associate I particularly became friends with. She was extremely kind and lent a sympathetic ear to all my woes and complaints. I overwhelmed her with phone-calls, wechat messages and emails from time to time and she put up with my tantrums like a saint.

She occasionally took the students to explore various nooks and crannies of Kunming outside of her normal work hours. Spending those few precious days in Kunming has been an eye-opening and life-changing experience for my girls. My daughters are thankfully more grateful for what they have. They have made lots of friends, while they were at Kunming and at the school they volunteered at.

Default avatar
Jordan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Being able to immerse myself into the Yunnan culture with Minds Abroad, for a month, was one of the best experiences of my life. The staff on the program made me feel at home from the day that I got to Kunming to the day I left. I really enjoyed being able to teaching English to kids in poverished areas because it really opened my eyes to see the lifestyle people live in those parts of Kunming. The places we visited were beyond anything that I have ever seen and being able to experience the beauty of Yunnan everyday was outstanding. My favorite weekend trip away from Kunming was the Tiger Leaping Gorge because I was able to hike through mindblowing, snow caped mountains with all of my friends that I had made on the program. I became very close with many of my friends on the program and being able to experience everything with them made the experience even better. The only part of the experience I didn't like was leaving but I will never forget my once in a lifetime experience.

Default avatar
Noah
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Legend has it that Tiger Leaping Gorge got its name because a tiger once escaped a pair of hunters by jumping over the narrowest point in the Gorge. My question is: Could a tiger really leap the Gorge?

Before addressing the jump I must make it clear that there must be Tigers in the Gorge. Now many tigers may like the quick pace and bustle of the city, and they certainly would have no shortage of delicious food there, but Tiger Leaping Gorge is, in my opinion, the most beautiful place in Yunnan. Thus, I think it would natural draw many tiger tourists to go on the incredible hike.
One must also consider that on a tigers first day of hiking they would likely have a scenic van ride up a very twisty road. After the drive they are likely to arrive at trail head which takes them up the ever intriguing 28 bends, a trail that may be tough for some tigers, but is definitely worth it! The tiger must also make sure that they pack plenty of water and not too heavy of a pack because their shoulders will surely be sore at the end of the day if they do. It is also vastly important that any tiger who loves a good view, who doesn't, should bring a phone or camera that they can take breathtaking pictures on to take home and show their families.
Half way through the first day of hiking a tiger is going to get hungry, which is why there is a wonderful Tea and Horse rest house where they can enjoy a variety of wonderful meals. This stop will surely give them the energy to continue their hike throughout the Gorge until the sun begins to come down and they must find shelter. This shelter is provided at the Half Way hostel, which is easily the best shelter a tiger could find. They will also enjoy an incredible balcony with the best view in the Gorge. After a great nights rest in their comfortable room, the tiger will enjoy another delicious and nutritious meal before embarking on day 2 of their hike. The second day will not be as rigorous as the first, but the waterfalls and fog hidden mountain tops will provide for some incredible pictures. After a large breakfast the many goats that the tiger encounters will not make his stomach growl, though they may encourage them to take a video of them bleating, and subsequently lay that video over one of their favorite Taylor Swift songs. The hike down the mountain will not be as difficult as the one up, but tigers must watch their footing and be careful not to slip. Upon reaching the bottom of the Gorge they will likely drive to the river which carved the Gorge, and watch the roaring waters rush by. They can also take a picture next to a statue of themselves which is placed by the river.
Now the question must be answered! After an amazing two days of hiking, which included incredible views, exciting treks, delicious food, swanky mountain hostels, and an experience of a lifetime, I would have to conclude that a tiger would be so ecstatic to experience the rest of their trip in Yunnan, that they would leap the Gorge with ease, and vault into their next life experience!

What would you improve about this program?
Looking back, there is very little I would change about this program. There were times when I felt that there was not a concrete plan, like when we were trying to coordinate a meeting time and place for our trip to Tiger Leaping Gorge, but every doubt or misunderstanding I had was quickly cleared up. I also think that it takes a little while to acclimate yourself to a new city, and to learn to operate in a different culture. This change in environment may have affected my feelings about planning, because things were not always conducted in the way I was used to. Overall, there are no glaring problems that I feel need changing.
Default avatar
Michael
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Minds Abroad was an absolutely amazing program. Most weekdays started with a Mandarin class in the morning, taught by a teacher who produced a great environment for learning Mandarin. This class would be followed a meaningful internship, in my case it was teaching English in an impoverished area. Then we'd usually finish up the day with some sort of fun activity. The best part of the program though, would have to be the weekend excursions, the best excursion being our two day hike through Tiger Leaping Gorge (breathtakingly beautiful). Also, the staff needs to be mentioned- the Minds Abroad staff were all super charismatic and intelligent allowing for an extremely enjoyable experience for the full duration of the program.

Default avatar
yamkela
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

i met a whole lot of people from different cultures and backgroud. we thrust in been more socially more invovled with the needy. i had great adventure with mindsabroad. i hope get another chance to help out again.

What would you improve about this program?
yes it was fine

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Matthew Bondy

Matthew participated in Minds Abroad in June and July of 2012. He goes to high school in the Chicago area and is currently in his third year of studying Mandarin. He runs track, is a member of the debate team, and takes interest in international affairs.
Minds Abroad students in China

Why did you decide to study abroad with Minds Abroad?

