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China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008


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Following is a sample itinerary forDragons' 4-week “China: Language Intensive” summer program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course's Yak board for additional itinerary-related postings and updates.


Weeks One-Two:
Orientation in L.A. Fly to Beijing; intensive Mandarin instruction interspersed with visits to popular sites such as the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, and Olympic Village. Hike and camp along a remote section of the Great Wall. Travel to Nanyao Village in the Lashihai region of northwest Yunnan for rural-based Mandarin study. Begin village home-stays and continue with intensive language instruction, with 4 to 5 hours of daily classes and additional opportunities for one-on-one tutoring sessions; experience the joys and hardships of rural life while working in the fields alongside local farmers, learning to make tofu from scratch or attending a local celebration or festival; teach English at a local primary school; meet with representatives from local NGOs, such as The Nature Conservancy, to learn about social and environmental issues and initiatives; work on a village-based community service project; teach English to local schoolchildren; enjoy weekend outings with home-stay families and siblings that may include biking to a local Buddhist temple or picnicking on a mountaintop overlooking the Yangzi River; lose yourself amidst the cobblestone alleys and traditional architecture of the nearby Lijiang Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and explore the effects of mass tourism on the local people, culture and environment. Decide on Independent Study Project topics and begin work. Possible ISP topics may include (but are not limited to): martial arts, Chinese cooking, Traditional Chinese Medicine, gender roles/issues, teaching English, projects focusing on a specific environmental or development issues, photojournalism projects or projects focusing on traditional arts, music or dance.

Weeks Three-Four:
Overnight bus to Kunming, the pleasant and laid-back capital of Yunnan Province; begin intensive Mandarin classes, with 4 to 5 hours per day devoted to language study. Settle into home-stays with Chinese families. Explore the similarities and differences between rural and urban Chinese life and consider the social and economic implications of China’s growing rural/urban divide. Work with local mentors on Independent Study Projects. Attend classes with course instructors and guest lecturers at the Dragons Program House on a variety of topics, including: martial arts, painting, calligraphy, Chinese cooking, Traditional Chinese Medicine, history, politics, and economics. Option for intensive, one-on-one language sessions with course instructors and local mentors, as well as language exchanges with local students. Weekend outings and activities with home-stay families that may include watching locals practice Tai Ji Quan (Tai Chi) and sword-dancing in Green Lake Park, shopping for souvenirs at the Bird and Flower Market, visiting Buddhist and Daoist temples or being the guest of honor at your home-stay sibling’s English class. Final banquet and end-of-program celebration.

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China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

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China Language 4-week: Sample Itinerary

Dragons Administration,China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

Description

Following is a sample itinerary forDragons’ 4-week “China: Language Intensive” summer program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course’s Yak board for additional itinerary-related […]

Posted On

10/15/08

Author

Dragons Administration

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Last Night we gave our Kun Ming homestay families a goodbye dinner and KTV adventure. After eating a delicious meal, a couple students got up and made speeches (in chinese) thanking the families for all they had done. Personally my speech was, "Thank you all for taking such great care of us, your houses are beautiful, the food you guys cooked was delicious, and we all had such a great time". After,

we all went to KTV, which is this social gathering that is very popular in China where you rent a room and sing Karoake. The songs ranged from very famous chinese singer Jay Chou to the Black Eyed Peas ever brilliant masterpiece "My Humps". It was a great fusion of american and chinese culture and quite a sight to see. The best songs were the ones that the homestay families and students both knew and sang together.

Overall it was a great way to have one last fun experience with our families and thank them for their generous hospitality. It was sad to say goodbye, but they will definitely have great memories of the skillful sounds of China Language Four. (Our dance moves weren't too bad either! :-D)

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China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

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Homestay Family Kun Ming Goodbye

Jade Mandel,China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

Description

Last Night we gave our Kun Ming homestay families a goodbye dinner and KTV adventure. After eating a delicious meal, a couple students got up and made speeches (in chinese) thanking the families for all they had done. Personally my speech was, "Thank you all for taking such great care of us, your houses are […]

Posted On

07/27/08

Author

Jade Mandel

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Dear China Language 4wk Parents and Friends,

All students are safe and accounted for.


