Upon arrival in China, participants receive orientation sessions from BUNAC’s Chinese partners. Participants are given detailed information on Chinese culture, customs, dress, food, history, calligraphy, art, geography and travel, as well as essential details on the project itself. Participants also have a few Mandarin lessons to help them get to grips with the local lingo!
While participants often find the information sessions extremely useful, to avoid information overload, they are also taken on some great daily excursions.
Participants are taken on two fantastic day trips during the training:
Great Wall of China
Participants visit the ancient Ming Dynasty Tombs on the outskirts of Beijing to see a collection of temples in traditional Chinese style before heading to see the world-famous Great Wall of China. As both a fantastic achievement of engineering and an icon of China, the wall is a highlight for many visitors to Beijing. From here, participants are taken back into Beijing and visit a traditional silk market, where they are free to stock up on anything from clothes or electronics to antiques or souvenirs. At the end of the day, participants head out to see a traditional Chinese acrobatics show and marvel at the incredible feats achieved by the acrobats!
The day begins with a scenic stroll around the old imperial gardens of the Summer Palace in the North West of Beijing. Participants are then whisked away to HouHai Lake for a rickshaw ride around China’s hutong alleyways before being taken to Tiananmen Square for a tour of one of the most famous squares in the world and to take in the splendour of the Forbidden City, Chairman Mao Mausoleum and Hall of the People. The day ends with a visit to a Chinese market.
(Optional Trip during the programme at own expense)
Participants head to the vast and lush grasslands of the Mongolian prairie, where sheep, herdsman and numerous yurt homesteads dot the horizon. Exploring the region on horse back, they truly have the ride of their lives! That evening, participants are treated to a mouth-watering lamb dinner while enjoying traditional Mongolian music and dancing.
On the second day, the excursion takes participants into the heart of the desert, where they witness the wonderful diversity of Inner Mongolia with their own eyes. Here, they can ride a camel, take a ride on the desert train and race down a 100 foot sand slide.
Heading back into the provincial capital of Hohhot, participants stop of at a local wares factory, where they are free to taste and buy local delicacies such as cured beef and lamb, various cheese items and even the local booze, a milk-based spirit that packs quite a punch!
The day begins with a tour of Hohhot. There are two working monasteries in the city, both of which practice the Tibetan form of Buddhism, and participants visit these temples before making a visit to the provincial museum to learn a bit of history on the province, both pre and post modern China. Mongolia is perhaps not the most typical tourist destination, so this popular trip gives participants the rare opportunity to experience a part of the world that most will never have the chance visit.