Archive for the ‘Study Abroad Programs in China’ Category

Kunming’s Dianchi Lake Offers Tranquility and Calm

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
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China’s spectacular destinations are one of the main reasons why so many students and travelers flock to the country every year. Be it for Chinatour or studying abroad, the country has one of the highest number of international students and tourists who visit it. The diversity of culture, rich history and stunning landscapes combined together offer a travel experience that is unlike any other.

Dianchi Lake: Location and History

Kunming, the provincial capital of YunnanProvinceis the eternal ‘SpringCity’ of Chinaand is a favorite mostly owing of its excellent year-round weather. Added to it are the local travel delights that make the city an all-around place to visit. The city is a popular hub for Chinese language programs and gives students the opportunity to travel to several destinations within the city.

Among the many interesting landmarks, one that stands out is the pristineDianchiLake. It has earned the beautiful nickname of ‘Sparkling Pearl Embedded in aHighland’. It isChina’s sixth largest fresh water lake and has been consistently known for its popularity as an amazing place for sightseeing, entertainment and leisure.

It’s proximity to various other important places nearby gives it the perfect vantage point. Just around the lake are located the Grand View Park, National Sports Training Base, Yunnan Ethnic Village, Western Mountains Forest Park and several more. Acting as the central focal point of the Kunming Scenic Region, the lake was also regarded as Kunming Dianchi Lake National Resort Region, one of the twelve National Resort Regions.

The lake is located at the foot of theWeishanMountainswhich are also otherwise known as the ‘Plateau Pearl’, around 3 miles away from downtownKunming. The lake is fenced on all four sides; the Jinma Hill lies in the east, the Biji Hill in the west, the Heshan Hill in the south and Snake Hill in the north.

The area adjoining the lake shore is rich due to the favorable climatic conditions as well as several rivers required for irrigation. According to legend, the lake was named after one of the most prominent ethnic groups during the First Century known as ‘Dian’. They were responsible for the establishment of the ancientDianKingdomback during the Han Dynasty.

Due to its calmness and serenity, people prefer to come here throughout the day, mostly for recreation and unwinding. The crystal clear water and the rippling waves look like a picture out of a postcard. Every year, from November till March, huge fleets of sea gulls migrate to this lake fromSiberiain order to escape the harsh winter. The area’s warm weather attracts the birds and the view is often a sight to behold.

A circular railway has been built around Dianchi Lake


The railway around Dianchi Lake


A panoramic view of Dianchi Lake.


A panoramic view of Dianchi Lake


The lake is fenced on all four sides

From November till March, huge fleets of sea gulls migrate to this lake from Siberia in order to escape the harsh winter.

huge fleets of sea gulls

Gulangyu Island in Xiamen, China

Friday, June 8th, 2012
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The Pristine Gulangyu Island in China is Enigmatically Beautiful

If one is looking for a place to relax in China, then one of the finest destinations will be the Gulangyu Island which is a small island off the coast of  Xiamen City of  Fujian Province. This island features Victorian and European architecture and is known for its natural beauty and clean environment. It is one of the least polluted places in the country owing to the lack of vehicles. The small population residing here has ensured that the pristine beauty remains. 

Gulangyu Island Assures Serenity and Peace unlike Any Other 

Study abroad programs and gap year jobs allow you to travel to different parts of the world and experience the diversity in cultures and the richness of lifestyle that they include. Those who have been on China tours would also have experienced places which are so different from what one can imagine of a modern country. There are places which are, even today, lost in time and remain untouched. 

Those who intend to visit the country to learn Chinese should enroll in Chinese language programs that take them to places which are different from bustling cities like Beijing and Shanghai. There are many programs which are tailor made to break myths of China that are known across the world. In reality, the nation still retains its spirituality despite rampant development. There are many spots which have utilized this harmony with nature to transform into havens for tourists. One of such places is Gulangyu Island which lies southwest of Xiamen City. It comes under the purview of the Fujian Province. 

