Tours and Field Studies for Chengdu, China
USAC encourages every student to participate in these tours/field studies; however, they are optional and have an additional fee. You will sign up for the tour or register for the field study on your course and tour selection form. The fee includes bus transportation, a boat ride, guides, meals, room, and entrance fees to parks. Offerings vary from semester to semester and summer session to summer session; common destinations follow below. Check the calendar and course listings for your specific term to determine what is being offered.
Photo credit: lacitadelle
Minority Culture Field Study (summer only)
China is a country with many ethnic minority groups, many of whom live and maintain their traditions near Chengdu making it the ideal place to discover these unique cultures. Explore some of these rare and ancient cultures that still exist, while enjoying some of the most stunning scenery in China on this 10-day field study course. Starting in the area around Guiyang, you'll first encounter the Buyi/Bouyei People, one of the oldest ethnic groups in China. Zhenning Buyi Minority Village is a small village close to the city, which will enable us to see and experience in stark contrast the changes in culture and society. We'll visit the Minority Ecology Museum and be able to see their unique slate housing and arts that include distinctive wax-dying and needlework. We'll also visit the nearby Huangguoshu Waterfall, the biggest waterfall in China at 255 feet high.
Photo credit: Michael Mooney (Impressive Pipes) Wikimedia Commons
In Tianlong Tunpu, we will visit the people who are descendants of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and their unique culture; having been secluded for so many years, they have be able to stay extremely close to their ancestors' traditions. A visit here really will be a peek back 500 years. Leishan will feature a visit to Langde to get acquainted with the Miao people, an agricultural group known for very colorful festivals. Then on to Rongjiang to visit the Sanbao Dong Village, the biggest village in China for the Dong people (descendants of the Yue people) who are famous for their weaving, farming, and architecture, especially drum towers and bridges that were built without any nails. Our last stop in Yangshuo will be a chance to further enjoy the beautiful mountain peaks, rivers, and countryside of the region in a clean, pollution-free town with shops and cafes.
Xi'an Field Study
Xi'an is the capital city of Shanxi Province. It is full of historical ruins and cultural relics and it was the eastern terminus of the Silk Road. The tour includes a visit to the famous Terracotta Soldiers, tomb of Emperor Gaozng, and the Huaqing Hot Springs. You must enroll in the 1-credit field study course to participate.
The Forbidden City was the home of emperors and their families for almost half a millenium.
Photo credit: USAC China
USAC arranges the Beijing Tour for you to explore the many historical and modern sites of Beijing. This gives you a great opportunity to get know everyone in the program and get a headstart on making friends by sharing this unique and interesting experience together. We will visit the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square and more. You will also have time to explore the narrow streets of the Old Quarter Hutongs and discover the many wonderful shopping options. The immensity of Beijing, you will realize, is overwhelming; it is a mind-blowing 6,487 square miles!
Photo Credit: USAC China
Hong Kong and Macau Tour
Known for its expansive skyline and lively harbor, Hong Kong is one of the world's most iconic cities. Having more skyscrapers than any other city, it is located on the coast of Southern China, allowing it to be a gateway between the East and the West. It's surrounded by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, creating a long and irregular coastline full of beaches, bays and harbors. Being returned to China by British government in 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. This let Hong Kong become one of the three cities under the "One country, two systems" idea and maintain its capitalist system, independent judiciary and rule of law, free trade, and freedom of speech. The city has become one of the most important financial and trading centers and is now the fourth largest financial center in the world. It's known as a vertical city because of its amount of skyscrapers, modern architecture and economic stature but despite the urbanization, most of the area is classified as country parks and nature reserves, so there is still natural beauty found within the city limits.
Across the Pearl River is Macau, a small city with the population of 550,000. It was once a territory of Portugal and, like Hong Kong, is now a Special Administrative Region. Though it is so close to Hong Kong, it offers its own unique charm and culture. Recently Macau has become Asia's most popular gambling destination, taking in even more revenue than Las Vegas. Though, it's famous for its flashy and lavish casinos, Macau also claims a multitude of other attractions including churches, temples, fortresses and other buildings containing a mix of Portuguese and Chinese characteristics. A large area of the Macau peninsula has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site with 25 buildings and sites within the area have been deemed to have cultural and historic significance.
If you choose to participate in this optional tour, you will fly into Hong Kong. The Resident Director will make flight reservations for the tour group to fly together to Chengdu at the conclusion of the tour.