Tibetan Village Project
see info below

Course Details

Updated dates, costs, and course descriptions for 2019 will be posted on Nov. 1, 2018


June 23 to July 10, 2018

18 Days

Departure City

Los Angeles, California

Tuition: $5640 – $5840 *
Airfare & fees: $1205 *
* important details here

SStS partners with the Tibetan Village Project (TVP) to help promote sustainable development and preserve the rich cultural heritage of Tibet.
The SStS Tibet course begins in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.

This rapidly expanding industrial hub not only has over 14 million residents, but it also has over 2000 years of history. Guided by our hosts, the group will spend the first days visiting cultural sites, including a panda-breeding center, before driving to the city of Kangding on the Tibetan plateau. At this point, the group will begin to work directly with SStS’s non-profit partner, the Tibetan Village Project (TVP). TVP is an organization dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship while preserving the rich cultural heritage of Tibet through projects that are locally supported and sustained. After a night in Kangding, the group will travel to Tagong, a village in the scenic Kham region, to visit a centuries-old monastery and learn more about Buddhist traditions. Students may also spend time with children living at an orphanage that TVP supports. Then, the group will head to Yolongshi, where the TVP staff will introduce the group to their project.

The primary focus of the service work will be the Tibet Ecowaste Project. The goals of this project are to encourage environmental awareness, reduce pollution of essential water supplies, and create economically sustainable options for Tibetans participating in TVP’s Plateau Homestays initiative. While in Yolongshi and the nearby village of Dora, the students will live with local families. This experience will create the opportunity to be fully immersed in the lives of traditional Tibetan villagers. In addition to directly observing the daily rhythms of this ancient culture, the group will spend time hiking in the magnificent Tibetan landscape. Finally, before returning to Chengdu, students may also have the opportunity to meet some nomadic families and visit the Sihurong monastery. In many ways, the contrasts that the students will experience between life on the Tibetan plateau and in the bustling industrial city of Chengdu will help them to better understand the meaning of citizenship and the divergent forces at work in the rapidly changing nation of China.

*This course occurs in western Sichuan Province, not in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, which has been the center of recent unrest. Sihurong is over 1000 miles from Lhasa.

Course Elements

The course elements are based on a rating from 1 to 5, 1 being the least rigorous, 5 being the most rigorous.


The group will focus on supporting TVP’s Tibet Ecowaste Initiative. This entails building and installing waste collection bins intended to protect water supplies and improve the homes of families participating in their Plateau Homestays project. A day may also be spent working with the boys living at TVP’s Tagong Thangka Center.


Prior to their travels, students complete a series of online activities (30 minutes each). While traveling, they also read engaging articles, participate in cultural experiences, and create presentations in small groups.


Because the group will spend most of their time in relatively remote villages on the Tibetan Plateau, portions of several days will be spent exploring cultural sites and scenic Himalayan grasslands on foot. Students should be physically prepared for lengthy day hikes at high altitude.

Living Conditions80%

While at the rural project site, the students will live, in groups, with Tibetan families in traditional homes. While in Chengdu and Kangding, they will stay in simple hotels. A night or two might also be spent in a monastery.

On the Move80%

After spending a couple days in Chengdu, the group will spend a day driving to Kangding, which is on the Tibetan Plateau. They will then drive to a few other villages in this area before returning to Chengdu for the final days of the course.


Students have the unique opportunity to spend over a week living as the guests of Tibetan families in the villages of Yolongshi and Dora.


The group will spend a majority of the days in small rural towns and villages such as Sihurong, Yolongshi, and Tagong. However, the first and last days of the course are spent in the city of Chengdu, which has over 14 million residents.

Element Descriptions


Day 1 and 2

Travels from L.A. to Chengdu, begin group orientation

Day 3

Arrive in Chengdu, settle into guesthouse

Day 4

Cultural and group orientation, visit Panda Breeding Center

Day 5

Drive to Kangding, cultural tour

Day 6

Explore Kangding, cultural experience, travel to Tagong

Day 7

Visit children at the Tagong Thangka Center and monks at the monastery

Day 8

Travel to Yolongshi, introduction to the project, settle into home stays

Day 9

Project work, evening cultural presentation

Day 10

Project work, hike in nearby mountains

Day 11

Project work, evening cultural presentation

Day 12

Project work, farewell celebration with home stay hosts

Day 13

Drive to Dora, explore the village, evening with home stay families

Day 14

Visit local monastery, hike in Tibetan Plateau, evening at homestays

Day 15

Return to Kangding, begin group debrief with TVP staff

Day 16

Return to Chengdu, continue group debrief

Day 17

Explore Jinli neighborhood, farewell dinner, finish debrief

Day 18

Travels home, arrive in L.A.


: In Three Phases


the 5 Lenses Curriculum

Prior to departure, students are guided by their course instructors through a series of interactive, online lessons. Organized by SStS’s Five Lenses Curriculum, these activities (30 minutes per week) allow students to directly engage with other members of
the group.


partnering with ngos

The majority of the days at each site are spent engaged in meaningful service work with our NGO (non-governmental organization) partner. Days not dedicated to project work are spent immersed in intriguing cultural activities.


post travel advocacy

During the next school year, students educate others by advocating for our NGO partner through public presentations to the community at large and/or younger, school-based audiences.

Travel Journal

During the travel phase of each SStS course, students spend time reflecting about the learning that occurs through their immersion and service experiences. These posts capture the impact of our programs on individual students. Explore the posts below to learn about the SStS Tibet program from the important viewpoint of our students.

Explore Tibet

Important Details

Cost Information

Tuition (students from members of the Global Schools Coalition): $5640
Tuition (students not from members of the Global Schools Coalition): $5840
Airfare & fees: $1205

SStS is in search of curious, compassionate, globally-minded students. Thus, we will do all that we can financially to support students whose circumstances preclude paying the full cost. If you would like to be considered for financial assistance, please indicate so on the application. Financial assistance resources are limited. Scholarships tend to be less than 50% of tuition.

Please note, tuition does not include airfare and immunizations.
Tuition costs are all inclusive with the exception of personal expenditures (e.g. souvenirs).
Tickets and medical & security evacuation services are purchased as a group. The cost of these services is included in the tuition.
Talbot Travel Agency provides travel services for SStS, working personally with us to find the least expensive fares.
As a result, it is not possible to use airline miles or credit card benefits for the international flights. However, these can be used to purchase tickets to the gateway city.

Travel Expectations
Please note that we expect all participants to travel together, adhering to the identical itinerary. We will depart the United States as a group from a gateway city. Exemptions may be made for international students. Additionally, travel in the developing world inevitably includes “the unexpected” (e.g. weather disruptions, transportation strikes, etc.). SStS will adjust the itinerary accordingly, making the best of uncontrollable situations. Due to the unknown variables in international travel, participants are asked not to make travel plans or to enroll in programs that start immediately after their return. SStS is not responsible for expenses incurred due to missed flights if the group is delayed in their return.



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