International Schools

Led by experienced wilderness guides who love working with students, JWA’s International School Adventures are designed to develop leaders and build community. At JWA, we provide opportunities for students to step out of their comfort zones and into the wilderness!

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 outdoor educators certified in wilderness medicine (WFR) who are skilled and passionate about working with youth. If you’re looking for a unique adventure for your students in China, then these are the trips for you!

We offer custom-designed camping and backpacking trips for both junior high and high school students. JWA staff partner with you to design experiences that will best fit your school’s vision and your students’ needs. Previous camping experience is not required.

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

The wilderness is an excellent classroom! As students camp or backpack, 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 abilities needed to continue spending time independently in the outdoors. For some students, their JWA trip may be their first-time in a tent, and for others, their hundredth time sleeping 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 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 of the outdoors. We seek to leave each student with the freedom to use the wilderness as a continual place of retreat, rest, learning, 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 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 and risk management strategies. 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 of students. Our guides are passionate, caring and well-trained in team-building. In addition, they each have experience leading 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.

Duke of Edinburgh Award

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 the most professionally-run backpacking company in China to offer award trips. 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 trip, one of the most important and powerful portions of the DoE adventurous journey. We do this by equipping our participating students with the skills and tools necessary that allows them to travel without guides. Through the independent 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 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 without a guide.

Furthermore, JWA is also unique in its ability to provide students with a solo experience on their journey. Research has noted that this portion of a trip is consistently ranked as one of the best aspects of a traditional wilderness experience and often the most meaningful aspect of participants’ time on the trail. Solo time provides space for reflection, processing, stillness, and silence, disciplines that are often rare in our contemporary society. This “solitude” component is an optional extra that isn’t required as a part of the DoE but can be included on a trip 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 trip and the students’ available schedule.

Journey Wilderness Adventures played a strategic role in helping 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 curriculum. We would love 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 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 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 also provide backpacking trips for international schools, customizable to group size and length of time desired in Beijing, Qinghai Province, and Xinjiang Province. These backpacking trips can be part of the Duke of Edinburgh program or independently crafted for your school’s needs. We are also in the process of developing canoe trips in Qinghai province, so stay tuned for more information about how to send your students on a multi-day canoeing adventure! Our typical seasons for each location are:

• Beijing – April 1 to October 31
• Inner Mongolia – May 1 to October 15
• Yunnan – March 1 to November 31
• Qinghai – May 1 to September 30
• 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.