China Trip - July 2010

Categories: School News School Trips

On July 13th 2010, three pupils from St Ninian’s High School and two from Douglas Academy set off for the buzzing metropolis of Beijing. Josh Hunter, Brie Friel, Jonathan Peters (SNHS), Ellana Watson and Jennifer Newton (Douglas Academy), arrived home three weeks later, bursting under the weight of their now over packed baggage and with enthusiasm for China and all things Chinese. The group was accompanied by Ms McCahill from St Ninian’s and the purpose of the visit, organised by The British Council, LTS and Hanban, was to promote awareness of Chinese culture and language through cultural visits and an intensive three week Mandarin course. The itinerary was packed with visits to some of China’s most famous landmarks. The group conquered a section of The Great Wall, which, as its name would suggest, was absolutely great. They also spent a fascinating and relaxing morning at The Temple of Heaven. Although the temple itself was quite a sight, it was in the grounds of the surrounding area where the group had most fun. The park was abuzz with people singing, dancing, practising Tai Chi, playing cards & dominoes or doing shuttlecock keepy-uppies. The atmosphere was incredible with everyone, old and young, involved and performing freely for their spectators from the West. Not to be outdone, the East Dunbartonshire pupils showed the Chinese how to do a “Dashing White Sergeant”. This went down a treat and gathered quite a crowd. Indeed, this became a common occurrence throughout the trip. Many, many incredible places were visited, such a Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Summer Palace, yet, despite the grandeur of each of these, the main attraction for the other tourists seemed to be the pupils from East Dunbartonshire, who posed for countless photos. Their faces quite possibly adorn several mantelpieces in China by now. The warmth and friendliness of the Chinese people was remarkable and the group was made to feel extremely welcome and important. They were treated like stars.  Of course, there was some hard work involved as well, with three hours of Mandarin a day and a final exam to pass. It was a once in a lifetime journey, each day bringing new and exciting experiences. The food itself was an adventure with some delightful dishes and others which required a slightly more daring pallet, such as, fish-flavoured pork or scorpion. Trying out newly acquired skills in Mandarin at the busy markets was also a great deal of fun, with all members discovering the art of bartering, so much so, that  the 30kg baggage allowance for the journey home was beginning to seem rather paltry. However, they made it, back to Scotland, in time for exam results and the new school session. The group would like to thank those who made the visit possible and would thoroughly recommend a visit to China to all. The pupils have also been home a few weeks now and life without the adoring crowds has just not been as exciting. So, if you do see one of them around, please be sure to say hello, or even take their picture!