China Sustainability Initiative
May 2011 China Seminar General Orientation Packet nr.ncr.vt.edu/chinasustainability
Welcome to CSI's May 2011 China Seminar! As a supplemental guide for your travels through China, the CSI team has compiled this comprehensive orientation packet for your living and traveling needs. In addition to our complete itinerary, safety tips, currency exchange details and postal service information, you will find a brief introduction to Guilin as well as a list of a few considerations that we find particularly important when adapting to daily life in China. Please do not hesitate to call one of our team members at any time day or night if you have questions, concerns or translation issues.
General Information Money China is home to various banking networks, including the Industrial Bank of China (ICBC), the Chinese Construction Bank, and the Bank of China. ATMs at any of these banks accept major international cards and are generally safe to use, although ATM service at the Bank of China tends to be the most reliable. Many ATMs offer 24-hour service, so you needn't worry if you find yourself without cash on hand after the sun has set. If you need to exchange currency or travelers' checks for RMB, bring your foreign currency and passport to any major bank in China to complete this transaction. There should be no service charge.
Postal Services CLI's staff does not recommend sending any expensive or valuable items to the U.S. through the Chinese postal service, as it can sometimes be unreliable and is generally expensive. That being said, service has significantly improved over the past several years. If you'd like to send a postcard, CLI can help you bring it to a postal office (é‚Žĺą€, youju).
General Information (cont.) Safety & Security China is generally a safe country in which to study and sightsee. Nevertheless, any time you are traveling, you should always take necessary precautions to ensure your own personal safety. *If you experience any kind of safety emergency, please do not hesitate to call a member of the CLI team so that we may assist you in any way possible. Should a serious crisis occur, call Bradford immediately at 136-5963-0195.* Recommended Safety Tips: – Keep all of your belongings in sight and be mindful of them. Hold small personal bags close to your body, and keep them closed if possible. Pick pocketing is not a major problem in China, but it does happen from time to time. – If you know that you're going to be consuming alcohol, be responsible. Don't
accept beverages from strangers, and don't leave your drink unattended. Stay with the other members of your group, and make sure not to leave anyone behind at the end of the night. Take extra caution in getting home safely. – In China, violent street crime and predatory behavior are rare occurrences -
but that doesn't mean that you should let your inhibitions down. Try your best to remain aware of your surroundings at all times. Travel in pairs or in groups. If a stranger makes you feel uncomfortable or in any way threatens you, immediately change your course of action (head into a store or hop in a taxi, for example).
Safety & Security Recommended Safety Tips (cont.): – Crossing the road safely in China presents a challenge of its own. Here, it's important to remember what your mother always told you: make sure you look both ways before you step out into the street. Cars rarely obey traffic signals in China and motorcycles, electric scooters, bicycles and other pedestrians create additional safety hazards. Especially in Guilin, traffic patterns are probably nothing like what you were used to back home so, keep your eyes and ears open for oncoming vehicles. Proceed with caution, as there is a definite possibility that some drivers may not be paying much attention to the road or to you.
Medical Services If you find yourself in need of medical attention, please notify a member of CLI's on-site team as soon as possible. CLI emergency assistance is available around the clock, so don't hesitate to call at any time if you need to see a medical doctor. Should you catch a minor illness such as a seasonal cold or upset stomach, CLI' staff is available to assist you in purchasing over-the-counter medicine at a local pharmacy. Let a CLI employee know that you're in need of medication, and we will be more than happy to help you find exactly what you need. If you'd prefer to head to the pharmacy yourself, you're likely to encounter one if you just head outside and keep your eyes open. But as always, give any of our local team members a call and we will assist you right away. *China’s 24-hour emergency number is 119, but if you contract a serious illness or sustain a significant injury, please call Bradford immediately at 136-5963-0195.*
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
Special Considerations (Easing the Culture Shock) Curiosity toward foreigners: Foreigners are a common site in Beijing and Shanghai, but for many people in Guilin and especially the Guilin countryside, you may be the first foreigner they have ever interacted with. Expect occasional staring and calls of â€œHello!â€? The stares and greetings from strangers are innocent and not done in malice; people are truly curious and once they discover you speak Chinese, you will have a new best friend. The Great Firewall: According to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), in an effort to prevent pornography and anti-government activity, the Chinese government blocks access to numerous Web sites. Facebook, YouTube, Blogspot, Twitter, and other social networking/blogging sites are among those that you cannot access without a VPN. Additionally, major social and political advocacy sites, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, are blocked. Many foreigners (and some locals) use a VPN to get around the firewall. Some, such as www.torproject.org, can be downloaded for free, but these are not as reliable as paid networks. Witopia (www.witopia.net) offers an excellent VPN for US$60, securing your privacy and providing you with (relatively) uninterrupted Internet access.
Special Considerations (cont.) Misinformation: It's somewhat common for people to mislead you rather than say they donâ€™t know the answer to your question. Therefore, just because someone tells you a specific product is not in stock or a food item does not have particular ingredients does not mean this is necessarily so. Itâ€™s always a good idea to either be persistent or trust your instinct and ask for a second opinion. Daily nap time: There is still a daily, city-wide rest time from noon to 2:30pm. GXNU and most government offices close within this window, and it is therefore sometimes difficult to accomplish tasks requiring cooperation with locals during this time. Haggling/special foreigner prices: Since parts of China heavily cater to tourism and have countless visitors each year, vendors and cab drivers sometimes try to take advantage of foreigners by overcharging them for items and services. However, once they hear that you speak even the most basic Chinese, they will be much more willing to negotiate with you and will accordingly lower their prices. Almost all goods and services can be bargained for. In most bustling markets, expect to pay 25% to 30% less than the asking price for the majority of items, and in more touristy areas, the price could drop well over half. Firecrackers and fireworks: Random days are punctuated by the sparkle, boom, pop, and thump of firecrackers and fireworks. Major events are always marked by the ritual of lighting firecrackers. The loud sound is rumored to ward off evil spirits and thus bless the event with a fresh start. All-in-all, China is a much louder country than most.
