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108 braids... the devotional representation of a sacred Tibetan number. Photo by Rebecca Thom, China Semester.

First Six Week Itinerary!

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.” – Pico Iyer, Why We Travel

Without further ado I’d like to share with you the tentative schedule for our first six weeks in China. We will be traveling throughout western and northwestern Yunnan for the first four weeks of our journey through areas of vast geographical and ethnic diversity. This will help orient ourselves to the beauty of the beast that is China and will act as a vivid juxtaposition to our time metropolis of Kunming which we will return to in early October. Be prepared that this itinerary will likely change based on the opportunities that arise in our paths as well and the needs and interests of our group, so please only use this as a brief reference and an introduction to our journey. We will continue to post on this board with stories and anecdotes on every step of our journey so don’t think you’ll be missing out! Students, please post your introductions here and we will see you in just under 10 days!

Friday, September 1 (JFK – Lost Garden, Kunming): Arrival at 10:50am

  • Welcome to Kunming! Transit to Lost Garden Guesthouse
  • Visit Cuihu (Green Lake) and Yuantong Temple
  • Staff and Kunming Introductions
  • Program Overview

Saturday, September 2 (Lost Garden, Kunming):  The Basics

  • Visit the Kunming University of Science and Technology
  • Health and Safety 101, Hygiene 101, Cultural Dos and Don’ts
  • What is a Dragon’s Trip? Core Values and Program Components

Sunday, 3 (Kunming – Baoxiang Temple, Jianchuan): The Journey Begins!

  • Day bus to Jianchuan, then to Baoxiang Temple
  • Sleep in the Temple, a Buddhist Historical Site, surrounded by majestic scenery and curious monkeys!

Monday, 4 (Baoxiang Temple, Jianchuan): Language, Goals, and Staying Safe

  • Gender Roles, Health and Safety 102
  • Language Classes Begin
  • Goal Setting

Tuesday, 5 (Shaxi Cultural Center): Diving into the Local Culture

  • Four-hour Trek to the Shaxi Valley via the Shibaoshan Ancient Grottoes
  • Investigating the Ancient Tea Horse Road
  • Stay at Shaxi Cultural Center

September 6-9 (Shaxi Cultural Center): Orientation and Exploration Continues

  • We will continue to orient you to China, each other, Dragons, and your personal journey. Meanwhile, the cultural center will become your temporary home.
    • Expect… survival language lessons, scavenger hunts, and other fun and practical activities

September 10-16 (Laojunshan National Park, Lijiang): Exploring Northern Yunnan – Trek

  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Town of Lijiang and talk about its development and the effects of tourism.
  • Multi-day Trek in the Liming area, northern part of Laojunshan National Park
  • Overnight stays in local villages
  • Day bus from Lijiang to Lincang on the 16th

September 17-October 2 (Bangdong Village, Lincang): Rural Homestay

  • Bangdong Village Homestays and Service Work
  • Learning Service—we will be interacting with the motivations, pitfalls, and rewards of service work
  • NGO placements are selected

October 3-10 (Kunming): Introduction to Kunming and the Months to Come…

  • Return to Kunming and get oriented to…
    • NGO reports, Independent Enrichment Activities (IEAs), Language Classes at the University, Homestays
  • Rest up after the travel and begin to get set up with your schedule in Kunming.

October 9 (Kunming): Language and Homestays

  • Language classes begin!
  • Homestays begin!

October 11-13 (Kunming): NGO Placements

  • NGO placements begin!
  • Get the pieces in place for an amazing time in Kunming!