The Linden Centre is committed to building a cultural exchange learning center, providing young people with cross-cultural immersive learning and helping them become world citizens. We have transformed the abundant cultural resources at our disposal into teaching material, such as the local architecture, customs, religion, and artisan craftsmanship, to bring world-class educational resources to the Chinese countryside, and to showcase the world a diverse China. Since 2011, the Linden Centre has established partnership with several prestigious schools and universities, as a support for their experiential learning and research projects. We have partnered with the American Sidwell High School during their China Fieldwork Semester and have been a destination for Shanghai’s largest international school Shanghai American School’s Microcampus program. We have also worked with Middlebury College’s School of the Environment program, and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. The then Chinese Prime Minister of the State Council Liu Yandong spoke highly of our international education programs during her visit at the Linden Centre in the summer of 2018, “It lets foreign friends know about a real and friendly China, especially young people who participate in educational programs.”
Sidwell Friends School is one of the most famous private high schools in the United States, producing many elite Washingtonians. Former students include the children of former United States Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as former Vice President Al Gore. The Linden Centre has been formally working with Sidwell School for its China Fieldwork Semester since 2011 and over the past years has hosted hundreds of American students and parents, forming a valuable channel for Sino-US cultural exchange. Apart from providing high quality accommodation logistic services, the Linden Centre also assists in on-site activities.
1. Co-Curriculum Research Focus: Utilizing landscape studies as the basis for integrating the curriculum and linking academic disciplines. The participants are selected from the outstanding students of Sidwell, and the core curriculum is compatible with Sidwell academic credit system.
2. Practical Education: Every group (1-3 students) will go to respective local handicraft workshops for one-month immersive teacher-student learning.
3. Community Service: With sustainable development, cultural exchange, cultural protection as the focus of service, establishing exchanges and cooperation with local schools and communities.
Shanghai American School, or SAS, the largest international school in Shanghai, was founded in 1921 by the US Consulate. As SAS’s most distinctive academic project, Microcampus goes on strict control of admission places. Students have worked on projects in Xizhou to expand their understanding of rural Chinese culture through in-depth, structured interactions with locals. These students leave their comfort zones to come to Yunnan in order to challenge themselves through building relationships with villagers, completing research projects, and documenting the oral histories of the people of Xizhou. As of March 2018, SAS has made a total of 22 visits to Xizhou. Apart from providing high quality accommodation logistic services, the Linden Centre also assists in on-site activities, elaborating and improving program curriculum with SAS’s teachers.
4 weeks per program, 2-4 programs per year.
1. Co-Curriculum Research Focus: In addition to their home curriculum, students choose topics of study that immerse them in the daily life of the Xizhou community via site visits and interviews.
2. Community Service: Oral histories – students interview people over the age of 65, record their life stories, make videos, and share them with the community.
Middlebury College, founded in 1800, is one of America’s top private liberal arts colleges. Middlebury College boasts a strong environmental studies program, and the campus itself, which reached full carbon neutrality* in 2016, highly values sustainability. The summer of 2018, the Middlebury School of the Environment (SoE program) which is usually hosted at the Vermont campus, comes overseas to Yunnan with dual sites in Kunming and Dali. The SoE will be based out of the Linden Centre for the Dali portion of the program.
* The SoE program is a six-week environmental studies program for college undergraduates, which will consist of three college-credit courses. The curriculum will take a systemic approach to exploring topics like social-ecological relationships, environmental problems, and sustainability initiatives. In addition to classes, students will take a series of leadership development trainings that build applied skill in communication, collaboration, conflict management, effective decision-making, and multicultural competencies, among other topics. Students will also take electives on in-depth training in specific skills and viewpoints that are central to the study of the environment.
6 weeks total, 3 weeks in Dali, 1 program per year in the summer.
1. Place-Based Learning: the courses are under the guidance of Middlebury’s SoE professor, and after the program students will acquire 6 academic credits.
2. On-site learning: Students will take a course in “Understanding Place,” where they will get to know Xizhou intimately from an ecological and cultural perspective in order to understand how to make positive changes. Students will spend time in the field learning in forests, wetlands, mountains, temples, kitchens, homes, alleys, shops, markets, libraries, laboratories, and museums.
3. Sustainability Leadership: Students will learn critical skills to become tomorrow’s leaders in environmental sustainability.
4. Environmental Analysis: Students will tackle significant environmental problems from various angles, bringing the knowledge of many disciplines together to investigate the causes of environmental challenges, and generate creative, sustainable solutions by dissolving traditional disciplinary boundaries.
Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, founded in 1920, is one of the top business schools in the United States. A 2017 report by Crist|Kolder Associates listed Indiana University as 5th in producing current Fortune 500 CEOs and 1st in producing Fortune 500 CFOs among public institutions. For the full-time MBA, it offers the GLOBASE program (The Global Business and Social Enterprise). Program participants go to various global locations to investigate projects that involve emerging economies, enterprises, or non-profit organizations, and make an operational solution plan. Xizhou is one of the sites of the GLOBASE program. In conducting research, local investigations, group meetings, and final presentations, students gain business knowledge and leadership skills, all while providing benefits to the local community. In 2018, the program provided professional marketing and management consulting services, as well as a solution plan for problems posed by five local businesses of Dali. The Linden Centre assists in early research and coordinates on-site operations and meetings, as well as provides high-quality accommodations and services.
