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China: Mandarin Service Adventure

China: Mandarin Service Adventure

A full spectrum of Chinese adventure awaits, as complex as the country itself.


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  • 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

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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.

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Community Service

You’ll volunteer in the Bai minority community, where residents are actively working to preserve their heritage and cultural traditions. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, thousands of important temples, buildings and cultural relics were destroyed or damaged, including many sites in the village where you’ll be living. Participate in a physical service project that restores these sites and helps the ancient town’s global image. You’ll also volunteer on family farms, helping with harvesting and learning how residents of Shaxi’s beautiful valley are working to make their food systems more sustainable and biodynamic.

Hands-On Learning

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. Gain a personal understanding of why ancient ways of life deserve our protection. Take dance lessons, learn the art of natural dye using indigo and visit Buddhist and Taoist temples each more unique than the last. Learn or improve your Mandarin with language classes and immersion in the community. Practice speaking with your local staff members and at the valley’s famous farmers’ market.

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In China, you’ll stand under giant Buddha sculptures at Baoxiang Temple, 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, an unbelievable labyrinth of 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.

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Dates & Tuition

China: Mandarin Service Adventure 21-Day Program Flagship
2019 Dates
Jul 5 - Jul 25, 2019
Duration: 21 days
Tuition: $5,499
Student/Staff Ratio: 6 to 1
Community Service Hours: 30
Language Hours: 20
See What's Included
Tuition includes all in-country expenses including:
  • One-way Domestic Airfare between Kunming and Beijing
  • 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
More Information

Interested in Family-Friendly trips? Check out Discover Corps, our volunteer vacations for families and friends.

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The GLA China program was fantastic. The language classes were fun and effective, allowing me to communicate with others who speak Mandarin. The staff is very knowledgeable and open to teach and explain.

China: One Nation, Two Worlds™
Hometown: Washington, DC

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