Yesterday morning at around 7AM, two public buses were bombed in Kunming, the capital of China's Yunnan Province. At least two people died in the blasts. The authorities are investigating but do not yet know who is responsible. Kunming is the city where the Dragons Program House is located and it is also the city where I am based. The China Language 4wk students are currently in Kunming and plan to be here until their program finishes on July 28. All students and instructors are fine. None were in the vicinity of the bombings at the time. This is a serious incident and Dragons Administration is taking steps to ensure that all of our students and instructors in China remain safe. I have called all of the China instructor teams, including the China Lang 4wk instructor team, to inform them of this incident. I have asked all Dragons China instructors to brief their students on the facts surrounding this incident and I have asked all students and instructors to avoid public transportation and crowded public places--such as movie theaters, sports arenas and shopping malls--in Kunming until further notice. We will continue to monitor the Chinese and international media for information about this incident and if we determine that it is unsafe for our students to be in Kunming, we will reroute our programs accordingly. Please feel free to email me at katie@wheretherebedragons.com if you have any questions or concerns about this tragic event and please below for the text from a BBC article about this incident:

Be Well,
Katie

Two dead in Chinese bus blasts

Two explosions on buses in the south-western Chinese city of Kunming have left at least two people dead and 14 injured, according to reports. The blasts happened within about an hour during the morning rush hour in Yunnan's state capital. TV pictures showed a gaping hole in the side of one of the buses and glass scattered in the street. Police said the blasts seemed to have been deliberate, and set up checkpoints in the area to try to find suspects. The first explosion took place at about 0705 at the bus stop in Panjiawan, said the official Xinhua news agency.

The next blast happened close by, about an hour later.

In a statement posted on the Yunnan Public Security Bureau (PSB) website, and in a comment to a reporter, police said the blasts were believed to have been due to "sabotage". Following the blasts, police cordoned off some streets in the area and checked the ID of "suspicious" persons, the PSB said.

The blasts come just over two weeks before the Olympic Games begin in Beijing.

The government has tightened security around the country ahead of the Games, and recently warned of a significant terrorist threat. But officials also face regular protests from people angered by poverty, demolitions or corruption.

In the latest incident of unrest in Yunnan, on Saturday, rubber farmers clashed with police in Menglian county, in the south-west of the province close to the border with Burma (Myanmar). Police shot dead two farmers in the clash, which also reportedly left dozens of police officers injured.

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China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

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Current Kunming Situation

Katie Hagel,China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

Description

Dear China Language 4wk Parents and Friends, All students are safe and accounted for. Yesterday morning at around 7AM, two public buses were bombed in Kunming, the capital of China’s Yunnan Province. At least two people died in the blasts. The authorities are investigating but do not yet know who is responsible. Kunming is the […]

Posted On

07/22/08

Author

Katie Hagel

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Two days ago, we arrived in Kunming at 5:30am. A bunch of tired, hungry students made their way to the program house for a small nap before breakfast. After we ate, we had a slightly shortened Chinese class and lunch, followed by an afternoon discussion. Following the discussion, many of us found a few minutes to shower before our new homestay parents picked us up for dinner. Kunming is almost completely opposite from the rural homestay in Lashihai. The apartments have more of a western layout with the bathrooms inside rather than outside.This weekend, we are spending time with our homestay families and preparing for intensive language lessons on Monday.

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China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

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Homestay in Kunming

Diana Faust,China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

Description

Two days ago, we arrived in Kunming at 5:30am. A bunch of tired, hungry students made their way to the program house for a small nap before breakfast. After we ate, we had a slightly shortened Chinese class and lunch, followed by an afternoon discussion. Following the discussion, many of us found a few minutes […]

Posted On

07/19/08

Author

Diana Faust

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    [post_content] => I call her A Yi, meaning auntie, but I don't even know her real name.  I live in her home, she cooks me all my meals, we have legnthy conversations about my day and yet, I couldn't even guess as to what letter her name starts with.  Sometimes she asks me about my life in America: what my parents do, what foods we eat etc.  Other times its simple questions: am I hungry, am I tired?  I sometimes sit with her for 30 minutes or more with my dictionary trying to figure out the many words I still don't know.  Her children have all left home to go to seperate universities across the country, so for now, I am her only child.  I am continually flattered by the kindness she shows toward me and the genuine concern  she has for my well being.  Living in this Naxi village we have each been welcomed into the home of a stranger and have found a new way of living completely different from our lives at home.  I may not know her name but I have enjoyed all the time I have spent with her.
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China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

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A new way of Living

Aaron Nicholson,China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

Description

I call her A Yi, meaning auntie, but I don’t even know her real name. I live in her home, she cooks me all my meals, we have legnthy conversations about my day and yet, I couldn’t even guess as to what letter her name starts with. Sometimes she asks me about my life in […]

Posted On

07/13/08

Author

Aaron Nicholson

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hello,

our home stay family has been so kind to us, and today we took a time off to explore lijiang. we went to the dongba cultural museum and now we are spending some time in wangba (internet cafe)

we have been building concrete slide at the school we use for the chinese lesson and it has been going very well.

will be updated more =]

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China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

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july 13th

jae moon,China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

Description

hello, our home stay family has been so kind to us, and today we took a time off to explore lijiang. we went to the dongba cultural museum and now we are spending some time in wangba (internet cafe) we have been building concrete slide at the school we use for the chinese lesson and […]

Posted On

07/13/08

Author

jae moon

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Until I experienced living with a Naxi family, I never realized how easy my life in a boring American suburb is. Though the house I stay in has running water and television, I can't drink the water and I can't understand at least half of what the news reporter tells me. Even so, my homestay parents are such nice people and they truly care about me and my well being. I have learned a huge amount of Chinese in the past two weeks, and my vocabulary will continue to grow rapidly. The other students and the instructors worked tirelessly for three full afternoons to complete a slide and two wall murals at the kindergarden building. Taking a larger look at the picture, I realize how happy I am to give back to a community that has done so much for me.