Gulangyu is known for its natural beauty and scenic spots. It has become one of the most well-known places in the country due to its historical background and beautiful locales. Its natural beauty has been enhanced by the presence of a natural reef around it. During high tide, waves collide against the reef and make a sound like that of a drum. This is how it has earned its name. In Chinese, ‘Gu’ means drum and ‘lang’ means waves. Hence it came to be known as Gulangyu. 

When one visits the island, the lack of vehicles surprises a lot of tourists and students. The island has been kept free of all vehicles including bicycles. This is to preserve the environment and the reef by reducing traffic. Another surprise might spring in the form of European and Victorian architecture that is prominently evident in the island along with some of the most beautiful Chinese structures. After the Opium Wars, this island became a hub for nationals from more than 13 countries which included Great Britain, Japan and France. This resulted in the European architecture that still stands today on the island. The Japanese occupation till 1942 has also left a huge impression of the erstwhile Japanese lifestyle.

There are 20,000 residents on Gulangyu Island. They also do not own any vehicles. The abundance of trees and zero pollution allow one to breathe clean and fresh air throughout the island. One of the important places to see is the Sunlight Rock which is the highest point of the island. The sun-shaped formation of the granite rock looks grand when the sun rises on it. Underneath it is a war memorial. Those who would want to relax can also go to Shuzhuang Island which was once a villa but now has been changed into a public park. It is known for its bridges and pavilions.

Panormas of Gulangyu Island and Xiamen city from Sunlight Rock, the highest point at Gulangyu Island


Gulangyu Island is to the southwest off the coast of Xiamen city core.


Gulangyu Island has good beaches


Green, flowery, strewn with Gulangyu Island has good beaches


Gulangyu Ferry Terminal, in 5 minutes reach the city of Xiamen, vice versa



Guilin: a Memorable City in China

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
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Guilin is a beautiful city in China which is soon to become one of the favorite destinations for study abroad programs, gap year programs and various forms of gap year jobs. The reason for this transformation is nothing else but its location which makes it one of the most pristine spots in the country. 

Places to Visit in Guilin

The name Guilin itself means ‘Forest of Sweet Olive’. In the Chinese language, sweet olive is known as ‘Guihua’ and the name has been directly derived from here. This tree is found only in certain parts of China. The city of Guilin lies in a region which was full of trees of sweet olive. Even today, the city has a lot of trees of the same. It is well known for its charismatic splendor which comes out in all vivaciousness in the spring and autumn seasons. However, one can visit the city anytime of the year because the natural beauty is retained almost throughout the year. 

Guilin city is a part of the Guanxi Province and is the perfect base for all those who wish to explore this province lying at the border of Vietnam. The river Li runs by the city offering it the right ambience. There are four lakes and the river circumvents the city. There are sheer sided mountains as well within the city. 

The city has been a popular destination on the itineraries of China tours. Right in the center of the city lies the Central Square which is an area of 51,400 sq meters. The ground of this area is made up of a giant atlas that can be viewed from a height. 

Those who are visiting the country to learn Mandarin can have an immersive experience by visiting the Jingjiang Palace which was the erstwhile palace of the prince of the region and now has been converted into a museum. Similarly there are the Sun and the Moon pagodas which are situated beside the lakes and offer great sites for serene spots. 

Guilin has many other places as well which have been created specifically for those who are learning Chinese in China. These include Guilin Art Museum and Li River Folk Custom Center. The latter is the perfect place to find folk art, handicraft and cultural items from various Chinese ethnicities from this region. These apart, there are many other places to visit within the city and its environs.

 North to Guilin is the Diecai Mountain which is a park that comprises of various peaks. One can also visit a small aviary and a butterfly museum there. 

Diecai Peak in Guilin

The Fubo Hill, on the other hand, offers an opportunity to see old Buddhist inscriptions of the Tang Dynasty. 

Fubo Hill in Guilin

One of the most prominent sites is the Elephant Trunk Hill which has a shape like an elephant’s head whose trunk is dipping into the river. 

Elephant Trunk Hill in Guilin

One more impressive and unique site is the Reed Flute Cave where there is a regular light show among beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.

The Reed Flute Cave in Guilin