Educational Field Excursions

Every semester, we take students on organized group educational excursions to different parts of China to learn about the country in all its geographical, cultural, and ethnic diversity. These field trips showcase the deep history of a country whose written records stretch back over 3,000 years. We take students to places of  historical importance where they can learn more about China’s dynamic past, both through site visits and guided tours that we arrange for our students. Some of our trips can be strenuous, involving long distance travel by train or bus to the sites, as well as extensive walking, but they are always rewarding. Here we highlight some of our recent field trips.

Please note that all excursions are subject to availability and circumstances and that Boston University reserves the right to cancel planned excursions or substitute others for those listed here.

Examples of our past excursions:

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Students standing at a tea field in Huangcun

Huangcun (Huang Village), Anhui Province

This is a rural immersion field trip for our students. Our students stay in a refurbished rustic mansion that once belonged to a wealthy salt merchant during the Qing dynasty.  Students will have the opportunity to get their hands dirty by taking on some farm duties like hoeing the land and picking locally grown vegetables for their next meal.  Paying a visit to the local elementary school and interacting with young students are often highlights of this trip.  Following a few days in the village, we also usually explore another site or two in the culturally rich environment of Anhui.  If there’s time in the semester schedule, we sometimes visit to the famous Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) (see below).

Sunset on the Great Wall

Sunset on the Great Wall

Beijing

Beijing has so much history that many first-time visitors to China don’t want to miss out on visiting this great city.  The capital of China since the Ming dynasty, it’s one of the finest places to see historical remains of the Ming and Qing dynasties.  Once in Beijing we usually stay in a hotel in the center of the city, where students are conveniently located close to famous historic areas such as the Drum Tower and Houhai (Rear Lake).  Guided tours include a day trip to the Great Wall, where students can spend several hours hiking on the historic Ming-era Great Wall  and enjoy the mountain views.  We often take students to the Forbidden City, home to Chinese royalty, as well as other locations like the Temple of Heaven, Tian’anmen Square, museums, and a hutong traditional housing district.

Students at Xihai section of Yellow Mountain.

Students at Xihai section of Yellow Mountain.

Huangshan (the Yellow Mountains)

Located in Anhui province, a six-hour bus ride from Shanghai, Huangshan is one of most famous mountain ranges in China. We have led several field trips to Huangshan, most recently in the fall of 2014.  This mountain range caters to tourists and features concrete stairways connecting the various peaks and views, as well as lodging atop the mountain.  The mountain is accessible by a safe Swiss-engineered cable car.  We book a hotel on the mountain top where students can stay in comfort and safety while having the chance to enjoy the stunning views by day.  Whether in sun, rain, or snow, with its knotty pines and staggering cliffs, Huangshan is an incredible place to experience the geographical splendor of China while enjoying views that have been celebrated for centuries by famous Chinese painters and poets.

Naxi women selling vegetables at Baisha village in Lijiang, Yunnan.

Naxi women selling vegetables at Baisha village in Lijiang, Yunnan.

Lijiang, Yunnan

Sichuan opera performer

Sichuan opera performer

Chengdu, Sichuan

Chengdu is prized for many things: teahouses, a slower pace of life, spicy-style hot pot, bianlian opera, and a famed panda research center. Chengdu’s rich history goes back 4,000 years, with archeological sites like Sanxingdui and Jinsha where the discoveries changed our understanding of the rise of Chinese civilization.  The city is now the most important economic center in Western China.  On recent trips, students have visited the Panda Research Center to learn about the protection program and breeding efforts; spent a day at Leshan where Buddhism first touched down in China, and of course experienced the delicious food and tea culture of Sichuan.