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China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

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A Village Homestay

Diana Faust,China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

Description

Until I experienced living with a Naxi family, I never realized how easy my life in a boring American suburb is. Though the house I stay in has running water and television, I can’t drink the water and I can’t understand at least half of what the news reporter tells me. Even so, my homestay […]

Posted On

07/13/08

Author

Diana Faust

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China language intensive is currently in the small village of Nanyao, a hamlet of the larger community of Lashihai. The area surrounds a lake and is flanked on all sides by luscious, but imposing mountains. Lashihai is populated almost exclusively by the Naxi minority group. The sight of blonde hair and blue eyes raises curiosity but in no way does it bring about animosity.

Nanyao is a microcosm of 21st century China. That is, each house is fit with a TV, each pocket holds a state-of-the-art cell phone, and each person utilizes these two machines to their fullest potential. Yet, alongside these bastions of modernity are slit toilets, water buffalo, hours long games of mahjong, and traditionally dressed "na-na's."

The Naxi in Nanyao are content with their converging lifestyles. Our group has observed this most prevalently in the school that we have class in each day. It is a kindegarten straight in the center of the village and each time the bell rings a flood of toddlers come running out of the school. It is evident that these children have next to nothing as each day they appear in the same clothes as the days prior. All they have to amuse themselves is a flat soccer ball and a dusty courtyard. They run around giving us high fives, posing curiously for the camera, and smiling all the while. After school they go back home to farm and hand wash their clothes. Even though their lives are hard and will be harder, I have never seen a more happy group of people in my life.

This theme extends to the older generation of Nanyao as well. The "na na's" and ye-ye's" play their simple card games for hours at a time each day without ever tiring. If simplicity is the key to happiness, the people of Lashihai have found their niche. They have allowed the outside world to infiltrate without taking over. It truly is one of the most uniquely spectacular parts of the world.

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China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

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Life in Lashihai

Taylor Loeb,China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

Description

China language intensive is currently in the small village of Nanyao, a hamlet of the larger community of Lashihai. The area surrounds a lake and is flanked on all sides by luscious, but imposing mountains. Lashihai is populated almost exclusively by the Naxi minority group. The sight of blonde hair and blue eyes raises curiosity […]

Posted On

07/12/08

Author

Taylor Loeb

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Today we are taking a slight break from our home-stay family and exploring life in Lijiang. As of now, the group has just visited the Dongba Cultural Museum where we got to examine ancient artifacts and Naxi script invented even before the Birth of Christ. After I finish this Yak, the group will go into the village and have the option to shop and experience food outside of our homestay. There is one more activity planned at the end of the day but the instructors have sworn to secrecy. I will soon post another yak with more information about the group's experience when time is not a factor. Goodbye for now...

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China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

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Lijiang

Nick Risner,China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

Description

Today we are taking a slight break from our home-stay family and exploring life in Lijiang. As of now, the group has just visited the Dongba Cultural Museum where we got to examine ancient artifacts and Naxi script invented even before the Birth of Christ. After I finish this Yak, the group will go into […]

Posted On

07/12/08

Author

Nick Risner

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    [post_content] => 

Languages have never been my greatest strength, which has become brutally obvious since I've been here. I have a wonderful home stay family, a "mum" "dad" and grandparents, "sisters" who have both dissapeared off to boarding school, and my favourite member, our one-eyed dog. To make communication even harder, I'm still not sure if they speak Chinese at all, or perhaps the local Naxi language. The eerie silence at the dinner table, broken only by the words "Chifan! Chifan!" (eat, eat...I think), really makes me aware of the other, more subtle ways to communicate. We have almost perfected our own sign language, which was tested to the limit as I tried to explain cycling round the lake, visiting a buddhist temple, and a delicious dinner in Lijiang, all in mime before bed.

Friendly gestures seem to go a long way too. Clearing the table together, chopping up vegetables, chasing ping-pong ball size spiders, gifts of fresh local meat, stroking the dog who I call Lawrence, while the family point and laugh at me... They have all created unforgetable memories, with a group of incredibly kind people, who's big hearts speak for themselves.

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China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

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Communication

Zena Hassanien,China Language Intensive 4-week, Summer 2008

Description

Languages have never been my greatest strength, which has become brutally obvious since I’ve been here. I have a wonderful home stay family, a "mum" "dad" and grandparents, "sisters" who have both dissapeared off to boarding school, and my favourite member, our one-eyed dog. To make communication even harder, I’m still not sure if they […]

Posted On

07/12/08

Author

Zena Hassanien

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