Explore China Trips
The following blurbs offer a glimpse into our amazing Explore China trips this year. We would like to thank our families for their support, our staff for their excellent work as chaperones, our students for their enthusiasm and our travel partner Extravagant Yak for their expertise and passion.
The G6 group travelled to Moxi, Hailuogou, and Kangding to experience the hot springs, tea making, religious architecture, and hiking. Even though the days were a bit wet, the students had fun and also learned about the local culture through interviews and food. They played games together and wrote journal entries. They were able to use their English writing skills, PHE cardio development and Humanities cultural awareness for connection to school. The students had an experience of a lifetime that they will not soon forget.
The Grade 7 students experienced an incredible trip to the Baima Tibetan Village, including the Bao’en Temple in Pingwu County, as part of an interdisciplinary unit with a theme on architecture, religion, and culture. Before going on the trip, students learned some background information about Tibetan culture in their humanities class. In design, they have been working on bridge structures. During this trip, students visited and explored the Bao’en Temple, learned some traditional dance and music, hiked Shagi Valley Mountain, experienced different types of Tibetan food, and tried on traditional Baima Tibetan costumes.
The Bao’en Temple is considered the best preserved Ming architecture in Sichuan province. It is more than 560 years old.
One thing that students learned was finding out why a rooster is an important symbol to the Baima Tibetan villagers. They witnessed and tried to make a hat made of sheep wool to themselves.
Even though it was a long hike for some students, everyone kept going and helped each other move forward. They learned how to be patient and supportive of others. We didn’t get to the top of the mountain because the strong current of a river on the way blocked the way up. During the hike, students learned how to make paper boats and competed with each other to float their boat.
During our homestay with the Baima family, students helped with some chores, such as preparing and cleaning the table, washing dishes, and mopping the floors. This experience made them realize how to appreciate a simple lifestyle, adapt to different cultures, take a risk and be open-minded, and enjoy being in nature.
What a wonderful few days the Grade 8’s have had! It began with a visit to a Naxi Village on Sunday afternoon, where the students learned how to cook traditional Naxi food and were taught how to embroider. After an early flight the pupils headed for bed early and arose on the Monday at 5:45am. After breakfast, we headed for Jade Dragon Mountain(Yulong) to ascend the cable car to 4,600 metres. We learned that Yulong is the nearest snowcapped mountain to the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere. We also took a short bus ride to experience the azure waters that flow from the glacier meltwater, down the rivers and cascades on the slopes of Yulong. In an open-air amphitheater, the local minority peoples’ culture was showcased with dancing and music in the famous Lijiang Impressions Show, surrounded by the towering peaks all around us. On the Tuesday, we spent time in Lijiang’s beautiful old town, interviewing people for our IDU presentation, whilst taking in the sights, sounds and smells of this busy and well preserved market town. In the afternoon, we traveled to Shigu Village where we got to see the first bend of the Yangtze River and visit the Red Army Memorial Museum.
On Wednesday, before heading to the airport, we set out to visit Yuhu Village which is nestled beside Snow Mountain. Here we visited the famous botanist and well respected Joseph Brock’s home followed by a visit to a local villager’s home where we learned how to do calligraphy of Naxi language and how to make soya milk. Our time in Lijiang has been one we will remember for years to come as we learned, laughed and made everlasting memories whilst having fun with our classmates.
Grade 9 and 10
Our fun and adventurous Grade 9s and 10s were able to visit Yangshuo on their Explore China trip.
The first day included an unfortunate delay at the airport in Chengdu, which forced our hosts to compress the day’s schedule. After landing in Guilin, we took a bus to our campground just outside of Yangshuo proper. On arrival, we began making our dough for pizza crusts. While those were rising, the students were given a quick lesson in setting up their tents and then they got right into it. The students were very adept at preparing their campsite and we were able to get back to making our delicious pizzas very soon. After an amazing meal and a short meeting about the next day, it was off to bed.
Thankfully, everyone in our group was able to get a good sleep because the second day of our trip was jam-packed! We began the morning with an exciting and challenging bike ride in our area. This really allowed everyone to feel a connection to the stunning Karst mountain landscape of Yangshuo. After a hearty lunch, we made the short walk to a rock-climbing site where our local partners from Terra Tribes had set up four separate climbing routes of varying difficulties on the imposing wall of limestone. Thanks to their guidance and the risk-taking nature of our group, we all experienced a challenging and exhilarating afternoon. Time flies when you’re having fun, and before we knew it, it was time to head back for dinner and get ready for our evening activity. We drove into Yangshuo and were really fortunate to have front-row seats for the awe-inspiring Impression Liu Sanjie, a live show with hundreds of performers interacting with the landscape to create an unforgettable experience. Legendary director Zhang Yimou has created this famous show which truly impressed.
Our third day provided an opportunity to visit a local primary school and enjoy memorable interactions with the young students there. Our group built bookshelves for their classrooms, provided lessons in music, literacy and PHE, while also painting a lovely mural that will really help to bring their campus to life. It was a glance into another world for teachers and students and helped us to reflect on how lucky we truly are. It was something that will stay with us always. The afternoon brought us to a local master who taught us the traditional art of Chinese Ink painting, with our medium being lovely folding fans. It was a nice change of pace to calmly focus on our creativity and the group produced many beautiful works of art.
That evening we stayed in a hotel in Guilin, as we had an early flight the next day. Upon returning to Chengdu, the students came back to school and began working on presentations which acted as an MYP reflection for their Inter Disciplinary Units. We were very pleased with the thoughtful work that our group produced.
All in all, it was a truly incredible moment in time, which we will all remember forever. We would like to thank our staff chaperones for their commitment in making this experience special for our students, as well as our travel partners at Extravagant Yak and Terra Tribes for all of their hard work.
The Grade 11s will be telling us about their Explore China experience with the CAS Trip Newsletter this week. The CAS Media committee will be putting together a great write up that we can all look forward to.
Go Red Pandas!