International School Programs

“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.” — John Dewey Led by certified teachers and experienced wilderness guides, skilled in working with students, JWA’s international school programs are designed to develop leaders, build community, and enhance the educational goals of the schools we partner with. At JWA, we provide opportunities for students to step out of their comfort zones and into the wilderness on experiential learning adventures! We believe in the benefits of using nature as a classroom, so we invite you to the blackboards of star-freckled night-skies and the desks of evergreen stumps. Our staff is made up of experienced classroom and outdoor educators, certified in academic subjects and wilderness medicine (WFR). If you’re looking for a unique adventure that connects classroom learning with field-based experiences in China, then these are the trips for you! We offer custom-designed camping and backpacking programs for both junior high and high school students. JWA staff partner with you to design programs that will best fit your school’s curriculum, vision, and student needs. Previous camping experience is not required.

“Expeditions can greatly contribute towards building strength of character. Joseph Conrad in Lord Jim tells us that it is necessary for a youth to experience events which ‘reveal the inner worth of the man; the edge of his temper; the fibre of his stuff; the quality of his resistance; the secret truth of his pretences, not only to himself but others.” — Kurt Hahn

The wilderness is an excellent classroom! As students camp, backpack, or canoe, they will be equipped with outdoor skills. As they learn to stoke a freshly-built fire and filter water from a nearby stream, they will be empowered with the skills and knowledge needed for a lifetime of outdoor experiences. For some students, their JWA trip will be their first-time sleeping in a tent, and for others, their hundredth time staying out under the stars. But whether they can catch a fish with a homemade spear or can’t find North on a compass, they will be enriched by their JWA  learning experience. We don’t want to provide students with merely an isolated outdoors experience but rather, to mold them into life-long learners and lovers and protectors of the natural world. We seek to leave each student with the freedom to use the wilderness as a continual place of retreat, rest, reflection, and adventure for the rest of his/her life by helping them overcome the obstacle of inexperience. As students breathe in the fresh scents of wild lilacs or sip sweet spring water, they inevitably learn to appreciate the earth. The fanciful hues of the outdoors cannot help but invoke the imagination, and we hope that through greater exposure, students’ eyes will be opened to the beauties of China’s landscapes, often overshadowed by the grays of everyday urban lives. We hope that such exposure to these natural wonders will foster a love towards nature that manifests itself in a commitment to conservation, an issue all-too-relevant in current political and educational dialogue both in China and Abroad.

Physical Safety We provide students and teachers with equipment of the highest quality from the most trusted brands in the business to enable them to have a positive and safe experience in the outdoors as they stay dry, warm, and well-fed. To maximize the physical safety of all participants, our guides are trained in wilderness medicine, risk management strategies, and all receive child safety training and go through criminal background checks. They travel with satellite phones and carry backup solar-powered chargers to assure our ability to communicate with outside help in the event of an emergency. Emotional Safety & Personal Growth At JWA, we care about the emotional safety and personal growth of students. Our guides are passionate, caring and well-trained in team-building and leadership development skills. In addition, they each have experience educating and mentoring teenagers. JWA leaders possess a passion to see young people grow! We seek to help students develop concern for the environment, build camaraderie with their peers, and develop a deeper level of self-awareness. Students will have opportunities throughout their wilderness experience to be an active part of a team and to take-on various leadership roles. Through these experiences, students will learn more about each other and themselves as they seek to protect the welfare of the entire group. JWA trips also provide participants with space for stillness, discussion, and reflection, so that students are not only gaining experiences but also gaining insight into what these experiences tell them about themselves, others, and their understanding of the world.

“I regard it as the foremost task of education to ensure survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity; an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial and above all, compassion.” — Kurt Hahn

The Duke of Edinburgh award is an achievement program and charity founded by Prince Phillip and Kurt Hahn (founder of Outward Bound) in 1956 in order to provide opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery for young people through outdoor educational experiences. Today the program continues to increase in popularity, especially in international schools across China.

JWA is an experienced, competent outdoor and environmental education company that offers unique opportunities for students to complete the adventurous journey portion of the award in China. Not only do we have years of experience working with teens and adults, but we also are unparalleled in the quality of our guides, equipment, locations, food, and safety. We are currently the only backpacking company in China to provide their participants with a truly independent qualifying journey on their DoE adventurous journey, one of the most important and powerful portions of the DoE program. We do this by equipping our participating students with the skills and knowledge necessary that allows them to travel safely, separately from their instructors. During the qualifying journey, students have the opportunity to apply the skills they’ve developed to travel safely and efficiently as a group. This opportunity to travel independently truly empowers the students to grow holistically and continue outdoor activities throughout adulthood, one of the primary objectives of the DoE program. This experience is unique to JWA and made possible by our quality programming and tools, which allow us to offer our participants the ability to travel without a GPS and independent of a guide. Furthermore, JWA is also unique in its ability to provide students with a solo experience on their journey. Research has noted that a wilderness solo is consistently ranked as one of the most meaningful aspects of an extended wilderness program. Solo time gives students the space and time necessary for reflection that enables students to make connections between their learning experiences and how they connect to their everyday lives. This “solitude” component is an optional extra that isn’t required as a part of the DoE but that we recommend nonetheless. We are able to program the solo portion for any amount of time educators from your institution deem necessary – as short as 2 hours and as many as 72 based on the length of the goals of the program. Journey Wilderness Adventures played a strategic role in assisting the International School of Beijing develop their first ever DoE Award Program, and we continue to work with them in their programs development. We are happy to partner with other international schools as they develop their own experiential education programs. We would be happy to sit down with your educators and discuss ways in which JWA can come along side your institution to guide your students on the path toward achieving their bronze, silver, and gold DoE awards. For more information about the Duke of Edinburgh award, please visit

Clothing and Personal Equipment List – General *Please refer to your programs specific clothing list when packing for your trip

Our trips take place in pristine wilderness environments across China and even into Mongolia. We spend time developing new trails that are rarely traveled in some of East Asia’s most beautiful natural areas. We are regularly developing boating and trekking routes and locations and invest heavily in this aspect of the experiences we provide. We pride ourselves in our ability to take our participants into some of China’s most amazing and untouched wilderness locations. Activities vary from location to location. In Mongolia, we offer backpacking and cycling trips through beautiful forests, grasslands, and plains, especially suitable to the Duke of Edinburgh Adventurous Journey trips. Camping trips are available just outside Beijing’s borders and provide students opportunities for outdoor experiences for as little as one night or as long as a week. We provide backpacking and canoe trips for international schools, customizable to group size and trip length in Beijing, Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang Province. These trips can be part of the Duke of Edinburgh program or independently crafted to your school’s needs. Our typical seasons for each location are: • Beijing – April 1 to October 31 • Inner Mongolia – May 1 to October 15 • Guangxi – October 1 to June 1 • Xinjiang – May 1 to September 30 • Mongolia – June 1 to September 15 Click on the “Contact Us” tab to request our help in developing additional locations or for information about off season trips.