Whilst it has the longest written history in the world, and one of the strongest emerging modern economies, China is still an enigma; even after the incredible success of the Beijing Olympics back in 2008, people are still baffled by this nation.
Of all of the Asian countries, China is the least understood. This program takes you beyond the films and Western perception, and it places you right in the heart of this incredible country. Visit and immerse yourself in the traditional lives and cultures that make the real population of this country, and strip back the confusion and mystery that surrounds them.
This project is designed to introduce travellers to the real country. It takes you beyond the guesswork, to a real understanding. You will visit local houses, and you will learn about the effects of land reform.
You will visit a Confucius Temple not jut to look, but to understand its meaning and reason, and to get to grips with the man that started this religion. This program has been designed to answer your questions, and it has been created specifically to unveil some of the mysteries that you will want to be addressed.
There is just one rule with the program. If you have a question – you have to ask it!
You will go to the Confucius temple, not just to look, but to understand what it meant and how it felt to be the No 1 scholar in the Emperor’s examinations and you will experience the route through the temple that only you could travel. It is a programme developed and delivered by Chinese people after careful research into what westerners really want to know. You will be with both Chinese and Westerners; discussing cultural differences not in an academic sense but in reality. There is only one rule: if you want to know anything – ask.
During your time in China, you will make dumplings, taste oil tea and begin to learn the language. This trip is the ideal starting point for anyone travelling the country, and is an amazing way to ease yourself into a culture that is quite unlike anything you will be used to.
English-speaking Chinese trained coordinators will manage all activities and sessions for the duration of this week. The schedule is flexible and it can be subject to change depending on weather, seasons and local events and activity. It is also possible to chance the schedule based on your own personal interests.
A typical schedule is as follows:
Start with breakfast before taking a traditional Chinese language lesson, followed by a tour of Fengyan Village and the old house. In the afternoon you will be taught a little about Chinese philosophies on life, as well as the taboos.
That evening, you will visit a local family who will teach you how to make oil tea – this will be followed a welcome party where you can visit your fellow travellers.
After breakfast you will take another Chinese language lesson, followed by a trip to Lianhua Town, where you will be free to explore and shop.
After lunch there will be a Chinese culture session that focuses on Chinese festivals. Next there is an afternoon visit to Hongyan Village, where you will spend some time trekking and bamboo rafting.
In the evening you will be taught how to play a few traditional Chinese games, like Mah-Jong and Chinese Chess.
Wednesday starts with breakfast and then another Chinese language lesson; this is then followed by a Chinese Calligraphy or Chinese Painting class. After lunch there will be a Chinese culture session in which you will learn a little history.
In the afternoon you will visit the Confucius and Guangong Temples, before walking along the Cha River. In the evening you will enjoy a BBQ with the other volunteers.
Start with another Chinese lesson before heading off to a local market where you can try your hand at bartering and bargaining. Buy some ingredients and then head back to the accommodation where you will have a chance of cooking Chinese cuisine for yourself.
Start with your final Chinese language lesson before spending some time trying out Chinese Paper Crafting. In the afternoon you are free to relax, explore and prepare for the weekend.
Saturday and Sunday
Saturday and Sunday are free to be spent as you please. Travel the local area or stay at the centre. After this weekend you will be ready to either head home or else continue your travels in the country.