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.
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:
- Dali- the historic center of the Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms
- Chuxiong- home of the Yi ethnic minority and their respective ancient town
- Jinghong- the center and prefectural capital of Xishuangbanna Dai minority autonomous prefecture
- Lijiang- Naxi minority city and UNESCO World Heritage site
- Xamgyi’nyilha County- an ethnic Tibetan township and county set high in Yunnan’s northwestern mountains
- Shilin- Stone Forest, a series of karst outcrops east of Kunming
- Yuanyang- a Hani minority settlement with vast rice-terraced mountains
- Xishuangbanna- a national scenic resort noted for its natural and cultural attractions
- Yunnan University- centrally located in Kunming’s charming and bustling downtown area, adjacent to Green Lake and its adjoining park
- “Old Kunming”- traditional architecture in some of the Buddhist and Daoist temples
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.
- Develop independence by challenging yourself in a new environment
- Function as an effective team member by utilizing your personal strengths in a group setting
- Explore a specific topic through experiential and interdisciplinary approaches
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:
- Affordable: our programs are cost effective.
- Academically strong: many programs have strong University of Minnesota departmental support and offer pre-approved courses for many majors.
- Culturally rich: regardless of the program you choose, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
- Expertly managed: our staff in Minnesota and abroad are trained professionals and are always available to answer your questions from extensive pre-departure advising and online orientations to reentry programming. Your safety and well-being are paramount, and we work hard to ensure you have a rewarding and safe experience abroad.