Summer program offers adventure in China, Tibet

Northern Arizona University students, faculty and staff can immerse themselves in another culture by participating in the 2009 Summer Chinese Studies program “China and Tibet Adventure.”

An archaeological site of ancient buddhist and daoist carvings outside of Chongqing in Dazu.

Participants will explore Chinese culture with various Chinese cities serving as their classroom. Thomas DeStefano, professor of educational psychology and the program’s leader, said this summer’s academic theme will focus on the cultures, ancient philosophies and history of China with a sub-emphasis on the Chinese education system.

“The major focus of this experience is to provide participants with an opportunity for cultural exchange and cross cultural understanding between American students and the Chinese people,” DeStefano said.

The trip is May 29 through June 19 and participants can earn one credit from NAU and one credit from Southwest Jiatong University in Chengdu. The cost is $3,985, which covers airfare, tuition, room and board, visa fees, all tours and a train ride to Tibet.

The three-week itinerary includes a week in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, nearly a week in the historic city of Lhasa, Tibet, and a final week in Beijing, visiting the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and many other historical destinations. Day trips to see important Buddhist sites, a panda reserve, the Beijing opera and the Chinese Acrobats add to the adventure.

Rich Williams, an NAU graduate in May 2008 and participant in the summer 2008 program, says, “My trip to China has been a life-changing experience. The ways it has changed me cannot be written down on a page as proof that I have absorbed information. But it can be seen in the way I view the world around me.”

There is an informational session 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, at the Center for International Education classroom in Tinsley Hall. There are 16 spaces open and registration is on a first come, first served basis ending March 2.

For information, contact DeStefano at or (928) 523-6302, or contact the Center for International Education at (928) 523-2409 or