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Through travel scholarship programs, the Pureland Project supports Tibetan - Native American connection. 

There are so many shared characteristics between indigenous cultures.

We help connect more indigenous peoples by offering scholarships for travel to meet one another in their homelands. Each tour with over 8 participants that the pureland projects offers, we will offer one placement for a Native American person who is working or aspires to work with issues of cultural sustainability, resilience or traditional arts or healing.


Travel Overland from the Food Capital of China, Chengdu, through some of the most beautiful landscapes and diverse cultural areas into the Tibetan Plateau. We will land in the village of GarGon, where we will stay to offer some service work and learn from Tibetan Nomads.



International and Domestic airfare and overland travel, 3 meals a day (mostly vegetarian) and accommodations for 2 people per room. Soft drinks and extra snacks not included. Daily yoga and meditation instruction as well as AA meetings and sober support if wanted.

*Additional personal expenses: passport + Chinese Visa $130 + Personal travel Insurance (1 month) $80 + Spending Money $300 (special additional day tours to go to a Panda sanctuary etc. are offered through the guest house)

Deadlines: Applications due to the Pureland Project by March 11 to hold your spot. Passport must be obtained by March 31st. We have 1 full scholarship available per year.

Air Travel: We will try to bring the scholarship student prior to the sober group to give an extra orientation and perhaps make some extra community talks. Other tour Participants (see recovery trip) will arrive in Chengdu, China (CTU) on May 17th and to depart Chengdu, China on June 1st.You would be welcome to stay on as long as you like at your own expense!



The area of Tibet we will journey to is known as Kham. It is considered the wild west of Tibet, inhabited mostly by nomads, as the rugged mountains are not hospitable to any other way of life. Tours to the region are quite rare, yet as roads are built, the area is subject to rapid change.


We will begin the tour in Chengdu in Sichuan Province of China. Chengdu a culturally rich and diverse city in the Western region of China. From Chengdu we will fly up to Yushu in Qinghai Province and travel to Nangchen.


Our time in Nangchen will be spent primarily in Nangchen. Meg (Registered Yoga Teacher) will offer yoga and meditation each morning in the monastery for those interested. After breakfast she will share Tibetan lessons, after which the clinic rotations will begin. The volunteers will enjoy home style Tibetan meals prepared by our favorite school chef. Between clinic sessions the team will take field trips to meet lamas at monasteries, hike to a sky burial site, and visit a Tibetan Host Spring.  From Nangchen we will head back to Chengdu via plane from Yushu. We will have a final celebration dinner in Chengdu before boarding our flights back to the US

Expectations and Conditions: This trip includes 4 days on the road. In order to reach the monastery of Gargon, the group travels over roads that are long, bumpy, and dusty. We may need to cross rivers in jeeps, wait for landslides to clear, push our vehicles out of sticky spots or make detours. The altitude is high, the food choices are limited, and the group may camp for one night. Hot showers are mostly in Chengdu and toilets on the road are mostly outhouses. The travel is challenging and rewarding! Stamina, patience, and good teamwork are required. Students will learning to become skilled international travelers. Any student with some wilderness experience will feel at home. Photo opportunities are unparalleled.

Requests: We hope that the scholarship student will prepare the following:

1) a multimedia presentation on your culture to share with Tibetans

2) a written review of the trip and your experience within a week of your return from the journey.


Participants must be drug and alcohol free and abstain from any and all use of mind altering substances during the sober part of the tour.


You will be given a portfolio of 10-12 articles to read that cover the foundational aspects of the culture, history of Tibet.



Margaret “Meg” Ferrigno PhD founder and Executive Director of the

Pureland Project. Molly McGinn PhD Managing Partner, TreeHouse Learning Community.


Meg voluntarily organizes the tours to raise funds for Garchen Rinpoche’s village school projects which she manages under the Pureland Project. Meg speaks Tibetan and spent several years in Tibet at Gargon.


Molly is the co-founder of TreeHouse Learning Community in Prescott and Tempe. She is in long term recovery, has her doctorate in Anthropology and did some of her fieldwork in Tibet. She taught at the Academy of Science in Chengdu for a year in the 80’s before working in Tibet.

$2,678 scholarships available


May 16th meet in Chengdu

We will pick you up at the Chengdu Airport. We will stay two nights to rest in a great little youth hostel where you can connect with other travelers and explore this city. Readings will be provided for participants to complete before their arrival.

May 17th & 18th Chengdu

We will take the day to explore Chengdu and experience the different cultures that live here. Attend Talk by Native American group leader and students accompanied by documentary film. Attend talk by Tibetan professor and be part of a panel discussion on cultural sustainability. Evening time sharing or cultural songs and dances.

May 19th- 20th Drive from Chengdu to Garze to Shershul to Yushu

After a chinese breakfast, we will Begin our drive to Yushu (Jeykundo-Tib.) We will drive through different Tibetan regions for 2days, resting in Jeykundo, a fabulous little town where we will stay overnight. This district center was leveled by an earthquake in April of 2009. We will take an hour to do khora- circumambulation of some holy sites in Yushu and learn about the history of the region.

May 21st Yushu to Nangchen to GarGon
We will then depart for our 4 hour drive to Nangchen (Sharda- Chin) h ttp:// , where we will have lunch and take a stroll through the town some have likened to the wild west! The next four hours in the jeep will be incredibly scenic as we leave the beaten path and enter the truly nomadic regions of the borderlands. We will reach the monastery in time for dinner, meeting some of the community with whom we will spend the next week of study.

May 22nd-27th GarGon

Morning meditation (h ttp:// and yoga ( will be offered for 2 hours each morning for the remainder of the trip. Breakfast will be followed by a hour long Tibetan language class. We will spend our days hiking and working with the village children to help them learn English. We will be working on greenhouse projects with the local villagers and learning from a skilled agriculturalist about high altitude growing and harvesting techniques. During this time we will stay in the lower monastery, taking hikes to different sites. These is one of the most exotic and remote cultural experiences possible for young Westerners.

May 28th GarGon to Yushu

We will say our goodbyes in the morning and drive to Nangchen for lunch and make it to Yushu for dinner. Students can explore town and take hot showers.

May 29th flight Yushu to Chengdu We will fly back to the City and spend a night at a Tibetan night club, seeing how the Tibetan culture is relocated in Chinese cities.

May 30th Chengdu

We will enjoy an authentic Chinese Buffet, discover a Chinese Temple of Wuhou, and visit the Tibetan night market. Meeting up with Tibetan friends.

May 31st Chengdu Free Day! You can plan a trip to see pandas, hang out at a Chinese tea house or go shopping. We will enjoy our last night together over hot pot. We will have a closing circle and reflect on the big experience we will certainly have had.

June 1st Those who are headed back to the states will be taken to the airport for their flights back and those who have arranged to stay on and travel in Tibet or other areas of China may continue on from Chengdu

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