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Photo by Kate Gross-Whitaker

On-Site Orientation and First Six Week Itinerary!

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.” – Pico Iyer, Why We Travel

*Please note that all dates, locations, and activities are subject to change to accommodate student and instructor needs as well as to take advantage of unexpected leaning opportunities.

Thursday, August 29 (JFK – Lost Garden, Kunming): Arrival at Kunming International Airport at 7:15pm

  • Welcome to Kunming! Transit to Lost Garden Guesthouse
  • Welcome Dinner
  • Kunming and Staff Introduction
  • Program Overview

Friday, August 30 (Lost Garden, Kunming): China Survival – In Country Orientation Begins

  • Visit Cuihu (Green Lake) and Yuantong Temple
  • Health and Safety 101, Cultural Dos and Don’ts
  • Apply for Resident Permit (required for all participants on a student visa)
  • Get Ready for One Month of Yunnan Exploration!
    • drop suitcases off at the Dragon’s Program House and pack backpacks for one month of travel

Saturday, August 31 (Kunming – Baoxiang Temple, Jianchuan): The Journey Begins!

  • Daytime Bus to Jianchuan; Transfer to Vans to Baoxiang Temple
  • Transportation Basics and First Group Challenge

Sunday, September 1 (Baoxiang Temple): Temple Stay – Orientation Continues

  • Exploring the Serene Buddhist Temple Landscape
  • Health and Safety 102
  • Survival Language Classes and Language Expectations
  • Goal Setting

Monday, September 2 (Baoxiang Temple): Temple Stay – Orientation Continues

  • Group Culture – how will we create an atmosphere to learn and grow together?
  • What is a Dragon’s Trip? Core Values and Program Components

Tuesday, September 3 (Baoxiang Temple – Shaxi Valley): Day Trek

  • Four-hour Trek to Shaxi via the Shibaoshan Ancient Grottoes
  • Investigating the Ancient Tea Horse Road
  • Stay at Shaxi Cultural Center

September 4-7 (Shaxi Cultural Center): Orientation and Exploration Continues

  • Last Days of Orientation – We will continue to orient you to China and Yunnan, each other, Dragons, and your personal journey. Meanwhile, the Shaxi Cultural Center will become your comfy place for…
  • Experiential Language Lessons, Scavenger Hunts, and Other Fun and Practical Activities

September 8-12 (On the road…): Exploring Northern Yunnan – Rugged Travel/Trek

  • Travel to Liming in Laojunshan National Park
  • Three or Four Day Trek to Geladan Grasslands
  • Living with Lisu and Yi Ethnicity Families

September 13-October 1 (Bangdong Village, Lincang): Rural Homestay

  • Day of Bus Travel to Lincang
  • Bangdong Village Homestays and Service Work
  • Immerse Ourselves in Local Tea Culture
  • Learning Service—we will be interacting with the motivations, pitfalls, and rewards of service work
  • Kunming NGO Placements are Selected

October 2-10 (Kunming): Introduction to Kunming, Your New Home Away From Home

  • Return to Kunming and Get Oriented to the Big City
  • Bike safety and group bike to Golden Temple
  • Rest up after the travel and begin to get set up with your schedule in Kunming (NGOs, Independent Enrichment Activities (IEAs), Language classes at the University, Homestays)

October 7 (Kunming): Urban Homestays

  • Kunming Homestays begin!

October 8-15 (Kunming): Language and NGO Placements

  • Language classes at the Kunming University of Science and Technology begin (October 8)!
  • NGO placements begin (October 15)!
  • Choose an IEA
  • Get the pieces in place for an amazing time in Kunming!