Learn or improve your Chinese while exploring bustling cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Discover the Great Wall and Forbidden City. Experience rural China through homestays.
This Experiment takes you to bustling Beijing, home to nearly 22 million people, to discover a vibrant culture. Explore the modern city’s ancient roots at the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven. You will experience cultural activities, sample from the thousands of dumpling variations in the local markets, and learn to prepare a typical Chinese meal.
Your Mandarin Chinese language skills will develop through 45+ hours of training through formal classes (20 hours), experiential learning activities, host family interactions, practice with your friends, and more. You’ll learn more about Chinese culture and language through new friendships with Chinese students who will join you for part of the program.
You will travel by overnight train to Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of China, where you’ll meet herdsmen, watch the sun rise over the grasslands, taste Mongolian food, and learn about Mongolian culture.
Your Experiment continues in the city of Chengde, where you will begin your urban homestay.
Take Mandarin Chinese lessons and practice your language skills with Chinese host families while in Chengde, where you’ll also bike to nearby gardens, palaces, and temples. Then Chinese students from Chengde will join you for a rural homestay in a Han village in Buyang-zhuang. Together, you will hike scenic mountains and visit the historic city of Qufu, the hometown of Confucius.
Return to Shanghai to explore the sights such as the nearly 500-year-old Yuyuan Garden, Old City, and Longhua Buddhist Temple. Soak in the melting pot of Shanghai’s cultures, from architecture and technology to fashion and art, as you prepare for your journey back home.
At the conclusion of this program, you will earn a language certificate noting the number of hours of language training through formal classes and experiential learning completed.
Not Yet Enrolling
Orientation in Beijing
During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
Excursion to Inner Mongolia (Thematic Focus)
Excursion to Luoyang & Xian
During this period, you and your group will stay in hotels and yurts.
Urban Homestay and Thematic Focus
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample community: Chengde, or Guiyang
Travel in Tai’an
During this period, you and your group will stay in centrally located hotels.
Rural Homestay Accompanied by Chinese Students from the City
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample community: Buyang-zhuang, Baibai Miao Village
Excursion to Qufu or Libo – Accompanied by Chinese Students (Thematic Focus)
During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
Reflection and Wrap-up in Shanghai
During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hostel.
Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.
Born to a family of traveling art teachers based in rural New York, Emerson Gale enjoyed the fruits of cultural discovery from a young age. Attending craft conventions across the US as he grew up, Emerson developed a fascination for multicultural education and leadership. After graduating high school, he studied political science and philosophy at Syracuse University. During his junior year, Emerson lived in China for six months as an international relations and Mandarin scholar as well as an English teacher for underprivileged migrant students in Beijing and Shanghai. He delivered his honors program thesis on education in China.
Also a citizen of the UK, Emerson then served a year with City Year London as a full-time mentor and tutor for high school students. After City Year, Emerson spent a year building living willow structures in partnership with local communities at schools and parks throughout the US. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the California Institute of Integral Studies. In addition to being very passionate about arts in education, Emerson delights in exploring the great outdoors, composing music with friends, and baking tasty treats with his mum.
Raised along the scenic coast of Maine, Julia graduated from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, with a degree in Asian studies and Spanish. Julia was then awarded a Fulbright scholarship to China, where she conducted research on contemporary Buddhist practice. She has since traveled between the US and Asia in various capacities. Julia worked at a Manhattan-based China labor rights NGO, ran educational exchanges in Taiwan and China, and consulted with American schools on international admissions and partnership programs. Returning to study at Harvard Graduate School of Education, she received an EdM in international education policy in 2012. Julia now runs an international student program at The Harvey School in Katonah, New York.
Julia’s passion for travel began as an Experimenter in Costa Rica in 2002. She then spent a gap year after high school in Latin America and India. Her extensive adventures in Latin America, Europe, and Asia include organic farming in Norway and Japan, a semester of study in Spain, and teaching English in a prison in Nicaragua. In addition to Julia’s global interests, she enjoys running, cooking, meditation, and adding maple syrup to everything.
Going to China was a desire of mine, and this summer I was able to entertain that desire in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, The Great Wall of China-you name it. In addition to fantastic sights, I indulged in Chinese immersion through language, food, culture, and community. I will never take for granted the trip to Asia that has forever changed my life, and I hope many people in the future will be able to say that as well.--Vei Vei
I loved exploring different parts of China and learning their way of life. It was so different from what I was used to, which is what made it so amazing. I enjoyed communicating with locals and learning about China’s extensive history from all the sites we visited. The host families I had were also so kind and welcoming and I am so glad I had the opportunity to make memories with them.-- Katie
Going to China and being offered to practice my Chinese speaking and listening comprehension with native speakers had improved my Chinese Immensely. We were also given many chances to take charge and choose where we wanted to visit in cities as well as some guided tours.--Maia