Hesston College offering China trip

Great Wall of China - photo by Craig Gingerich

International relationships are a vital part of the Hesston College culture both on and off campus. During the 2012 May term, beginning May 7, the college will expand its international learning opportunities with a three week trip to China led by sociology faculty and artist-in-residence Tony Brown and Chunrong Li, a Chinese citizen living in Philadelphia.

“Global awareness is a big part of what we do at Hesston College,” said Brown. “The trip is meant to be an inter-cultural experience for people to experience and explore Chinese history and culture.”

The trip is open to Hesston College students first, but the college is extending the invitation to anyone interested, including alumni and friends of the college, community members and others. Three hours of social science credit may be earned as part of the trip as well.

Most of the time will be spent in Beijing, the country’s capital city, with a three day trip to Xian, the first capital city of China and home to the famous terracotta warriors, made to protect the first emperor of China in his afterlife in the third century B.C.

Robert Peters, husband of Chunrong Li and a trained historian, helped Brown organize the details of the trip to make it authentic and allow participants to experience China in ways inaccessible to most tourists.

“This trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Peters. “Most visitors to China see the artificial, elite, tourist side of things, but this trip is designed to give a truly indepth encounter with the real China and see what life is like for the typical Chinese person.”

The itinerary includes ancient attractions like Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, Ming Tombs and a variety of temples, museums and markets. With the connections and contacts Li has in her home country, the group will be able to experience the sites in a way most people cannot.

“Participants will do more than just walk along the Great Wall, they will get to learn what is underneath it, how it was built and how it is being restored,” said Peters. “They will learn that the best food is from a guy with a cart in a night market, not in the fancy restaurants.”

Availability for the trip is limited to 20 people, and the cost per person is based partially on the size of the group and the option of taking the trip for course credit, but is estimated to be between $3,200 and $3,800. All expenses, including airfare and other transportation, lodging, meals and admission to attractions are included in the cost. Deposits for the trip are due by March 1.

“If someone were to take this same trip through a travel agency, it would cost about twice as much and would not offer the same quality or authenticity of the trip we put together for Hesston College,” said Peters.

“The point of this trip is to allow students and others to become educated in a deeper, more spiritual way with China,” said Brown. “China has a kind of mystique that we will be able to experience as we learn its history and culture and dialogue with religious communities, artists and normal people just living their lives.”

For more information or to reserve a spot, contact Tony Brown at 620-327-8285 or tonyhb@hesston.edu.