2 weeks in total per program (1 week in Dali), 1 program per year.
1. Case-Based Inquiry: Students will interview members of the local community and the assigned organization, and through face-to-face interaction will gain a better understanding of the real situations and problems the community faces.
2. Leadership: In completing the case-based project and producing a final report, students will improve their leadership skills and learn how to manage a team.
3. Economic Analysis: Students will tackle significant economic problems from various angles, and utilize a multidisciplinary approach to investigate a solution for development barriers present in the target community.
Presidio Knolls School (PKS) is a mandarin immersion school located in San Francisco， U.S. A. The school currently offers elementary school education and is in the pioneering stages of its middle school. Students of this school start to learn Chinese from kindergarten; additionally, Chinese is used as the main teaching language for other subjects, such as math and science. One of the distinct features of the Presidio Knolls School curriculum is its project-based learning. Students complete various themed projects, which allow them to encounter and understand a wider world, and encourage them to learn and use Chinese spontaneously and with a purpose. Every year, beginning in the 5th grade, each PKS class goes on a two-week learning trip to Asia. Since fall 2018, PKS began working with the Linden Centre as the base for their immersive 6th grade storytelling program in Dali.
2 weeks per program, 1 program per year
Each group (2 students) will interview a local and become familiar with their daily life in order to get to know him/her better, as well as to have a deeper understanding of the history and culture of the region. At the end of the program, students host a storytelling session, which is open to the local community.
Beijing Keystone Academy is one of the top international schools in Beijing. Since its founding in 2014, it has drawn from Chinese, American and International learning traditions, to establish a unique world school. Keystone Academy makes a deep commitment to experiential learning. Through the field trips and inquiry programs outside of the campus, students have plenty of opportunities to get close to local traditional culture. Additionally, project-based learning effectively engages students and instills in them a love for active exploration of concepts that have relevance and purpose in their lives. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of this kind of educational experience, and lead – as research demonstrates—to higher retention of knowledge and improved academic performance.
1. On-site learning: Students spend time in the field in a multitude of diverse environments learning about the local ecology, history and culture.
2. Inquiry Projects: Through project-based learning, students focus on a certain social or scientific issue, and worked out an operational solution plan based on their academic and practical knowledge.
Duke University is a top research university, ranked as one of the best universities in the United States, and is one of the best in the southern United States. DukeEngage is an undergraduate program that empowers students to address critical human needs by fully funding a summer of immersive service. While students provide services and help, they pay attention to local community issues as well, giving positive support to the community. In China, the program has carried out many educational programs, bringing English study, sports, dance and arts classes to primary and junior high schools, in order to give Chinese children more access to American culture. Zhuhai is one of the branch of DukeEngage program, during which students and professors came to Dali for a long-weekend stay, for which the Linden Centre provides a customized immersive travel program.
1. Local Culture Learning Goals: To learn more about local minority (Bai) culture, nature sightseeing, and learn handicrafts; to interact and communicate with the local community.
2. Community Service: Students bring English language, sports, dance and art classes to primary and junior high schools, thus helping to deepen Sino-US cultural exchange.
University of Minnesota, established in 1851, is one of the best comprehensive universities in the United States, with an excellent tradition of education and service to society. In May of 2018, a group of nature program students of the University of Minnesota came to Dali, to go on an 8-day exploration of the local natural environment, history, and culture with the Linden Centre. Through a series of environmental science focused learning trips, such as mountain hiking and wetland research at Erhai, and participating in a local minority’s rice-planting festival, students can gain a more intimate understanding of Dali culture, and enrich their global experiences.
Gain a deeper understanding of local minority culture and environmental conditions through field research, and foster cultural exchange through interactions with local residents.
International School of Beijing is one of the top non-profit international schools in Beijing. The school is committed to: developing students’ comprehensive social talents; emphasizing each student's inner learning ability; attaching importance to cultivating students' social responsibility; and helping students understand themselves, others, and society through a series of practical activities in and outside of class. In June of 2015, a group of students from ISB came to the Linden Centre for a 12-day on-site study and teamwork skills workshop. Apart from providing quality accommodations and services, the Linden Centre also provided the group with a professional guide to lead students in their exploration of the rich traditional culture and natural resources of Xizhou.
Experiencing Bai culture, such as three course tea, tie-dye and dongjing music; learning local handicrafts; experiencing the natural scenery of Dali through hiking Cangshan and touring around Erhai.
Studio Education is a language-learning center founded in 2013 by an Oxford-educated British schoolteacher in Shanghai. It serves to support and prepare students in their efforts to pursue a wide-ranging exploratory education. Global Learning, an important component of Studio Education’s program, provides an unbounded cognitive and learning habitat. Global Learning places students in diverse settings, where students are encouraged and guided to explore, reflect, inquire and create. Students came to Xizhou to explore the Chinese traditional local culture and to gain a holistic understanding of comparative education.
1. Academic Study: the core courses are taught by professors from Columbia University and Oxford University.
2. Outdoor Exploration: bike tour around Erhai and mountain hike on Cangshan
3. Cultural Immersion: temple visit, fabric workshop and Jiama workshop experience, Bai architecture, music and cooking lesson, etc.
4. Inquiry Project Learning: To present a project report based on what they have learned and experienced during the cultural immersion.