2020 Harvard Westlake China Cultural Journey
|Travel Dates:||June 12, 2020 - June 26, 2020|
Airfare not included in program tuition
There are two options for payment, including an easy installment plan. Follow the option which works best for your family.
Program Tuition: $2,990
Pay in Full
All prices in United States Dollars.
China Panda Conservation
As the 21st century unfolds, it is clear that China will continue to take a leading role in shaping the way our shared world develops. The world’s most populous nation – and dynamic economy – has as its backdrop 5,000 years of history and is home to a wide variety of rich cultural traditions and exotic cuisines. Furthermore, China is the world’s fourth largest country in area, with wide geographic diversity and stunning natural beauty.
Your time in China can include visits to the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and exotic markets. You may choose to study Mandarin, Kung Fu, Chinese cuisine, Tai Chi, or calligraphy. Visit isolated villages and staggering Himalayan peaks on the Tibetan plateau, or learn from business leaders and government officials at thought-provoking seminars. You will bike through rice paddies and traditional farming villages, immersing yourself in the local community and landscape. We are excited to bring you to this wondrous land for an adventure you will never forget.
Conservation Expeditions invite students to participate in scientific research projects, learn about diverse ecosystems, and lend a hand in community-based biodiversity conservation efforts.
Check out some of the featured experiences of your program!
Wander the Hutongs and marvel at the wonders of imperial Beijing
Visit Wuhou Temple in Chengdu
Trek to the world's largest Buddha
Visit the Chengdu Giant Panda Base
Visit the Terracotta Army at Xi'an
Visit the unrestored portion of the Great Wall of China
Hand feed Giant Pandas in Sichuan
Explore the Forbidden City in Beijing
We work hard to create safe, engaging, and immersive itineraries for our travelers, but given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but if inclement weather pushes us off course or an unexpected opportunity arises which travelers are excited about, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group.
|1||USA - Chengdu||Today we'll depart the US and fly across the Pacific to the metropolis of Chengdu in Sichuan Province, China.||Airplane|
|2||Chengdu, Sichuan||After crossing the international dateline, we'll arrive in Chengdu in the evening. We'll settle in at the hotel, have our first dinner together, and rest up for our upcoming adventure!||Chengdu Dreams Hostel|
|3||Chengdu, Sichuan||After a good night's rest we'll have our big orientation and explore Chengdu, checking out the famous Wuhou Temple and eating our fair share of Chengdu's specialty street snacks on Jinli street. We'll also stroll over to the People's Park to hang with the locals while they get fit & socialize through ballroom dance, kite flying, taichi, and more! For dinner, we'll try our hand at expert level DIY Sichuan cuisine, hotpot!||Chengdu Dreams Hostel|
|4||Dujiangyan, Sichuan||Early this morning, we'll make our way to the Panda Center at Dujiangyan to begin our volunteering program. Our tasks will including cleaning panda enclosures, preparing bamboo and “panda bread”, as well as hand-feeding the pandas. We'll also watch a documentary about panda habitat loss, and learn about the breeding & reintroduction work that is currently being done.||Dujiangyan Panda Business Hotel|
|5||Dujiangyan, Sichuan||Continued volunteering at the Dujiangyan Panda Center and free time to explore Dujiangyan village in the afternoon/evening.||Dujiangyan Panda Business Hotel|
|6||Dujiangyan, Sichuan||Today, we'll visit the Chengdu Base of Giant Panda Breeding to see the more public facing side of panda conservation in China. We'll tour the facilities and also see the Giant pandas smaller cousin, the Red Panda. Another possibility includes heading to Panda Valley, where important reintroduction work is being done. We'll also get the insider's scoop by speaking with scientists working at the center about their research and the future of China's adorable mascot. In the afternoon, we have two options: a relaxing hike in the misty waterfalls of Qingcheng Back Mountain, where we'll enjoy stunning scenery and an escape from the heat. Or, check out the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, for which the region is known, and presents an impressive feat of urban/structural engineering that has been in use since the 3rd century.||Dujiangyan Panda Business Hotel|
|7||Chengdu - Xi'an||After a final morning in Sichuan, we'll hop on a train to Xi'an. As we fly through the countryside, we'll rest and recharge our batteries, play cards, journal, snack and/or practice our Chinese language skills with our neighbors.||Xi'an Hotel|
|8||Xi'an||Upon arrival in Xi'an, we'll head to see the Terracotta Army of Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of China. Dating from 209 BCE, the full army and surrounding mausoleum are a must see! Later we'll visit another UNESCO world heritage site, The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda dating to the Tang Dynasty. We'll also explore Xi’an’s distinctive gastronomical culture, sampling their world famous hand-pulled noodles and roujiamo (often dubbed the Chinese equivalent of a hamburger).||Xi'an Hotel|
|9||Xi'an||Today we'll further delve into Xi’an’s history by walking the Ancient City Wall, visiting the Shaanxi History Museum, and experiencing the Great Mosque. We'll sample the delicious street snacks of China’s Hui Muslim ethnic minority group.||Xi'an Hotel|
|10||Xi'an - Beijing||After a final morning in Xi'an, we'll hop on another train to Beijing for our final leg of the adventure. As we fly through the countryside, we'll rest and recharge our batteries, play cards, journal, snack and/or practice our Chinese language skills with our neighbors.||Drum Tower Hostel or Sleepy Inn|
