Norfolk Academy’s China Program begins in early February when we host students from our sister school, Beijing 101. They travel to Norfolk Academy and stay with our families, attend classes and tour our local historical and cultural sites. Students enrolled in the China program are encouraged to host a Chinese student to help begin thier cultural understanding and exposure to China while, at the same time, building a strong friendship. This bond will be strengthened when we travel to China and stay with our exchange students at Beijing 101. While at Beijing 101 we attend classes, eat meals and become immersed in the Chinese student culture. We also visit one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world and visit the local historical sites.
We have partnered with Where There Be Dragons, a fantastic company that has been running in-depth cultural immersion and education programs in China for the last several
decades. Through this partnership, we are able to offer an incredible program that will explore themes of rural and urban China, with a focus on economic development and resource management. On the second half of the trip to China we travel to Kunming and truly get off the beaten path. Our program becomes a bit more rugged as we trek through the Tiger Leaping Gorge, live in a rural farming village on the foothills of the Tibetan plateau and immerse ourselves into the rural culture.
This truly is an opportunity of a life time. The China Program believes in exposing the Norfolk Academy student to the life of a traveler vice that of a tourist.
Traveler vs. Tourist
“The traveler sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he came to see.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
It is important to be a traveler and not a tourist. Tourists are people who try to take their accustomed style of life with them wherever they go. They safely travel behind the tinted windows of air-conditioned buses and collectively maintain their “otherness.”
Travelers, however, adjust to the strangeness and newness of life in a different country. Travelers make the effort to understand and learn about the lifestyle of the country in which they are traveling.
Moving through a country as a tourist may bring some sense of comfort and security, but we believe that buffering yourself from the strangeness of another culture limits the transformative power an encounter with this culture may have on you. As a participant on this program, we’ll ask you to step outside of your comfort zone. As a result, you will traverse the divides that separate your own understandings of the world from the understandings of the new culture into which you venture.