China: Mandarin Service Adventure

Please note: This program is not available for Open Enrollment for 2020. Please see below for Custom Group Travel options. 


A full spectrum of Chinese adventure awaits, as complex as the country itself.
  • Live in a historic market town on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau
  • Experience Mandarin immersion and language classes
  • Observe traditional artists of Shaxi valley
  • Volunteer on family farms, harvesting crops and learning biodynamic practices
  • Hike the Great Wall of China

On This Program you will...

Welcome to China, one of the oldest, largest and most diverse nations on Earth. China’s rich culture is most authentically preserved in its beautiful countryside, and this is your ticket to the full experience. From the moment you step into the Home Base in Shaxi (pronounced “sha-shee”), you’ll be swept into the magic of living in a village back in time. Based in the Himalayan foothills that border Tibet, Shaxi offers the opportunity to live in a locally-owned guesthouse built of intricate woodwork, and interact with the indigenous community through language exchange, cultural workshops and impactful projects. Icons of ancient Chinese culture beckon your exploration: towering Buddha statues, colorful temples and the Great Wall.

The GLA Experiential Language Curriculum™ combines language time in the classroom with immersion through community service, excursions and cultural activities.

Program Type:

Language Immersion

Your Adventure is Just Around the Corner!

Community Service

Volunteer in the Bai ethnic community, where residents are actively working to preserve their heritage and protect the rural mountain ecosystem. Valley residents are working to make their food systems more sustainable and biodynamic. Volunteer on a family farm where you’ll assist on a composting project, as well as help with the harvest. You’ll also help to restore a significant temple which was destroyed along with thousands of other cultural relics in the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Immersive Learning

Learn Mandarin or improve your skills with language classes and meaningful immersion in the community. Practice speaking with your local staff members and at the valley’s famous farmers’ market. Modernization has trickled from China’s largest cities into its rural, minority communities. Learn how this affects daily life in the mountains and the practice of 4,000-year-old traditions. Take dance lessons, learn the art of natural dye using indigo and visit Buddhist and Taoist temples.


Stand under giant Buddha sculptures at Baoxiang, an incredible temple carved into the side of a cliff. Get to know the cobblestone streets, quaint cafes and artists’ shops around Home Base, and spend a day exploring a Bai village. Visit Naigu Stone Forest, a labyrinth of ancient natural limestone formations. Finally, spend three days exploring the bustling city of Beijing. Check a few major items off your bucket list when you’re there: the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China!


Home Base in China is located in Shaxi, a historic market town in the rural Yunnan province. Accommodations are basic, but clean and safe. Students will sleep in gender-segregated rooms with roommates. All rooms have attached bathrooms with toilets and hot-water showers. During our time in Beijing and Kunming, we will stay in local hotels as a group.

Program Type

Are you passionate about creating community through shared language?
  • Take classes that improve Mandarin, no matter your skill level
  • Use your new language skills to get to know locals in your host community
  • Volunteer on a meaningful service project and practice speaking on the work site
  • Explore the world through a new and exciting lens

Dates & Tuition


Mandarin Service Adventure

Please note: This program is not available for Open Enrollment for 2020. Please see below for Custom Group Travel Options.

More Information


Tips to raise funds for your trip

Tuition Includes All In-Country Expenses Including:

  • All educational materials
  • Lodging
  • 3 meals per day
  • All in-country transportation
  • Airport pick-up/drop-off
  • Professional full-time staff and experts from the USA/Europe
  • 24/7 Parent Support Hotline during the program
  • Secondary medical and travel insurance
  • All cultural activities, lectures and weekend excursions
  • Pre-departure materials and support

Chat with Past Participants on Facebook

Custom Group Travel Option

Global Leadership Adventures offers open enrollment on this program to any high school student who wishes to join any of the summer session dates listed above. Students will meet other teens from around the country and the world who sign up for the same program dates and destination.

Alternatively, this program is also available as an option for custom group travel any time of the year for those looking to put together their own group trip.

GLA Custom Group Travel works with educators, group leaders, or self-led students to create a tailored experience for their specific group of 12 or more students. Select a pre-designed itinerary or select your own countries, themes, and learning objectives. GLA’s service-learning methodology is the vehicle through which students learn, grow and challenge themselves and their fellow travelers; our host communities welcome students’ energy and helping hands.

Leadership and personal growth are the core components of all of our programs, regardless of duration, destination or theme type and can be woven throughout every aspect of the experience through our intentional design as desired by the group leader. Our programs aim to ignite participants to become inspired to be the change.

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