Experience the rich cultural diversity of China on a high school study abroad program that will introduce you to remote ethnic minority cultures in China, including Miao, Dong, Buyi, and Zhuang communities. Learn about the history of these cultures and current government policies affecting these minority communities. Spend time in the beautiful and remote rural landscape of southern China. You will be introduced to field plowing and rice production and will 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.
Begin your exploration of China’s cultures in the capital city, Beijing, where you’ll see important sites such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall. Next, discover the rich history of Luoyang, one of the four great ancient capitals of China. Visit temples and learn about the history of Buddhism in China. Spend time in Xi’an, one of China’s oldest cities. Take Chinese language lessons and see important historical and cultural sites, including the famous Terra-Cotta Warriors. Two homestay experiences—one in a city and one in a rural village—will allow you to experience daily life in China in very different contexts.
Throughout the program, you’ll attend performances of traditional dancing and singing and see stunning natural sites such as Huangguoshu Waterfall National Park and Moon Hill. End your experience in China with three days of exploration and reflection in Shanghai, where you will visit a number of important sites such as Yuyuan Garden, Old City, Longhua Temple, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Nanjing Road, and The Bund. Chinese high school students will accompany you during portion of the program.
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Delve into the creative arts in Nicaragua and Cuba and examine how people in both countries have used the arts to promote social transformations. In Nicaragua, where this immersive high school summer abroad program is based, experience daily life and culture from several different perspectives. Live with a host family in the working-class Máximo Jérez neighborhood of Managua, where supporters of the Sandinista Revolution lived during the 1980s. Witness how Nicaraguans today are using the arts for economic sustainability and to express their aspirations for the future. Participate in workshops and visit artists’ studios and communities as you learn about art, poetry, and music as mediums for social change.
Stay in the coffee-producing rural community of San Ramón, in the mountains outside of Matagalpa. While there, experience a second homestay, with a campesino family, and witness the campo-city differences in Nicaragua. Visit a coffee cooperative, and hike through the lush vegetation of this cloud-covered area. Create “socio-dramas” with members of a community organization, make jewelry with seeds, take a poetry workshop, and learn how to prepare multiple dishes incorporating exotic fruits from Nicaragua.
Your journey continues as you travel with your group to Cuba. Learn about Cuba’s significance in Latin American history and the multiple connections between Cuba and Nicaragua. Spend a comparative week in the city of Havana exploring the arts in a different social and cultural context. Visit associations of young artists and African-Cuban community-based arts centers. Participate in a community workshop transformation project (Talleres de Transformación), and dialog with Cubans about their aspirations. Learn about Ernest Hemingway’s life in Cuba at his home in Cojímar and visit other historical sites in Old Havana.
Orientation: Managua, 3 days
Homestay: Managua, 10 days; San Ramon, Matagalpa,* 7 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels
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Spend a summer abroad experiencing different marine environments and regional cultures as you travel from the coastal city of La Paz — situated between desert mountains and the Gulf of California — to the Yucatán Peninsula on this program for high school students. Meet with marine biologists, researchers, and guides in La Paz. Learn about the history of human and animal habitation in the peninsula. Snorkel among coral reefs, observing sea lions in their natural habitats, on the beautiful island of Espíritu Santo, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. During this period, you live with a Mexican family, which opens up amazing windows into Mexican culture. Take advantage of continuous opportunities for Spanish language study while experiencing the region’s incredible natural environments and regional culture with host family members.
As the program moves to the Yucatán in southeastern Mexico — from desert to jungle — you experience a completely different natural environment. Learn about pearl farming on the island of Cozumel and witness ongoing ecosystem restoration efforts through the installation of artificial reefs. Take a late-night beach walk to watch giant sea turtles laying eggs on the sand. Travel to Akumal beach for a guided snorkel excursion with sea turtles and manta rays. Witness the region’s strong Maya cultural influence, and visit the Maya archaeological ruins at Coba or Tulum.
The program begins and ends in Mexico City, giving you time to deepen your knowledge of Mexico’s culture, history, and food from the vantage point of the country’s expansive capital city. Visit the Zócalo, Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María, or Frida Kahlo Museum, or take a walking tour of the old city.
Orientation: Mexico City, 3–4 days
Homestay: La Paz, 11–12 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels, eco-lodge, ranch