Ray Beiersdorfer, an award-winning professor of Geology at Youngstown State University, leads a group of students to Tibet this spring to learn about the region’s geology, environment and culture.
“We also will visit Beijing, Xi’an, Sichuan Province and Shanghai, but the highlight will be 11 days in Tibet,” said Beiersdorfer, who has traveled to China eight times previously. “The focus on the class is to learn about China’s geology and environment, but we can’t ignore the human history and culture, especially the food.”
The trip from May 18 to June 10 is limited to 24 individuals, who must be registered YSU students, although Beiersdorfer said he can take select volunteers on a case-by-case basis. Estimated travel cost is $4,500, which includes everything except passport, Chinese visa, YSU tuition and fees and personal expenses on items such as souvenirs. Deadline is April 15. For a complete schedule and more information, visit http://china.ysu.edu/. The class will be offered during first session of summer semester at YSU.
The Tibet trip starts with an overnight trip on the Qinghai-Tibet Railroad (the highest railroad in the world). After arriving in Lhasa, the group will visit the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa’s Old Town, and the Potala Palace. From Lhasa, the group will journey eastward to Samye, site of Tibet’s first Buddhist Monastery, and Tsedang. The journey to Sayme includes a crossing of Brahmaptura River by boat. In Tsedang, students will tour the Yumbulkagm palace, thought to be the residence of the first Tibetan king, built upon a sequence or marine sedimentary rock. The group will then head into the Himalayan Mountains, using Kabala Pass and Karola Pass. Near Karola Pass, students will stop to walk on a glacier. The group will journey west to Tingri via the Gyatsola Pass and tour the Rongphu Monastery, followed by a hike to the Mt. Everest base camp. In Sichuan Province, the group will tour a village destroyed by the 2008 earthquake. Students will also volunteer for a day at the Ya’an Panda preserve. “It’s mostly hauling bamboo and sweeping out enclosures, but we do get to hand feed pandas,’” Beiersdorfer said. In the past some students have been able to actually play with three toddler pandas by making a monetary donation to the preserve.