03 May 2017
Mandarin Study Trip to China 2017
At the end of last term, Mandarin students from Years 9 and 10 went on an exciting study trip to China. We visited many interesting historical sites, and were able to experience the large cultural difference between China and the UK in three different cities: Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing.
In Shanghai, to learn more about China’s rapid urban development, we took a walking tour of People’s Square, Nanjing Road and the Bund. We also took daily lessons at the Mandarin Garden School, to improve our knowledge of Chinese language and culture. At the TianZiFang Art District, we saw many weird and wonderful works of art, ranging from paintings to furniture. We then got a glimpse of Chinese history through a large collection of propaganda posters at the Propaganda Poster Museum.
In the evening, we went to an acrobatic show, and it was fascinating to see what the performers had in store for us, and later enjoyed night time views of Shanghai during a cruise on the Huangpu River.
We were introduced to the basics of Chinese Tea Culture while visiting a Tea House, and visited the Yu Yuan Gardens and Bazaar, where we had a chance to pick up some gifts and sample many Chinese delicacies.
We visited the Shanghai World Financial Centre, which is situated in Shanghai’s financial district, Lujiazui. Here we could enjoy views of the city from 474m above ground level in the eighth tallest building in the world. We were able to view many pieces of ancient Chinese art at the Shanghai Museum, ranging from ancient works of calligraphy, to beautifully carved jade masterpieces.
After taking a night train from Shanghai to Xi’an, we went to see the Terracotta Warriors, one of the country’s most impressive sights. The Muslim Quarter welcomed us next, with its exotic street food and lively atmosphere. The art and calligraphy street (Shu Yuan Men) was not only a great opportunity for us to explore Chinese art and calligraphy, but was also great for buying artistic souvenirs.
Travelling two hours outside of Xi’an, we visited the Qinling Mountain, in which we hiked for over an hour up to a tranquil temple, which offered amazing views of the mountainside.
Travelling outside the city once again, we visited an orphanage for children whose parents were in prison, and taught them English whilst playing various games with them. Following the orphanage visit, we rode bikes for approximately 14km on the ancient city walls surrounding Xi’an.
Anna Tragett and Caitlin Manchester
We travelled to Beijing via night train. Despite what we were told, some of us found the train more comfortable than the plane as it gave us an opportunity to talk to our roommates and experience a new form of travel.
The day we arrived in Beijing, we went to a middle school to meet Chinese pupils and see the difference between our school and theirs. Our school has individual subject buildings, while theirs is one whole building with classrooms grouped into what they teach.
Afterwards, we enjoyed Peking Duck with one student eating as many as 18 duck pancakes! We also travelled to the Temple of Heaven and took part in a Kung Fu lesson where we learnt self-defence and a very complex Kung Fu sequence. We visited the Lama Temple to learn about Buddhism in China where we saw a 26m sculpture that held a world record for being carved out of a single tree.
We visited the Pearl Market where we used our Mandarin knowledge to bargain with the relentless sellers. Luckily, we were able to see the giant pandas (China’s national animal) at the Beijing Zoo. Unfortunately they were all asleep.
On our last day, we conquered the Great Wall of China! Sadly, pictures cannot capture its beauty, history or the steepness of the stairs. It was a great challenge, but it was worth it. We all enjoyed it and can certainly recommend it. We would like to thank Miss Yin and Miss Chiang for the great opportunity.
Elizabeth Hamman and Serena Murdoch