The moment we’ve all been waiting for is here. After a three-year hiatus over the Covid pandemic, China’s doors are finally open to tourists – and that means school trips to China, too.
A young person’s amazement as they walk along the same stones of the Great Wall they’ve heard can be seen from space, or gazing up at the unearthly karst mountains from the Li River in Yangshuo, is an irreplaceable experience which will ignite curiosity for the world’s fastest growing economic power. Whether studying Chinese, geography, economics or history, their future careers will most likely have a link to China, and an understanding of the country’s history and its people will be an invaluable asset.
China is ready to showcase its splendour and subtlety once again to the outside world, and here’s how a visit to this diverse country can enhance your pupils’ classroom experience.
Chinese language and culture: Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing
What better way is there to experience a true snapshot of China than to fly into its ultra-modern commercial capital, and make your way by cross-country train to its political capital, passing through its ancient capital along the way?
In Shanghai, marvel at the skyscrapers from a boat on the Huangpu River and examine the variety of colonial architecture on the Bund. Learn authentic phrases in a Mandarin lesson, and use them to barter for souvenirs at the Yuyuan Bazaar.
Take a sleeper train to Xi’an, where you will see the amazing Terracotta Warriors, built to protect the tomb of China’s first emperor over two thousand years ago. Use your newly acquired language to order snacks in the city’s Muslim quarter, whose history can be traced back to the Tang dynasty (7th-10th centuries) when Xi’an, then called Chang’an, was the centre of Chinese civilization.
Take another overnight train to Beijing, where emperors and presidents have ruled since the 14th century. See the spot from where they have all ruled at Tian’anmen Square, with the imperial Forbidden City on one side, and modern government buildings on the other. Take part in a kung fu lesson, watch an acrobatic show, and hike the Great Wall: this city has something for everyone.
Business and technology: Shanghai, Guiyang and Beijing
With China’s rapid transition from the world’s factory floor to global technology giant, there is so much to discover in its high-tech supercities.
Beginning in Shanghai, chart the city’s rise across the 20th and 21st centuries with a tour of its most famous sites: the Bund, Nanjing Road, and People’s Square. Visit the headquarters of a successful business, where you will enjoy a lecture and Q&A with a speaker at the forefront of China’s economic development.
Take a short flight to Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province in the south of China. Here, visit FAST, the Five hundred metre Aperture Spherical Telescope, a huge aluminium dish known as the “Eye of Heaven” that can look into space. Visit the Guiyang Big Data Centre to learn about how technology is shaping our lives today.
Another short flight takes you to Beijing, where you will visit Noicom for a hands-on VR experience, and learn about motion capture technology and its uses in top-flight sports events. See the sights, trek a stretch of the Great Wall, and enjoy a kung fu performance. Tradition truly meets modernity in this exhilarating city.