The China Study Tour 2012 was the highlight of the year for all Year 10 and 11 Mandarin students including teachers at QASMT and QAHS involved. Our tour was seventeen days in total covering the cities Beijing, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Xitang and Shanghai. A total of 32 SMT students and 12 HS students took part in the tour, led by Mr Leong, Ms Tseng, Ms Holland and Mr Overland.
The Study Tour was an enlightening cultural experience for all of us, as well as an opportunity to improve the conversational skills that we learnt after one or two years of learning Mandarin. It was also very fulfilling to be able to practice and apply the knowledge of what we learnt in class. Some of us were more anxious about speaking in Chinese whilst others were more outgoing. However, all in all, everyone took away something of value from this experience. We had various opportunities to speak in Chinese including the ‘Amazing Race’ activities in Beijing and Shanghai which involved catching public transport and visiting various places like Wangfujing Street (a bit like Madison Square) in Beijing from the Bund in Shanghai. It was fun and exciting to be able to plan and explore both cities in teams, where group-working and team-player skills played an important part in the activity. We also had the opportunity in free time to roam and explore places we visited including the Silk Markets, Temple of Heaven, in Beijing, the campus and surrounding shopping districts of Wuhan University, Hubei Museum, the quaint and traditional Xitang village, Shanghai’s Nanjing Road, Yu Yuan Garden and the Old China Town in the vicinity, or a casual stroll or tandem bike ride around West Lake in Hangzhou.
One of the many highlights of the China Tour was in Wuhan when we visited and took part in the program of a high school class during which many of us made friends. We also had the opportunity to get to know and talk to some senior citizens when we visited a retirement home. It was great to converse with the older generation and some of us heard many interesting and wonderful stories about their past. Those who often didn’t have many visitors were uplifted by the opportunity to talk with us on our visit. A lot of us also found bargaining an interesting experience when shopping, and it was another great way to practice our Mandarin skills.
We stayed for six days in Wuhan University and attended Mandarin lessons. We also lived on campus and experienced what it was like to be a university student in China. During our stay we were exposed to Chinese culture through our cultural lessons in the afternoon which included, Beijing Opera, calligraphy, knotting and Kung Fu. Besides learning and practicing speaking Mandarin, we went to some amazing places, including Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City in Beijing, Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan, Lingyin Bhuddist Temple and Leifeng Pagoda in Hangzhou.
The China Study Tour 2012 was a once in a life time experience and a rare opportunity to explore a different country as well as form new friendships. We must acknowledge the hardwork and fantastic effort that our teachers Mr Leong, Mr Overland, Ms Holland and Ms Tseng put into organising an amazing and memorable trip.
By Royce Danam and Roy Zhu, students