ISA Student Experience China For The First Time

ISA trip to CHina
The ISA students enjoyed traditional Chinese style dining during their trip to China.

Over spring break March 4-13, the International School of the Americas (ISA) took a group of 19 students and 4 teachers to China. This group traveled to Beijing, Xi’an, and Jiamusi while in China. They experienced Chinese culture, language, and food first hand for 10 days.

While in Beijing, the student visited Tiananmen Square, the location of the 1989 Democracy Movement and massacre, and the Forbidden City, which is now open to the public as a museum to view what used to be the emperor’s palace. In addition, they took a rickshaw bike ride to a local family’s house for a typical cultural lunch, and visited the Temple of Heaven, where the emperor used to pray for a good harvest or good rains for the farmers and the people of China.

Afterwards, students visited a silk factory, watched a Chinese acrobatics show, and then ate dinner and returned to their hotel. All of that only occurred on the first few days! The next day, students and teachers hiked up the Great Wall! Many students managed to make it all the way to the very top of the mountain where the view was breath-taking. After, students ate yet another delicious meal and then visited the 2008 Olympic Venues. To finish off the day, students explored the 798 Art Zone for shopping and enjoyment of the street art. On their last day in Beijing, students visited the Summer Palace and went shopping at a local mall, and then took an overnight sleeping train to Xi’an.

ISA with partner school
The ISA students attended a welcome ceremony at its partner school, Jiamusi No. 1 High School.

In Xi’an, students visited the old city wall, which has almost as much history as the Great Wall of China itself. Next, students had the opportunity to visit the world famous Terracotta Warriors. The warriors were bigger than expected and were definitely more impressive in real life than in National Geographic pictures. To finish the shorter trip to Xi’an, students visited the Grand Mosque and the Muslim district of Xi’an.

From Xi’an, students flew up to Harbin, which is about a three hour bus ride away from Jiamusi, where ISA’s sister school is located. The next day, students had lunch and attended a welcome ceremony at the partner school (Jiamusi No. 1 High School). Afterward, there was a tour of the school and the Jiamusi local history museum. That evening, students went home with their host families for very different experiences. Students got a different experience with their hosts, but all were extremely excited to share stories the next morning at school. At school that day, students were placed into Chinese classrooms where they answered Chinese students’ questions about American culture and some other personal questions.

Thereafter, students sat through a single class before they joined the other Americans for culture classes, which included painting, several performances by Chinese students, a tea ceremony, and a traditional Chinese dance. That evening, students had dinner with their hosts before they went to the airport to head back to Beijing and, eventually, home.

Great Wall Painting
The students vist the Great Wall of China.
Students gave Chinese painting a try.
Gift Exchange
A special gift exchange was held between the two partner schools.


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