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MCCC professor taking tour group to China

By Maya Gaynier
On March 25, 2019

An Explorica tour group visiting the Great Wall of China.


MCCC students and community members will have the opportunity to experience China’s unique culture and history.
Dan Shaw, retiring journalism professor at MCCC, is leading a community trip to China in May of 2020.
He said the trip will be similar to past MCCC Study Abroad trips that he has led, but is not an MCCC-sponsored trip.
“I’m doing this as an individual who is leading a trip to China, but totally with the college’s support,” Shaw said.
The trip is being offered on the off year of the college’s Study Abroad trips, Shaw said, so it will not negatively impact MCCC’s 2021 trip. It’s already too late to sign up for this year’s May trip to the British Isles.
“I don’t want to do anything to hurt the college program,” he said.
Shaw is experienced when it comes to Study Abroad trips. He has been on five of MCCC’s trips, and was a leader of four of them. He has visited more than a dozen countries leading students and community members. 
“When I announced that I was retiring last fall, one of the things I assumed I’d have to give up is going on Study Abroad trips,” he said.
However, Shaw was contacted by Explorica, an educational travel company, to lead a community trip. Shaw chose China because he has always wanted to experience its culture.
“It’s a place I don’t want to die without having seen,” he said. “It’s too important, culturally, historically, and in the modern day, geo-politically.”
Additionally, Shaw wants people to gain an awareness of China because of the country’s emerging place in the world. 
“China has become not only our biggest trade partner, but also the other superpower in the world,” he said. “We should know more about China and be more aware of what’s going on there.”
The May 2020 trip will be 11-13 days long, but many details depend on the number of people interested in the trip. If fewer than 15 sign up, the group will be paired with others, giving less opportunity to customize the trip.
Either way, the four main destinations will be included.
“We’re definitely going to Beijing,” Shaw said. “From Beijing we’ll make a day trip to the Great Wall.”
After Beijing, the group will visit Xi’an, famous for its Terracotta soldiers.
“It’s also a delightful historic city with other great things to see, such as fortresses, temples and palaces,” Shaw said.
The group will then fly to Shanghai.
“It’s like going into another world. Shanghai is one of the handful of most modern, progressive cities in the world: things like skyscrapers and advanced technology,” Shaw said.
After Shanghai, the group will fly to Hong Kong, the former British colony that remains a crossroads of civilizations. 
Shaw also hopes to give travelers a free day in both Beijing and Shanghai. 
“I think on these trips it’s important for people to have time to just get out in the city and explore on their own a little bit,” he said. 
Shaw is excited to take photos in these cities. On many Study Abroad trips he taught a photojournalism course. While this trip is not sponsored by MCCC, the college is open to offering courses if there is enough student interest.
Shaw encourages students to go on the trip because having a knowledge of Chinese culture can be beneficial for their futures.
“I think this trip would look really good on your resume. Employers all over the country have relationships with China,” Shaw said.
Shaw expects travelers to learn a lot about the country.
“These are educational tours,” he said. “Explorica is great at finding quality local guides who really know the area. This isn’t tourism, it’s educational travel.”
Shaw also wants to stress the safety that travelers can expect to experience when traveling with Explorica.
“Explorica is an experienced company at keeping its travelers safe. They know how to do it. They’re good at it,” Shaw said.
Shaw is also experienced with these types of trips and is confident he can keep travelers safe.
Additionally, he said he thinks China will be a relatively safe place for travel.

Dan Shaw with his camera on a Study
Abroad trip in Prague in the Czech Republic.

“While China may seem strange and foreign, these are modern cities that we’re going to be going to, with modern police forces and very low crime rates,” he said. “We’re not going to dangerous parts of the world.”
Many community members are already looking forward to another trip with Shaw.
Linda Lauer attended a Study Abroad trip to Italy and Greece and took Shaw’s photojournalism course.
“He made the trip interesting, informative and fun. He has a relaxed but engaging approach that made everyone enjoy their travels and learn simultaneously,” Lauer writes in an e-mail.
Shaw is excited to invite community members on this trip, but there are a few requirements travelers should be aware of.
A passport is needed, which can take several months to acquire.
Additionally, background checks will be performed on everyone who signs up.
Shaw stresses that people with health issues can still go to China. However, travelers should be prepared to walk several miles a day.
“People who aren’t capable of a lot of walking should probably not go on this trip,” Shaw said.
The cost of this trip will be about $4,280 for people under 23 and $4,850 for older travelers. The added cost is to accommodate a twin room. People who sign up before April 10, 2019 will receive a $200 discount. 
The cost includes all travel expenses and entrance fees, as well as breakfasts and dinners and most of the lunches.  
Shaw is ready and willing to taste authentic Chinese food.
“I love Chinese food, but when I say that I’m talking about American Chinese food,” he said. “I have a feeling that Chinese Chinese food is going to be even better.”
He said travelers with special diet needs don’t have to worry; Explorica will provide options for all kinds of diets.
To view the itinerary and get more details, visit the trip website, www.explorica.com/Shaw-4418. This is also where travelers can sign up to go on the trip. 
Shaw hopes to have everyone signed up by late fall, so there is plenty of time to make sure everyone is prepared.  
“I would be remiss to not mention that one of the great parts of Study Abroad is the camaraderie of the group. You get to know people who become lifelong friends, because those 13 days immersed in another culture just bring you closer together.”

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