Do we have to be able to speak Mandarin?
No, it is not necessary to speak Mandarin though it is great if you do. The Yale-China English Language Fellows will be leading our project teams so that there will be plenty of translators with us.

Can I participate if I am not affiliated with Yale?
Absolutely! We encourage family and friends to participate on the Service Tour. All helping hands are welcome. Please note that children must be at least 7 years old to participate, and all participants under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

When do I need to arrive in China?
The program begins in Shanghai on July 8 and includes overnight accommodations in Shanghai because buses will leave early on July 9, 2010 for Xiuning. If you are living in China or would prefer to arrange your own transportation to Xiuning,  please plan to arrive in Xiuning in Anhui Province before dinner on Saturday, July 9, 2010.

Can we attend a portion of the tour, either arriving late or leaving early?
No and yes, we work as a family of volunteers - members of a team who will share different responsibilities and project assignments. We will have work teams for all of the projects, and teamwork means all hands on deck! You can certainly travel to China early on your own, if you’d like. If you would rather not join us in Beijing, you can end your participation in Xiuning on July 17 or in West Lake on July 18. Please contact us for the price of the program if you leave early. If you are interested in extending your stay and seeing more of China, you are invited to join the Yale Global Alumni Leadership Exchange Program which begins in Beijing when we arrive there and continues to Xi’an and Shanghai. The YaleGALE program ends on July 31.

I would like to travel to Shanghai with other members of the Yale group. Is there a group flight to Shanghai?
The program fee of $2,100 does not include international air arrangements. Continental Airlines has provided a discount code for all participants to use. It is available athttp://www.yalegale.org/china/Continental.pdf. YASC recommends that you compare airfares available from your area. Please arrive in Shanghai no later than July 8. The program finishes in Beijing on July 22.

Is there an extension for the trip? What if I want to see more of China while I am there?
The Yale Alumni Service Corps, AYA and the Yale Global Alumni Leadership Exchange have coordinated the plans for this program with the 2011 YaleGALE program in China. the YaleGALE initiative seeks the advancement of education through alumni engagement and leadership, fosters rich cultural understanding among participating universities, and shares best practices in alumni relations across institutions. In 2011, the YaleGALE program begins in Beijing on July 18, the same day that you will arrive in Beijing. YaleGALE will host the World Alumni Leadership Conference and work with the University of Peking and Tsing Hua University in Beijing, continue to Xi’an for a retreat, visit Shanghai to work with Fudan University and end in Hong Kong to work with New Asia College. There will be many people to meet and many sites to see along the way. Please visit the YaleGALE websitewww.yale.org/china.htm for more information and the itinerary for that program. The cost for the entire combined program from July 7 - 31, 2011 is $5,200 not including flights to and from China.

Will there be financial assistance available for this Service Tour?
There will be some funding for partial scholarships, primarily for Yale alumni and current Yale students for this program. Please be aware that available funding is extremely limited. Please submit the application available at http://www.yalegale.org/china/YASC_China no later than March 1. We cannot accept any other form of requests for funding at this time. You will be notified about any other scholarship funding that you have been granted by March 31. 
We encourage those of you who can to contribute to the Service Tour Scholarship Fund! Scholarship gifts are fully tax-deductible and enable talented alumni from diverse backgrounds to participate, enhancing the experience for everyone.

What will the weather be like?
Hot! Hot! Hot!… but we are ready for it – or as ready as we can be. The activities are planned to keep us as cool and rested as possible during the heat of the day. The hotel is air-conditioned but the school is not. Keep in mind, you may be working outdoors. It can get very hot on sunny days, though cooler on overcast or rainy days. We recommend that you be prepared for different temperatures.

What will we wear?
Comfortable work clothes. You will be working at community centers and project sites in impoverished communities, often outdoors. All excursions and group activities will be casual. There is no need for a coat and tie unless you’d like to dress up at your discretion. You may want to bring one or two nicer outfits for the evenings in Beijing and our Farewell Dinner but formal attire is not necessary. You should definitely bring a swimsuit.

What will accommodations be like?
We will be staying at the beautiful and modern Smoky Willow Resort and a very nice hotel in Beijing. Smoky Willow has all the comforts of a resort including a swimming pool and gym.

I have specialized skills that may be valuable to the service projects and I’d like to be involved in the project development. How can I do that?
Glad you asked! For several projects, we work with a committee of specialized alumni volunteers who provide expertise to help shape our service projects. If you may be interested in joining a volunteer committee for the China Service Program, please contact Kathy Edersheim ‘87 at kathy@edersheim.net  

What about medical emergencies?
We apologize for the error but please note that previous information reported in this section was incorrect. There is no insurance coverage provided by Yale or any other entity responsible for this trip. We recommend that each volunteer look into getting medical and travel insurance to cover this trip. Sometimes the site that you book your airfare through may offer this additional insurance or your current medical insurance company may cover some overseas care or offer additional supplemental insurance. Credit cards, in particular American Express, sometimes provide insurance if the card is used to charge the expense (as well as airline or current insurance). We encourage you to look into this since Yale cannot assume any responsibility for travel issues or medical emergencies or care costs.

What is the payment schedule for the program?
Deposit of $500 per person due by February 1, 2011
Second payment of $1,000 per person due by March 1, 2011
Final payment of $600 per person due by April 1, 2011
We will send a reminder before each due date.

All payments are non-refundable. To the extent that payments made exceed the scheduled amount, if you cancel your participation funds will be refunded to you. No refunds will be given for cancellation after April 1, 2011. No refunds will be given for unused portions of the program (including, but not limited to, unused meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing), for any reason.

What if I have to cancel my participation unexpectedly?
Please be aware that after the February 1, 2011 registration deadline, the program deposit is non-refundable. Following each payment deadline, the paid fees are non-refundable. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which would cover your expenses resulting from cancellation due to illness or accident. We are happy to send you a brochure from Travel Insurance Services, or you may obtain coverage through the company of your choice.

Can you provide information about travel insurance?
The Yale Alumni Service Corps strongly urges every tour participant to consider the purchase of trip cancellation and interruption insurance. While YASC and AYA are not able to give advice regarding travel insurance, we can provide information that we hope each traveler will consider carefully in deciding what to do about insurance.

Neither YASC nor AYA carries insurance that offers financial protection to travelers for cancellation of any or all of the trip for any reason. 

Should you decide to purchase insurance, you must choose what level of coverage you wish to obtain. Basic travel insurance is generally offered at several levels that protect a traveler from loss in the event that a traveler withdraws from a trip because of circumstances in the traveler’s personal life. Basic travel insurance also typically offers some level of protection in case of trip cancellations, trip delays or lost luggage.

However, basic travel insurance does not offer any protection in the event a tour is canceled by force majeure or other, similar events. That level of coverage is offered by some insurers under the heading of Cancel for Any Reason Coverage (CFAR) and is more expensive than basic travel insurance. It may be offered as a separate package or as an upgrade option for some basic plans. There are restrictions on CFAR coverage with respect to when it must be purchased, what level of coverage the traveler must buy and who is eligible to purchase it.

Many carriers offer travel insurance. Here is the contact information for two carriers offering travel insurance and CFAR:

Travelex Insurance
800 228 9792

Travel Insured
800 243 3174

We strongly recommend that tour participants consult an insurance company or visit the websites of either or both of these companies to come to an informed decision as to whether or not to purchase trip cancellation and interruption coverage and the appropriate level of coverage.

What if my questions are not answered here?
We’ll be delighted to address your particular questions and concerns. For more information, please contact Kathy Edersheim ‘87 via e-mail at kathy@edersheim.net  

See you in Shanghai!