Hawaii, United States
The “Aloha spirit” is universal, and certainly contagious, when you set foot onto the Pacific paradise of Hawaii and the port of Hilo. The small, archipelago state presents a beautiful tapestry of natural sights, including secluded beaches, magnificent waterfalls, and a vast rainforest filled with fauna. Among the extensive list of geographic must-sees is Hilo’s National Volcano Park, home of the most active volcano in the world.
The second and third stops on our itinerary bring us to another Pacific archipelago, and the ports of Yokohama and Kobe, Japan. With its blend of modern industry amidst preserved ancient culture, Japan presents a variety of options for experiential learning. Students often enjoy getting a glimpse into traditional Geisha culture, taking a train to Tokyo, or exploring the many options for top-notch Japanese cuisine in Yokohama’s Minato Marai 21 neighborhood or the Harborland district in Kobe.
(Shanghai + Hong Kong) China presents a spectacular array of historic traditions, stunning landscapes, and magnificent architecture including its vast and iconic Great Wall. Cultural opportunities are endless with the chance to meditate in a Tibetan monastery, converse with Buddhist monks, or practice the Chinese art of Tai Chi at sunrise while overlooking the bustling city of Shanghai. In Hong Kong, SAS students may partake in a junk boat project to aid in the recovery of plastic pollution in local, oceanic waters.
First inhabited by Austronesian people, Taiwan became home to Han immigrants beginning in the late Ming Dynasty (17th century). In 1895, military defeat forced China's Qing Dynasty to cede Taiwan to Japan, which governed Taiwan for 50 years. Taiwan came under Chinese Nationalist control after World War II. In the four years leading to the communist victory on the mainland in 1949, 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government under the 1947 constitution drawn up for all of China.
Size: 35,980 sq km
Population: 23,415,126 (July 2015 est.)
Languages: Taiwanese. mainland Chinese
Ho Chi Minh City
(Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam is known for its lush, emerald green mountains, outstanding cuisine, and welcoming citizens. Here you can explore the Cu Chi Tunnels where Viet Cong soldiers lived and fought, travel by boat through the Mekong Delta, sample world-class pho, or bike through small villages. Students often enjoy a three-day trip to Cambodia from Vietnam to interact with an NGO that educates and trains disadvantaged locals in rural areas for employment in the hospitality industry.
During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia; these were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula except Singapore formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore, as well as Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo, joined the Federation.
Size: 329,847 sq km
Population: 30,513,848 (July 2015 est.)
Languages: Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Burma, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, has preserved its Buddhist traditions and predominantly rural culture. In many ways, Burma has remained unchanged since British colonial times. SAS students may partake in a visit to an elephant camp, engage with teachers and children at a local school, or participate in a meditation.
As one of the most populous nations in the world, India is bustling with a vibrant culture influenced by a variety of religions, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Explore the Taj Mahal, one of the world’s seven wonders, or travel to the holy city of Varanasi on the Ganges River. Get a taste of how 70% of Indians live by visiting the rural, traditional Chendamangalam village.
Across the Adriatic Sea from Italy lies the strikingly beautiful landscape of Croatia. The natural beauty and clear water combine with an abundance of medieval towns making this a hallmark of the Mediterranean. Dubrovnik itself is an enchanting pedestrian city known for its intact city wall and towers; historic churches and museums. The clear waters and abundant marine life make snorkeling a popular activity. The small mountain village of Osojnik welcomes visitors with traditional folk music and food. Split’s waterfront promenade, with café’s, shops and palm trees is often called the “Riviera” of Croatia and the ruins of Roman emperor Diocletian’s palace provide ample opportunities to explore.
Morocco is an immensely rich cultural center point of north-western Africa that exudes influences of all of the proximal regions, including Spain and the Mediterranean, Egypt, the Sahara Desert, and the Atlas Mountains. The port of Casablanca, established in the 20th century, is a busy metropolis and home to the Hassan II Mosque, the second largest in the world after Mecca. Teaming with colorful bazaars and exotic culture, Casablanca and nearby Rabat, Fez and Marrakech will give voyagers a taste of a culture far different from any other place.