Archive for the ‘Study Abroad Programs in China’ Category

Guangdong Province in China Hosts ‘Little Africa’

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
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When students and professionals go to China, their objective is to familiarize themselves with the cultural and regional differences so that the culture shock is reduced to a minimum. However, there are so many surprises in store that it is hard to prepare one to the varieties of places and situations that can arise during one’s China visit. Therefore it will not come as a surprise if at some point one walks into a neighborhood which may seem as though a part of Africa has been transported to China.

Thriving African Community in China

It is said that travelling teaches more than books. This is a primary reason why study abroad programs and gap year programs have been so hugely successful and popular across the globe. While these programs have been prevalent in all the other parts of Asia and Europe for a very long time now, China has been on the study abroad map for only about two decades. While volunteering programs had started after the mid-nineties, the country allowed fully fledged study abroad programs only in the past decade. Now you can participate in Chinese language programs or take up gap year jobs as volunteers in many parts of the country.

It is known that China has had a history of thousands of years and most of it is relatively unknown. Therefore, whenever you go on China tours, during the course of your stay in the country you will encounter incalculable wonders and strangest of places. However, one of the biggest surprises in the country is not because of its history but because of its present.

In southern China, lying in Guangzhou Province is an area where you would hear pop music from Africa. Visitors in the area will suddenly stumble upon a community which they will hardly expect to be thriving in China. This is an area where an African community from various African nations has settled down and allowed business worth billions of dollars to thrive. These nationals trade in various commodities but the primary items are apparels.

This community is not here for a  short time. Its inception started way back in 1979 when African student merchants saw an opportunity of doing business. What started then picked up pace in 1990s and today has resulted in the settling of at least two thousand African nationals who are living in the Xiao Bei Road area. The influx of the community has grown since the Beijing Olympics 2008. This was a great opportunity for people from all countries in the world to visit the Dragon country, and as a result business saw tremendous growth.  Now there are a lot of traders from the Middle East as well who have seen the opportunity and hence have come and settled here.

The question is what makes the community tick? How come they have been here and felt so much at home? The answer does not only lie in the thriving business. The weather is also a vital factor. The province experiences warm weather which the African people find similar to that of their home country. Therefore, despite the change of location, there is not a lot of change of the ‘homely’ feeling.

The citizens have now become an integral part of China. They have made their mark in business and other spheres, and in 2006 an African national won a karaoke contest in the city and became a pop sensation of the city. His victory allowed him to welcome a group of expats whose surprise knew no bounds during the ceremony.

A Trip to Mount Everest

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
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Mount Everest: The Pinnacle of Adventure 

While visiting China, mountaineers often decide to go and see the world’s highest mountain Mount Everest. The trip is long and takes one to many stupendous places on the way. But there is nothing more magnificent than traveling to one of the most dangerous places in the world, albeit beautiful. The mountain from afar looks magnificent, but little does one know of the dangers of climbing it. It is a challenge that every mountaineer aspires to conquer.  

The Majestic Mount Everest Invokes Awe

Mount Everest needs no introduction. The highest mountain in the world has its north face in China and its south face in Nepal. The most popular cities where the trek starts from are Kathmandu in Nepal and Lhasa in Tibet. While a trek to the summit of the mountain should be left to hardcore climbers, those who are visiting China on gap year jobs and study abroad programs stand a good chance of going on a trek ‘around’ the mountain. 

Typically a trip to China to learn Mandarin also results in visiting sites in and around the place where the Chinese language programs are being conducted. The same can be said about other gap year programs. But in case one wants, a trip to Mount Everest can be arranged.   

A trip to Mount Everest is an extensive tour which would require special preparation and would not be as simple as a “weekend” tour. Usually such a trip takes more than a week’s time but for those who love mountains and trekking, it is a magnanimous event.  Where professional mountaineers are concerned, they take their gear with them and pay hefty charges to scale the mountain.  

 But not all mountaineers would opt for scaling the mountain. There is a onetime license for every individual which can be as high as $25000. Add to this the cost of the gear and oxygen and one can easily see an expenditure exceeding $40000 for an attempt to reach the summit.   

