All students are required to read a number of texts from the mentioned traditions; many of them will be explained or dealt with during the conferences and seminars. The syllabus will be provided in a defined, unchangeable way some time before the start of each term and before final confirmation to/from the accepted participants. Upon request, approximate information about the expected syllabus may be facilitated long before, but parts of it may be changed.
As example of what is likely to be the syllabus for the first level, that is usually for a starting term, one syllabus is added to this information in an appendix (see below). As said above, it plays only an orientating role.
FURTHER LEVELS IN PREPARATION
At present the program has only one level, the introductory one.
It is however expected that after the full implementation of this first level, a second, then a third level will be added, allowing further advancement in these matters.
Those interested in participating in the program should first contact the Dean to get more information about it, and then, with a view to the necessary selection of appropriate participants and to its limits (25 full participants + 5 auditors), they should enter in correspondence with the Dean in order to asses the suitability of the program for them and to select among them the maximal number of 25 full participants each term.
Applicants should further indicate if, in case they cannot be accepted as full participants, they would be willing to become auditors, and if, in case they are found suitable but the term they apply to may have become full, they are able to transmit their application to the next or the following terms.
FEES AND INDICATIVE LOCAL COSTS OF LIFE
The program is non profit. This means it aims at obtaining only enough income to keep the program going (rented meeting rooms, books, copies, web pages, use of internet, printing of information, its mailing, etc.), maintain the few people in the basic core directing it at local (provincial) Chinese cost levels and standards of life, and progressively expand minimally in order to better cover its own activities here in China ““ where over time a center in the form of a farm would be needed and in addition an office in town with connections with the West ““ ; as well as to establish some kind of outpost or office in the West, perhaps with some premises or dependencies there, too.
Therefore, and keeping in mind, as well, that the participants will have to fly from far away with considerable cost, the fees of the program are intended to be very low, specially in comparison with the income and standards or costs of life of Westerners, including students, in their native countries.
We have not a unique fixed fee, but we have established two different levels according to criteria such as income, financial means and strength of the national currency of a given person or costs of transport to China. The lowest fee level, however, is understood as an allowance due to financial weakness and/or to big travel expenses from the country of residence, while the higher fee level is understood as the normal one.
In practical terms, there are at present the following possible fees:
A) 85 euros a month.
B) 200 euros a month.
Besides, there is the possibility of total exemption of fees.
When applying indicatively, and when being accepted definitely, each applicant wishing to be considered for the lower fee will provide trustworthy information about his or her financial possibilities, and he/she will be told in which category he is considered to be. For those in the lower category documentation will be asked and it may be checked by third parties in their own country.
These fees cover only tuition, organization, information, preparation of trips, picking out at the arrival in the towns of the area connected by flight with the West, help in finding accommodation and in arranging trips, correspondence, rental of meeting rooms for all kind of courses or seminars, invitation to specialists or representatives of spiritual traditions, and special total exemptions of fees to a very small number of other participants unable to pay them in that or other terms.
These fees do not cover tickets in trips, costs of accommodation, or food.
However, indicatively we can say that the costs of these three categories are very low in this area of China:
– Accommodation can cost between 2 euros and 12 euros a night, the first being often quite OK, the latter being excellent. This would result in costs between 60 and 360 euros a month. Long rentals in villages are possible for as low as 10-15 euros a month (yes, a month) but are suitable only for young people or those coming from a farming background. There are, however, exceptions where fine, good or new rooms can be obtained at these latter price levels.
– Food can cost between 3 and 5 euros a day, the latter being two rich abundant good quality meals, the former more than enough though more simple. That results in between 90 and 150 euros a month. If you can cook at your chosen hostel, rental or homestay, the costs of eating become nearly amusing.
– Tickets of trips (besides these being few and facultative) usually amount from 4 to 8 euros for daylong autobus trips. As even in case some long common journey is agreed upon daylong autobus or train trips will be extremely few, these costs do not need to be taken into account. Only the tickets by train or plain for the initial trip between your arrival port and Kunming / Lijiang / Lugu Hu may amount to 80 or 100 euros.
The costs of the flight ticket from the West to here may be considerable, but even so the resulting average is very low. As an indication, the organizer spends some 500 euros a month as living expenses when moving in different places and therefore living in hostels, buying tickets etc., some 300 when staying in the same place all month. Many locals and some foreigners manage well with as little as half of these amounts.
The first monthly fee will be paid in advance upon admission and is not refundable, as it will be used in indispensable needs such as the rental of meeting rooms etc. The second and third monthly fees will have to be paid during the first week following the start of the course. If a participant decides to withdraw for a sound reason related to a fault of the center during the first month he will be refunded the fees of the next two months. After the first month, he will be refunded only a part proportional to the time left.
FULL EXEMPTION OF FEES
People coming from poor backgrounds who show a deep interest and suitability for the program or who show that taking the program may really change their lives, may apply for full exemption of fees.
People working for the program in one or another way that may be judged equivalent in value to the fees may as well apply for exemption of fees.
Exemption of fees can apply only in cases when at least a number of 12 full, non-exempted participants has been reached.
The maximal number of participants exempted from fees will be decided by the Dean and should for logical, practical reasons be kept very small.
Specially cheap or free accommodation in farms may be provided to participants exempted of fees.
As due to isolation from the West we sometimes need small products we cannot find in this area or even this country, nor get by mail from the West, in addition to their fees each of the full participants and of the auditors will be asked to bring with them as obligatory part of their payment for the course:
A) three books of their choice from a long list that will contain all kind of books and of prices (second hands are also welcome). (No Western books are available in China, and it is difficult to get them by post from the West; but travelers may bring with them legally whatever non-offensive books they want into the country). The list (mainly books on history, culture, philosophy, oriental studies etc. in different Western languages) will be made available upon application and posted in our web page when it is fully constructed.
B) some small product such as good coffee, pulverized milk, objects to prepare coffee, and small items that are uncommon in China or that the staff needs from the West. Not more than two good coffee packs and one pack of milk or the equivalent will be expected from a participant.