Environmental & Cultural Diversity in China

Environmental & Cultural Diversity in China — About

About Environmental & Cultural Diversity in China

This Global Seminar takes place in the Tibetan Plateau and Kunming in the Yunnan Province, which is a region known for its natural beauty and as the home of 26 ethnic minority groups in China. The majority of the program will be spent in Kunming, referred to as the “City of Eternal Spring”, visiting remote ethnic communities and spectacular natural areas.

The Yunnan Province is one of the most diverse regions in the world, in terms of both biodiversity and human cultural diversity. It lies at low latitude and high elevation on China’s southwestern border providing students a unique chance to experience a Mediterranean climate and clean air as well as a mix of snow-capped Himalayan mountains, alpine meadows, river-gorges, and sweeping grasslands.

Course Description

In this seminar, students will discover rare species in the Yunnan Province, such as golden snub-nosed monkeys, black-necked cranes, snow leopards, and Tibetan bears. Since half of China’s population depend on the freshwater river basins that flow through the province, students will explore local ecosystem services. Ecotourism will also be discussed in the program after visiting Shilin (Stone Forest), where the karst outcroppings are a unique geological formation and a major tourist site.

Students will visit several remote communities and cultural sites in and around Kunming to provide context for readings about the interactions between different ethnic groups in Yunnan. The interactions of the dominant Han Chinese culture and the various ethnic minorities in Yunnan Province will be explored as well as the role of domestic and foreign tourism in the preservation of minority communities.  

Housing & Meals


Excursions will illuminate the program coursework. Excursions may include visits to:

Group Flight

All program participants will be taking the coordinated group flight to and from the program site. The cost of the group flight is included in the program fee that will be posted to your student account. Do not book your own flight, you will recieve information from the Learning Abroad Center regarding your seat on the group flight once your participation has been confirmed.


Learning Outcomes

Faculty & Staff

This Global Seminar will be led by Beth Mercer-Taylor the Sustainability Coordinator in CFANS.

About the Learning Abroad Center

Learning Abroad Center programs are:

All Global Seminars Information Sessions

Thursday, November 16
3 – 4 p.m.
204 Appleby Hall

Thursday, December 14
3 – 4 p.m.
123 Bruininks Hall