Academic | Posted 20.04.2016

China

Our experience in China was life-changing. There are no words to express how it feels like to practice tai chi on the top of the mountain or to give the first lesson to a class of little children who had been looking forward to meeting us for months. Those three weeks of discovering China were absolutely the time of our lives, and even though this experience may seem ineffable, we will try to give you the best overview of the trip we possibly can.

When we first arrived we did not really know what to expect. For us it was a completely new culture and although we had heard many things about China before we departed, it is always different when you experience things in person. After a long time traveling we met some of the members of the YOU’s team (the school where we taught) who were extremely friendly, and they took us to a hotel. Once we had recovered our energies we were really keen to meet the children and vice versa; they gave us a very warm welcome. It was quite remarkable to see how much they admired us; most of the people we met had never seen a European before and they seemed to be fascinated by us because they kept taking pictures of us.

We really enjoyed the time we spent teaching because the children were very enthusiastic and although some of them were a bit shy, they loved taking part in games. We stayed at host families and the children from our families were also in the school, this meant that we could get to know each other better and it was nice to speak to them about how they were finding the lessons. Every day before teaching they took us to see places round the area. Once we went to an old village, another day we went “floating” on the river and we even climbed up a mountain! In the evenings we also had activities such as tai chi or karaoke.  We particularly enjoyed the tai chi and the calligraphy sessions because they gave us an insight to the Chinese culture and we were very curious to learn more about their traditions. We were also shocked by the sorts of things the Chinese eat but in general food was delicious; although we did go for a western-food restaurant once or twice.

Finally, we spent the last few days in Bei Jing where we visited the Forbidden City (see photo). We also visited the Olympic Stadium but unfortunately we didn’t go inside. The Great Wall of China was amazing, the views were staggering and it was probably our favorite places along with the Summer Palace and its beautiful lake, where we went round on a boat.

The trip was a dream that came true. The night before we left we all felt really sad to go back home and we are all hoping to go back to China.

By Zosia Witkowska, Wilhelm Scheer-Hennings and Rachel Ordóñez Herrera.