World Leadership School

WLS Programs In China

World Leadership School works in a host community in X’ian. Xi’an is an incredible window into China’s history but also its ethnic diversity, which can be hard to see in a country where 90 percent of the country comes from the dominant Han culture. At the beginning of the program, students will bike around the City Wall before transferring to the rural host community. Students will work at a rural school while staying with homestay families. At the end of the program, students will return to Xi’an to visit the chaotic Muslim Quarter, hike in the countryside, and visit the famous ancient Terracotta Warriors.

Why China?

There are many ways to think about the enormity and diversity of China, the world’s most populous country and the second largest in terms of area. But what is less known about China’s oversized reputation is the richness and depth of its history, much of which began over 2,000 years ago in Xi’an, a modestly sized city of 8 million located in the central Shaanxi Province.

China’s rise as a global superpower has come at a tremendous cost to the environment. China now burns 47 percent of the world’s coal, and air pollution in major cities around China has reached unprecedented levels. More than half of China’s surface water is so polluted that it cannot be treated to make it drinkable, according to the Economist. Entire towns, known as “cancer villages,” have become so polluted by nearby industrial complexes that inhabitants suffer from extremely high rates of cancer. Most of China’s forests have been cleared to make way for agriculture, and about one quarter of the country’s total land surface is gradually becoming a desert because of over-cultivation and poor soil practices.

Staff and Safety

The safety of our programs rests on the experience and skills of our Staff, Country Coordinators and Instructors, who convene at our annual training in Colorado’s Arkansas Valley.

  • The Staff of World Leadership School have decades of experience working in different educational environments. Their focus is logistics, risk management, program design, professional development, and consulting.
  • Our Country Coordinators live and work year round in our overseas countries. They screen our homestay families, evaluate our transport and other service providers, and provide ground support for our groups.
  • Our Instructors are veteran educators with extensive international experience. They have wilderness first responder training and often have past affiliations with Peace Corps, Outward Bound, NOLS, and/or independent schools.

We strive to responsibly manage risks. Our itineraries minimize highway travel and maximize immersion in rural communities that we know well. We update our risk management protocols, integrate feedback into program design, and invest in safety and communication equipment. Despite these efforts, World Leadership School cannot guarantee safety nor can it eliminate the inherent and other risks of international student travel. For information regarding program activities and associated risks, risk management, and student and parent responsibilities, please contact our office.

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