Singapore University of Social Sciences

Overseas Experiential Learning (Dunhuang-Gobi) (OEL303)

Synopsis

In the recent times, the overland Silk Road has garnered much historical attention from researchers and its contemporary awakening through the ambitious initiative of One Belt One Road (OBOR) by China has attracted voluminous economic analyses in the international media. Historically, it is often visualized as a region with prominent historical sites like the Dunhuang Grottoes in Gansu. The Gobi Challenge trek, pre-departure face-to-face seminar as well as fieldtrips to the museums analyses the formation of the world’s earliest global trading system and traces the roots of globalization. Culturally, the course will discuss one of the most well-read Chinese classics, “Journey to the West”, about a monk Xuan Zang (Triptaka) who passed through the Gobi desert on his way to India to collect Buddhist scriptures. The hardships encountered, cultural metaphors found in the contents inspired the Gobi Challenge trek. In the contemporary setting, the development of Central Asian and western Chinese economies in the Silk Road centres on infrastructure development and enhancing transportation and logistical connectivity. Large infrastructure projects and railway constructions have the intentions to slowly revive what was once a historically significant route for global trade. The pre-departure face-to-face seminar will discuss the challenges faced and potential opportunities arising from this ambitious economic initiative. Many qualities associated with the successful completion of the Gobi Challenge trek are synonymous with success in entrepreneurial enterprises. The OSM also includes a facilitated session that studies the reading on the personal philosophy of Jack Ma, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in China. Discussion of the readings in the facilitated sessions will help students identify, contextualize those qualities in different scenarios and develop a toolkit for future campus undertakings.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every January

Topics

  • Global trade: Then and Now
  • History of the Silk Road
  • Infrastructural development along the Silk Road and impacts
  • Contemporary geopolitical and economic issues pertaining to the One Belt One Road (OBOR) development

Learning Outcome

  • Develop understanding of the history of the Silk Road and the challenges/opportunities faced in reviving it in contemporary times.
  • Examine the key players behind infrastructure development, connectivity and the economic development of China and Central Asia and analyse their initiatives politically and economically.
  • Formulate and appraise their own conclusions with regards to contemporary issues and concepts presented in the course materials related to the overland One Belt One Road initiative.
  • Cultivate the Head (knowledge and skills), Heart (empathy and courage) and Habit (discipline and resilience).
  • Develop their qualities of leadership, teamwork, problem-solving skills and enterprise, through the common adversities the participants are expected to meet, and expected to overcome together as a team.
Back to top
Back to top