Should I Visit Anji?
Visits to the kindgergartens of Anji are open to anyone with a sincere wish to learn deeply about the principles, practices, history and communities of AnjiPlay at it’s point of origin from and with the educators, families and community leaders who have nurtured and developed the approach over the past 15 years. We invite educators, parents, community leaders, scholars and educational change agents from around the world to participate in a unique opportunity for global pedagogical exchange.
During your visit, you will have the opportunity to spend extended periods of time in the vibrant kindergartens of Anji (serving children 3-6 years old) in a wide variety of locations across the county. The program is designed to ensure maximum time in the schools as well as time to meet with and exchange ideas with the educators, families and community leaders of Anji. You will also have planned periods to rest, reflect and engage with your colleagues and companions from around the world in both facilitated and informal settings.
The purpose of your visit is to engage in meaningful pedagogical encounters with our Chinese colleagues in order to consider how we may apply their insights to our own contexts, dilemmas and considerations.
Visiting Anji is also an opportunity to enjoy the UN-recognized environmental stewardship, natural beauty, cultural heritage and ethnic diversity of Anji, a mountainous, rural county, blanketed with bamboo and white tea.
Where is Anji and what are the conditions there?
Anji County is a 3 hour drive west from Shanghai. Study Tour Participants will stay in Dipu Township , a small urban area sourrounded by the mountains of Anji County. As the county seat, Dipu is a clean, bustling, orderly center for local business and administration. Visitors can expect to be immersed in Chinese life and culture and have access to familiar western comforts, including Starbucks. School visits during the Study Tour will also take participants into the more remote, rural and mountainous parts of the county.
Where will I be staying?
Participants will stay in individual, single rooms in a four star hotel in the center of Dipu. Expect a clean, comfortable, convenient stay. All rooms are equipped with western toilets, wireless internet and other standard amenities. If you have special requirements during your stay, please let us know so that we can ensure access for all interested participants.
As a first time visitor to China, how will I get around?
A native English speaking member of our team will meet you at the airport when you arrive in Shanghai and accompany you on the three hour drive to Anji.
Once you arrive in Dipu, we will get you checked in to your hotel, oriented, fed and rested. Your days will be scheduled around meals, school visits, presentations and reflective and collaborative activities. We will provide interpretation (English/Chinese) for all activities and will be on-site during the duration of your stay.
On the last day of the tour, we will accompany you back to the airport and see you off on your way home.
You are welcome to explore Dipu during breaks in the schedule. The hotel is close to an area of small, local shops that are fun to explore. China is extremely safe, particularly for visiting foreigners. However, English is limited, and we can’t guarantee that a member of our team will accompany you during those times to provide language interpretation. Sign language goes a long way when shopping!
English language ATMs that accept all major bank cards are available near the hotel.
Will the food meet my needs?
We provide vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options for all meals. Breakfast buffets include standard western fare in addition to Chinese offerings. Lunches and dinners will be local cuisine made with local ingredients. We have worked to create menus that are authentic, delicious and accessible. During visits to rural villages, the food is always locally grown, organic and prepared with recipes passed down for centuries in the area. Expect some extraordinary meal experiences.
What do I have to do to get a Chinese Visa?
Applying for an F-type Chinese visa is straightforward if you have all of your paperwork in order. If you live near the Chinese Embassy or a Chinese Consulate you should give yourself at least a week to obtain a visa. Once you submit your complete application form including all required supporting documents (see here), you should be able to return to pick up your visa within 4 business days. 2-day, 1-day and same-day rush processing services are also available for an additional fee. For U.S. passport holders the fee for the F visa is $140.
If you do not live near the Chinese Embassy (Washington, D.C.) or a Chinese Consulate (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, New York) and can not apply in person, you can authorize a third party to submit your passport and application in person, on your behalf. This person can be a trusted friend or relative or an agency that specializes in helping travelers submit their application materials. A few of those agencies can be found here:
http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zmzlljs/t84229.htm http://www.freechinavisa.org/applyvisa1.php?visatype=F http://www.visarite.com/china_f_visa.htm http://www.mychinavisa.com/china-visa/business-visa/
Do I need any shots or vaccinations before travel?
We can not provide specific medical advice. But the CDC provides valuable guidance for travelers to China: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/china
We also strongly recommend that anyone traveling abroad consult with their primary care physician to assess their specific pre-travel medical needs
What medical facilities are available?
Modern, western hospitals are available in Anji County and neighboring Huzhou. World-class medical facilities and the highest standards of care are available in Shanghai (3 hour drive) and Hangzhou (1 hour drive).
Should I purchase short-term international health insurance?
We strongly recommend that you consult with your insurance provider and primary care physician before embarking on any foreign travel to assess your needs.
Please let us know if you have any medical condition that might require sudden, emergency or specialist assistance during your visit.
Will there be chances to go sightseeing and enjoy other aspects of Anji?
Yes! All participants will have an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Anji.
Can I take pictures or videos during my visit?
Photos and videos are a great way to document and share your experiences with family, friends and colleagues. There will be opportunities to take photos and videos in the kindergartens of Anji, but this will be limited to specific times and settings and will be at the discretion of tour leaders and local school administration.
Can I spend more time in China?
If you want to take advantage of your trip to Anji to visit other parts of China or are staying on in China after the tour or arriving in Anji from within China, we ask that you meet our group at Shanghai Pudong Aiport on the day the program beings. We will be able to drop you off at Pudong or Hongqiao Airport on the day the program ends. If you would like to make other arrangements for your arrival to and/or departure from Dipu, please contact us here.
Can I book my own accommodation?
You are welcome to book your own accommodation in Dipu. However, we can not assist with the booking or take responsibility for your transportation to and from our daily meeting point and your accommodation of choice. We can not offer refunds or a discounted rate if you chose to book your own accommodation.
Payment and refunds
Deposit is non-refundable. Balance refundable prior to early bird cut-off date. We can not guarantee that you will be issued a visa. However, in the event of non-issuance, we will provide any additional supporting documentation necessary for your re-application. In the event that you are unable to obtain a visa, we will refund all payments, less a $75.00 handling fee.