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Last year I learned of a town in Sichuan that has a name that Chinese people tell me sounds like my surname.

The town is called "Danba" and is in Sichuan to the west of Chengdu. It turns out to be a Tibetan town with beautiful villages and views.

As a language enthusiast I like to learn some of each language I meet in my travels.

But I'm not sure how easy it will be to find a teacher of a minority language in China. It could help that it's one of the "major minorities" - one of the five languages written on every RMB banknote.

Does anybody know of Tibetan studies available to foriegners in the area?

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    Are you looking for a serious language school or just someone who could be able to teach you? And are you willing to be taught in Chinese or would you prefer English? Spoken Tibetan only or also written? +1 – mts Jul 13 '16 at 13:39
  • My Chinese is probably not good enough. I'd be most interested in something very casual. In Vietnam I could always meet people who loved helping me learn in cafes and street food stalls. Something in a community centre would be fantastic. But any info will be of interest. – hippietrail Jul 13 '16 at 13:42
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    Not going to post this as answer but probably (?) you will find someone who speaks somewhat understandable English and could try to negotiate a tandem with them. Never been to the area but e.g. at Kumbum monastery there were guides with good English and many Tibetans I met in Qinghai spoke decent to better-than-mine English. Some luck might be necessary but if you ask around you could find someone. Given the beauty of the area I would defs go and try. – mts Jul 13 '16 at 13:53
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As I posted earlier in comments, probably (?) you will be able to find someone who speaks somewhat understandable English and could try to negotiate a tandem with them. I've never been to the area but e.g. at Kumbum monastery there were guides with good English and many Tibetans I met in Qinghai spoke decent to better-than-mine English. Some luck might be necessary but if you ask around you could find someone. Given the beauty of the area I would defs go and try.

Alternatively It might be worth a try to contact Jamin “Lobsang” Lee of The Land of Snows. He is an expert on Tibet, working for NGOs, has a travel agency and author in many guidebooks, including the Lonely Planet which is the only book I fully recommend for China. But most importantly he claims on his website:

Understanding how difficult it can be to get accurate and current travel information on Tibet, Lobsang started The Land of Snows website in 2006 to assist travelers in planning their journey to Tibet. The site now has over 25,000 visitors per month. Lobsang receives nearly 3000 emails per year from across the globe from travelers asking him for advice on which areas of Tibet (and other areas of the Himalaya) to travel to and how to get there. Free of charge and regardless of which travel agency they use, he answers nearly 95% of these emails. To contact him for travel advice, send an email to: thelandofsnows@gmail.com

If that last part is true, it would be worth a try to shoot him an email and ask if he knows a suitable person in Danba.

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