|11||Beijing||We'll arrive in Beijing and get settled in at our accommodations in the historic Ming dynasty hutong alleyways of the old city center. This afternoon we'll check out the Lama Temple, Beijing's largest active Buddhist temple. In the evening, we'll take a cooking class at The Hutong and try our hand at crafting the Chinese cuisine we've been enjoying (option of making dumplings or handmade noodles).||Drum Tower Hostel or Sleepy Inn|
|12||Beijing||We'll begin our morning bright and early with a hutong scavenger hunt, exploring our neighborhood and soaking up Beijing's unique culture. We'll make our way to the Drum & Bell Tower Square for a demonstration of how time was kept by beating drums in ancient times. We'll then hop on the subway heading towards Qianmen, the old front gate of the city wall. We'll then walk through Tiananmen Square, and reflect on the past and current significance of the events that took place there. Eventually, we'll make our way to the Forbidden City, the Chinese Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. Time allowing, we'll check out the emperor's impressive collection of elaborate mechanized clocks from all over the world at the Hall of Clocks. After a busy day, we'll spend the late afternoon in Jingshan park for sweeping views of the Forbidden City from above.||Drum Tower Hostel or Sleepy Inn|
|13||Beijing||For our final full day in China, we'll either engage in a cultural exchange activity with local students, or do further exploration of Beijing's rich culture. Options include experiencing stunning imperial ritual architecture during a visit to the Temple of Heaven, or testing our haggling skills while picking up last minute gifts/souvenirs at the famed Pan Jia Yuan Flea Market. We'll go out for our farewell dinner and have a Beijing specialty: Peking duck. We'll close out the celebration of our time together with a Karaoke party after dinner!||Drum Tower Hostel or Sleepy Inn|
|14||Beijing - USA||Check out, head to the airport and fly home! 再见中国！||Airplane|
In order to provide a safe and memorable experience for travelers, we follow strict guidelines when choosing our accommodations. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels which are centrally located, clean, safe and wifi-enabled.
Hu Family Guesthouse
Students are all lodged together in a large, rural “courtyard-style” home owned and managed by the Hu Family. Students eat meals together in a common dining room, cooked and provided by the Hu Family.
Along Family Guesthouse
Somewhere between a homestay experience and a guesthouse, students are all lodged together in one large “courtyard-style” home owned and managed by the Zhou Family. Students eat meals together in a common dining room, cooked and provided by the Zhou family.
Dragon’s Den Hostel
A rustic, authentic Chinese hostel, Dragon’s Den is our preferred partner in Longji for it’s cleanliness, English-speaking staff, and budget-friendly accommodations. A truly great place to rest up between adventures in Guangxi. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
Fawlty Towers Hotel
Fawlty Towers Hotel is a family-run establishment that puts a personal touch on the guest’s experience. Clean, spacious rooms with Chinese style beds and great service contribute to make this our preferred option in Yangshuo. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
The cosmopolitan and vibrant atmosphere make this hotel a wonderful experience for our student groups. Selected for the great service, clean rooms, and great prices, Sleepy Inn is an excellent place to relax between adventures around Beijing. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
Drum Tower Hostel
The convenient location of Drum Tower Hostel reduces commute times and eases busy travel days. However, we have chosen to partner with this particular accommodation for its safety standards, comfortable and cheerful atmosphere, and commitment to good service. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
Dujiangyan Panda Business Hotel
A clean, three star budget accommodation for groups working on Panda conservation projects at the nearby Dujiangyan Panda Base. A fun, panda-themed hotel that is a hit with our students! Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
Safety and Support
EASY FUNDRAISING & PAYMENT
24/7 GLOBAL EMERGENCY LINE
HIGHLY VETTED PARTNERS
PRIVATE GROUP GUARANTEE
COMPREHENSIVE CURRICULUM SUPPORT
DEDICATION TO CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT
Everything was outstanding. The communication, organization, and experience was phenomenal. The program positively impacted my daughters confidence, independence, and maturity.
Parent of Kelsey, traveler on Costa Rica Surf and Service Program
Your Adventure Includes
In order to give our travelers the best possible price, we break out airfare from the Program Tuition. We will still handle all booking and ticketing via our flight partner who has access to special fares not available to the general public. You will be invoiced for the flight once we are able to secure the group’s airline contract.
Program Tuition Excludes: Premiere Travel insurance, baggage fees, airline minor fees, passport/visa fees, laundry, souvenirs, and activities not listed on itinerary.
Need to Raise Money? We have you covered.
Our travelers are provided with funding opportunities that are easy to implement and fun to take part in. Our flagship fundraiser involves selling fair trade, organic, carbon-neutral coffee from a women’s collective in Peru. There is no limit to the amount you can earn, so get started now by clicking the link below!
Why should high school students travel abroad? What happens if a participant gets sick? How quickly do we need to enroll? We’re sure you have plenty of questions and we’ve got you covered! Visit our Resource Center to discover the answers to your most pressing questions and contact us anytime with additional questions.