May 2011 China Seminar Guilin | Yangshuo | Longsheng | Shanghai Below you will find our tentative schedule of activities and events for May’s CSI China Seminar. As the purpose of this schedule is to offer a general idea of the places we will be visiting, some dates and times are subject to change.
May 17, TUESDAY (USA to Guilin) Afternoon Evening
Arrive in Guilin, Hotel Check-in & Program Orientation Welcome Dinner & Downtown Walking Tour
May 18, WEDNESDAY (Guilin) Morning Afternoon Evening
Sustainable Development Forum at the Urban Planning Bureau Work Session at the Planning Bureau Four Lakes, Two Rivers Walking Tour
May 19, THURSDAY (Guilin) Morning Afternoon Evening
Sustainable Tourism Forum at the Guilin Tourism Bureau Prep for Yangshuo Visit & Li River Case Study w/ Dr. Bai – Optional visit to the Bear & Tiger Park Dinner at CLI & Guest Lecture with Dr. Zhou
May 20, FRIDAY (Guilin to Yangshuo) Morning Afternoon Evening
Li River Boat Ride to Yangshuo & Lecture on Li River Watershed Hotel Check-in & Free Time on West Street Meet at 6pm for Dinner and Liusanjie River Performance
May 21, SATURDAY (Yangshuo) Morning Afternoon Evening
Li River Case Study Debrief & Lecture on Local Agriculture Fieldwork in Small Teams, Bike Ride through Countryside Cooking Class (optional)
May 22, SUNDAY (Yangshuo to Longsheng) Morning Afternoon Evening
Bus to Ping’an Welcome Lunch with Town Elder & Meeting with Ping’an Mayor Free Time in Ping’an
“A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendall Holmes
May 23, MONDAY (Longsheng) Morning Afternoon Evening
Free Time, Optional Field Work with Farmers Free Time Dinner at Local Family’s Home
May 24, TUESDAY (Longsheng) Morning
Meetings w/ Ex-Mayor, Communist Party Representative, Local Farmers, and Hotel and Business Owners – Fieldwork in Small Team w/ Translators Hike to Neighboring Village Dinner in Dazhai and Return to Ping’an by Bus
May 25, WEDNESDAY (Longsheng to Shanghai) Morning Afternoon Evening
CSI Debrief of Longsheng Case Study Depart for Shanghai (5:55pm - 8:10pm on MU5382) Dinner at Northern Restaurant, Free Time in Guilin
May 26, THURSDAY (Shanghai) Morning
Walking Tour of Bund of Bund and River Crossing to Pudong – Ascend the Shanghai World Financial Center (China’s tallest skyscraper) Free Time in Shanghai Shanghai’s Famous Acrobat Show (optional)
May 27, FRIDAY (Shanghai) Morning Afternoon Evening
Visit Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center – Lecture on Shanghai Past, Present and Future Visit and Lecture on Suzhou Watershed Farewell Dinner
May 28, SATURDAY (Shanghai to USA) Morning
CSI Debrief and Conclusion of Program
Overview of Guilin
Quick Facts Total Population ~1.34 Million Urban Population ~620,00 Primary Ethnic Groups Zhuang, Yao, Hui, Miao, Han and Dong Location Southern China, in the Guangxi Province. Roughly equal in latitude to Key West, Florida. Annual Per Capita GDP US$2858 (as of 2009) Meaning of “Guilin” Forest of Sweet Osmanthus
A Brief History The Li River area was first settled in 314 BC during the Warring States period of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (roughly 100 years before central China was unified by Emperor Qin). The city prospered during the Tang (618-907 CE) and Song (960-1279 CE) Dynasties as a nexus between the central government and China's southwest border. In 1921, Guilin became one of the headquarters for the Northern Expeditionary Army led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen (who is widely regarded as the founder of modern China). Roughly 20 years later, in 1940, Guilin acquired its current name. In 1981, Guilin was listed by the State Council as one of four cities (including Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou) where the protection of historical and cultural heritage, as well as natural scenery, should be treated as a priority project.
Our core mission at CLI is to provide students with the most comprehensive path available toward full Chinese proficiency. This concept is not just limited to language fluency.
additionally strive to equip our students with a deep understanding of Chinaâ€™s diverse culture and a strong co m p re h e n s i o n o f i t s co m p l ex e co n o m i c a n d p o l i t i ca l environment. China is among the most fascinating civilizations in human history, and its importance only grows. We welcome you to reach full proficiency in Chinese language and culture with CLI!
Welcome to CSI’s May 2011 China Seminar!
24-Hour Assistance Throughout the duration of your stay in China, please do not hesitate to call one of our team members at any time day or night if you have questions, concerns or translation issues.
Robbie (罗中立) Minnie (胡杨) Bradford (费博拉)
137-8858-7005 182-7836-0379 136-5963-0195
W: www.StudyCLI.org | E: email@example.com | USA: (888) 781.8383 | PRC: (+86) 137.8858.7005