Matthew: I chose to study with Minds Abroad primarily because it provided unique travel opportunities to places where most other study abroad programs don’t go

What made this study abroad experience unique and special?

Matthew: The scenery I encountered on the weekend excursions in Yunnan was breathtakingly beautiful. Living in Kunming, where foreigners are scarce, provides insight into a typical Chinese way of life while participants still have the opportunity to see the more famous scenes of Shanghai and Beijing. In just four weeks, my Chinese improved significantly thanks to the rigorous one-on-one Chinese lessons I received. If you are a student of Mandarin, like me, my word of advice is this: decide the moment you arrive that you will not be afraid to practice with people in public! If you want your Chinese to improve, seize the opportunity to practice, and thoroughly enjoy each and every day you spend overseas with Minds Abroad.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Matthew: Since I participated in Minds Abroad, I have decided that whatever my academic future will be, it will involve China. Choosing to spend the summer with Minds Abroad was one of the best decisions I have made.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Revathy Reghunath

Job Title
Project Associate
Revathy Reghunath, currently works as Project Associate with Minds Abroad and involves herself in each new program development for the company. Born and brought up in Kerala, the southern part of India. Revathy entered into the field of visual communication and creative writing after her finished her schooling. She graduated in Fine Arts with specializations in creative writing, development journalism and graphic designing. She worked as a junior correspondent for a regional news network for a while, before leaving her job to pursue MS in Media Studies & Communication. A fascination for writing and travel made her a perfect fit for Minds Abroad, where she now fulfills her dreams of exploring new destinations, opportunities, learning new skills and meeting multi-lingual people. Being a part of Minds Abroad, Revathy has got several opportunities to visit South East Asian countries.

What position do you hold at Minds Abroad? What has been your career path so far?

A young woman posing for a photo.

Revathy: I am currently working as Project Associate with Minds Abroad, India branch in Bangalore city. I am a part of a team where we work together to create, develop and implement new programs for Minds Abroad.

I am involved in creating customized programs for both institutional and individual clients of the company. I help in creating content for the program booklets and our website and other online-offline publications for Minds Abroad. Apart from this I also multi-task by doing client servicing and interoffice -communication, graphic designing, and also marketing of our programs.

Minds Abroad is my first full time job after my post graduate studies. I was just a beginner when I joined the company a year ago. I was eager to learn new things and Minds Abroad gave me vast opportunities to improve my multitasking skills in different ways.

I grew a lot as an employee and as a human being. I got proper directions to rectify my shortcomings and improve my skill at Minds Abroad. Even though there have been hurdles in the midst of everything, the working atmosphere of the company helped me grow this far in a short period of time.

What does the future hold for Minds Abroad - any exciting new programs to share?

Revathy: Minds Abroad has a promising future ahead of it. Every year we develop brand new programs for our clients. Each client is unique for us and this year also we have designed another set of unique cultural immersion programs for both institutional and individual clients. Our two way cultural immersion program not only allows the western and European students to study, live and work in South East Asia, it also presents wonderful opportunities for the Asian students to study, live and work in USA.

A young woman standing by the water.

In this way, we make the dream come true for many Asian kids, who always wanted to go and experience western culture and life. In addition to this, Minds Abroad has also extended its service for career guidance and counseling for Chinese students who are planning to pursue their studies and career in western land.

What about the future of the industry? How do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?

Revathy: Study abroad industry will have an exceptional growth in near future. The world is shrinking to a global village resulting in more people traveling to other continents for different purposes. Other than business travel, international education will be one major pull for the next generation to travel, migrate and live in other countries. International education helps widen the horizon of students in different ways. It provides them with opportunities to learn and experience new culture, language, food, and life style and. This experience is reflected in the way they perceive the world before and after studying in a foreign land.

What country have you always wanted to visit?

Revathy: I always wanted to visit Europe. Paris and London are my dream destinations. Everything I have read and seen about this dream land in magazines and internet has fascinated me to the core. Once in my life time I want to take a solo trip to these places.

Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?

Revathy: I believe that through learning a new language you can learn a new culture and life style. Language of a region is always closely knitted with its culture and traditions. And learning a new language is the key to indulge in the local culture and life when you visit that particular country. Local people will accept you better when you speak their language.

Cultural immersion is most important if you want to learn more about the world and step out of your comfort zone. A western student who travels all the way from US to Asia will learn about the culture, values, and life style in an intimate and direct engagement with the local people. This will help him/her understand the diversities in life of people across different continents.

What does your home-country's culture​ value that is taught in your program?

A young girl posing for a picture.

Revathy: India is a land of great diversity which is reflected in its culture, topography, traditions, language, attires and lifestyles. Students will experience this unique and quintessential diversity in multi-dimensions through our programs. Our India programs are mainly based in Bangalore, the IT capital of India. The soothing weather all year round makes it the best study abroad destination among all other metropolitan cities in India.

India is blessed with ancient architectures, temple arts, and feisty festivals and different religious ceremonies and celebrations, turning it into a land of vibrant colors. The rich heritage and history of Indian culture can be experienced and learned from its ancient artistic achievements and marvelous craft traditions from different parts of the nation.

By experiencing these glorified Indian culture and heritage inspiring the message of “unity in diversity” students will learn how a country of one billion populations is still under one roof in all diversities with equality.