Global Prep — 2019
Application deadline: December 5, 2018
From the moment you arrive in China, you’ll get a sense of the crowds, culture, and cuisine that make it one of the most exciting countries in the world. During this two-week program, you’ll develop the skills to become an engaged global citizen by exploring Chinese culture and taking a look at local sustainability and environmental preservation efforts. You’ll also learn first-hand about the Chinese way of life by staying with a host family and taking Mandarin language lessons. After spending two weeks fully immersed in Chinese culture, prepare to be amazed at how much you’ve learned!
Your journey will begin in Los Angeles, where you’ll meet up with your group and travel together with your Group Leader to Shanghai, China’s largest city. Once you arrive, you’ll be welcomed by AFS Staff or Volunteers, and then head to a welcome orientation where you can familiarize yourself with Chinese customs. Soon you’ll travel to Changzhou, about two hours’ drive from Shanghai, which will become your home for the next two weeks. As you get to know the other members of your group, you can explore this picturesque town full of ancient ruins and modern luxuries.
This program encourages students to cultivate a global view of social responsibility and sustainable development. You and your group will discuss Green Science during lectures, workshops, and debates with Chinese students and volunteers. You’ll explore the topics of alternative energy and resource management through excursions to places like solar energy factories and recycling plants.
You’ll also take language lessons focusing on “Survival Chinese,” or the key phrases you’ll need to get by as an informed traveler. By the time you’re ready to head home, you’ll have gained a nuanced perspective on different aspects of Chinese culture and how they impact the modern world.
Upon your arrival in China, you’ll learn some essential Mandarin phrases to help you communicate with all the people you’ll meet. Before long, you’ll settle into life with your host family, where you’ll get the chance to join in everyday activities. Maybe you’ll enjoy a home-cooked dish like stir-fried eggs and tomatoes, a popular Chinese “comfort food.” Or you and your host family could take a walk around the community, giving you the chance to practice your Mandarin with friends and neighbors.
After your workshops and language classes, you’ll jump right into some fun, cultural activities joined by local Chinese students. You’ll get to explore traditional and modern Chinese culture with lessons on topics like dumpling-making and calligraphy. You and your group will go sightseeing around the Changzhou community, and maybe take in a traditional Chinese opera. You’ll also have the chance to visit the nearby town of Suzhou, where you can tour the stone bridges, canals, classical gardens, and pagodas of “The Venice of the East.” As you try authentic food at local restaurants, you’ll get to experience the Chinese custom of ordering large plates for everyone to share.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.