Mount Everest is one of the most majestic places on the planet. It can be viewed distinctly from the base during the months between April and June. One can also visit the site to start climbing between September and October.   

Professional mountaineers and amateurs alike would be taken in by the sight of the majestic peak that rises above all. The tour usually starts from Lhasa in Tibet which is the closest airport. However this should not dissuade students and teachers visiting China for gap year jobs from seeing this grand architecture made by nature.   

From Lhasa one can drive to a place called Tingri, a set starting point for driving to the camping base of Mt.Everst.   

Baiba Township of Shegar Town in Tingri, a springboard for going to the base of Mt.Everest.

 One can visit the Mount Everest Nature Reserve on the way and driving with endless twists and turns, and hairpin bends for 100km before reaching the campig base of Mt.Everest. 

Driving with endless twists and turns, and hairpin bends

 In the middle of the way, then go on to the Gula Pass which is the first focal point where Mount Everest is viewed. It stands at a height of 5200 meters.    

the Gula Pass which is the first focal point where Mount Everest is viewed.

 The Rongbu, one of the highest monasteries in the world, it lies at the base of the Rongbuk Glacier.   

The Rongbu, one of the highest monasteries in the world, it lies at the base of the Rongbuk Glacier.

 The last leg of the journey starts here and ends at the base camp of Mount Everest. From there on, only professional climbers are allowed in with gear to go and scale Everest.   

The last leg of the journey starts here and ends at the base camp of Mount Everest

 

 

All others can scale a hill and behold the magnificent spectacle in front of their eyes. There are not many experiences as mind boggling as viewing one of the most beautiful yet equally dangerous places in the world.

All others can scale a hill and behold the magnificent spectacle in front of their eyes

 

 

Weishan Offers an Unforgettable Slice of China’s Beauty

Friday, April 27th, 2012
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When one visits China, the travel itinerary includes Weishan in almost all the cases. This is because Weishan County boasts of some of the most beautiful places in the country. The Weibo Mountains have been called the “Quietest Mountains in China”. The county also has some important seats of Daoism. Student travels include visiting some extremely beautiful spots. The county holds historical, religious and spiritual importance.  

Places to Visit in Weishan

Weishan County in China boasts of some of the most scenic spots in the country. Nestled in the Weibo Mountains, there are many places which are mesmerizing to say the least. It is not a surprise that study abroad programs based in Yunnan and also elsewhere in the country make it a point to take students to this area during the weekend travels. These gap year program trips are not only fun but educational as well.  

These mountains have been the summer abode of various kings. Weibao Mountain is a holy Daoist mountain. The full name of the mountain is Weibaoshan Mountain and it is considered to be “The quietest mountain in China”. The county has been responsible for cradling one of the most well-known kings of the country; Xinluo was born here and grew up to be the ruler of the legendary Nanzhao Kingdom.  

This region is the hub of natural beauty and spirituality. It is easy to see why those who learn Chinese in China want to visit this place. There is Wenchan Hall in the mountains which is dedicated to a former regional Daosit ruler. It has been designed in accordance with the Daoist geomantic principles. It is in this hall that one gets to see the “Mural of Dancing”. This is the only ancient Daoist mural that is found in Yunnan Province.  

There are almost twenty two temples in these mountains. Therefore, summer programs for high school students could easily be busy for at least two days touring just the temples. The Qingxia Temple is a famous temple which is dedicated to the highest of the Daoist Gods. It is more popularly known as the Laojun temple and has been designed grandly. The interiors are stately and pristine. There is a considerable amount of walking involved to visit different sites because these mountains have remained untouched to maintain their sanctity.

 On the way to these mountains, East Lotus Village lies in the path. This village still bears the looks of a place that must have been there centuries ago. Small streets, traditional buildings and people cooking food the traditional way are all commonplace here, a part of the day to day life. If one wants to experience the religious fervor, then the best time to visit these mountains is between the 1st and the 15th of the second month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Daoist pilgrims flock here for the temple fair. 

It is known to everybody that China is not only the place for learning Mandarin. It has expansive beautiful places which have become popular among students and visitors alike.