Paston College Trip to China

Paston College Trip to China

China, September 2013

Joan Cherry, Luke King, Claire Foulkes and Sophie Walmsley took 42 Sociology, History and Geography students on a once in a lifetime trip to China in July. The chance to observe at first hand the scale, the history and the culture and practises of the people proved a spectacular experience.

The trip was aimed at supporting students studying AS level History, where students study China under Chairman Mao’s leadership, and A level Sociology and Geography which involve studying the social, economic and environmental consequences of globalisation in modern society. The idea was that by sampling the culture and environment of China, it would bring their courses to life.

The students were fascinated by visiting world famous sites of historical significance both in and around Beijing such as the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. They visited the beautiful Temple of Heaven, China’s largest complex of ancient sacrificial buildings and spent an afternoon on a guided tour of the Forbidden City which was the Chinese Imperial Palace from the mid Ming dynasty and served as home of the Emperor and the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government.

The students also experienced life in the traditional courtyard residences of Beijing, taking an unforgettable rickshaw ride through the Hutong, and dining on a meal cooked and served in the home of a local family.

In Beijing they experienced directly the juxtaposition of prosperity and relative poverty, as they walked down its’ vibrant showpiece street where you can buy a lamborghini, around the corner from people selling barbequed crickets and sweeping the streets on bicycle carts for less than twenty pounds a week.

Other highlights included a tour of the now iconic Bird’s nest Olympic stadium, a visit to see the pandas at Beijing zoo, and a Kung Fu lesson at one of the city’s top martial arts schools. They had a lesson in the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy and also took part in a tea making ceremony. Before flying back to the U.K the grand finale of the tour included a visit to a traditional Chinese Acrobatic Show and an exciting trip to Pearl Market where they quickly learned quickly to barter with local people.

Emily Cunningham, studying A level Sociology said “It was an incredible trip, I had an amazing experience discovering a completely different culture with my friends, and it made my subjects seem even more relevant than before. The trips and visits at Paston College have made studying A levels really interesting”. Joan Cherry

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