Beijing 2016: One-of-a-Kind Opportunity

Ratings
Overall
10
Growth: 10
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Housing: 9
Safety: 10
Review

This program was such an amazing experience! We learned the importance of environmental protection in China, since most of the world only looks at the air pollution in major cities there and not what is being done to help. This included lectures by the CIEE staff and guest speakers who came to speak about China's expansive biodiversity and the problems faced by different geographical regions in the country. We spent a week working on a farm in the suburbs/countryside of Beijing, which was rustic but taught us about rural conservation methods and how people live in non-urban settings. We also spent some time with the ethnic minority communities indigenous to the western region of China, which is largely forgotten by the outside world. This included visiting Muslim mosques, eating cuisine inspired by those minority groups, and taking Chinese classes at Minzu University, China's largest university catering primarily to ethnic minorities. We took an overnight train to the city of Xi'an, where the terra cotta warriors are, and a high-speed train back, which was an interesting way to explore modes of transportation not common in the United States. Because we traveled around quite a bit and were not always in luxurious living situations, students learned how to be adaptable and that things will not always go their way. Nevertheless, this was a great way to learn how to be thankful and not high-maintenance. I would definitely recommend this program to someone who wants a look at a different way of living they are not commonly exposed to, be it urban or rural or even taking an overnight train! An additional note, the program staff was extremely respectful of the students and assisted those of us who had medical issues or were simply having an adjustment issue (air pollution allergies, food, etc.). This made the entire trip twice as enjoyable knowing that we had people to turn to in case something was not going well.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed
2016
Private Note to Provider (optional)
I was very appreciative that our program leader stayed in San Francisco an extra night on the return trip to ensure that me and another student with connecting domestic flights got on our flights without problems. Thank you!