The cultural tour of China that took place during the term break was a resounding success. Highlights of the tour included the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China in Beijing; the terracotta army and city walls of Xian; homestay in Hangzhou and Shanghai’s Pearl Tower, Bund promenade and bullet train. Through visiting these attractions and experiencing a broad range of cultural experiences, students and staff gained an understanding of life in the world’s most populous nation. This helped us to understand better our role as global citizens by learning that our way of life is not the only way of life.
I was particularly impressed with the consistently positive attitude of our students who were always willing to try new things to get the most from their trip. This included new foods, new forms of transport from rickshaws to bullet trains, new ways of shopping, exercise and entertainment and perhaps the biggest challenge of all, living with a new family for three nights. While many felt an initial sense of trepidation about this homestay this was soon overcome when we saw how excited the host families were to meet us all and to look after us. Another personal highlight was our impromptu Tai Chi lesson in a Beijing park that attracted an enormous crowd of interested and curious onlookers. My challenge for our students was to be our country’s best ambassadors and they rose to this challenge magnificently.
Many thanks must go to Mr Phillip McConchie for all of his efforts in organising the trip. I would also like to offer my thanks to Miss Tan, Mrs Fan and Mr Chittenden for their support in China. While travelling to a foreign country with 23 teenagers is not everyone’s idea of a relaxing holiday, the selfless attitude, attention to detail and care shown by each of these staff members meant that the trip was a positive experience for all.
Mr Mark Easton