By Susanna Wolk
Sixteen students explore China with the schoolâs eighth annual China trip. The goal of the trip, led by Chinese teacher Qinru Zhou, is to fully immerse the students in the culture and society of China.
The trip will consist of three different segments: The first five days will be spent in the countryâs largest city, Shanghai, and the surrounding cities Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Shaoxing. These cities on the Yangtze River and other smaller lakes are known for their historical silk production as well as their gardens.
On March 27, they will travel by train to Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, and Mount Taishan, where they will stay for the next three days. There, they will visit Confuciusâs memorial temple, attend a traditional Chinese dance show, as well as hike up the scenic mountain to a peak called the Heavenly Street. Zhou looks forward to waking up early to watch the sunrise at the summit with his students.
âCommercial tours for Westerners do not go this way,â said Zhou of this portion of the trip. â[It] will bring our trip to a certain depth of Chinese culture.â
The final four days will be spent in Beijing, visiting monuments like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Panda Zoo.
There will be an emphasis put on students being self-sufficient and improving their speaking skills.
âStudents will learn how to stay in China independently,â said Zhou. They will be expected to find their way around, shop, purchase transportation tickets and change currency on their own.
This year, Zhou chose to hold the trip over spring break to avoid the humid summer climate.
The 16 students enrolled in the program are in the eighth, ninth, and 10th grades. Although most are enrolled in Chinese courses, there are several students who will be speaking the language for the first time.