In the April school holidays, 14 Merici students visited China for the trip of a lifetime. Accompanied by Mrs Baines and Dr Powell, the group visited Shanghai, Beijing and Xi’an. These are among the world’s biggest cities and some of the most densely populated places on Earth. They are also home to the fascinating culture of China and many World Heritage sites. The students chose to visit China to enrich their study of Chinese Language, History or Hospitality. Through day tours of extraordinary sites, home stays with local families and classes at our sister school Tie Yi High School, the students gained an appreciation of the culture and people of China. Friendly people-to-people exchanges like this one help to prepare students for a 21st century in which Australians’ lives will no doubt be shaped in many ways by the influence of the People’s Republic of China.
While in China we were completely immersed in the language, everything around us was almost completely in Mandarin. It was a little bit scary but was also thrillingly challenging. I often struggle with speaking in my Chinese class due to my insecurity and shyness about using the language, but my teacher encouraged me to practice and speak as much as I could during the trip. By the end of the two weeks, I was able to comfortably engage in small talk with my host family and make purchases completely in Chinese. It was especially helpful to be able to relate the language and culture we learned in class to real life experiences, learning about the tradition of dumplings in class is a very different experience than sitting around the kitchen table making them with my host mother and sister. On my return to Australia, as well as a bunch of awesome memories, I have also gained more confidence in myself and my skills which is a huge step forward in my language journey.
Abigail Dunn, Year 12
From the perspective of a history student, China was filled with pieces of the past. China contains monuments which are thousands of years old, sometimes standing in the middle of the city, something quite different to Australia. Some historical highlights included the Beijing National Museum, the Terracotta Warriors, and in the Xi'an City Wall. One of the most memorable sites would have to have been the Great Wall. It was a challenging climb, but when we made it to the top, we could see how amazing this monument is. It spanned for kilometres across the mountains, and it was amazing to think we were walking on something built hundreds, and in some parts, thousands of years ago.
Rosalie Carter, Year 12
The China Study Tour that took place in the April school holidays was a fun experience. We were able to experience a new culture, see parts of the world we haven’t seen before and tried some amazing food. The food played a critical part in experiencing China’s culture and each destination gave us our own special experience. When visiting Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an we could eat lots of unique and traditional foods such as Beijing noodles, dumplings, and duck. While at our sister school Xi’an Tie Yi High School, we were given the opportunity to create dumplings and make sweet and sour pork. The most challenging thing about the China Study Tour is that the cuisine is very different compared to what we may eat at home. But we took on this challenge and tried as much new food as we possibly could. By doing this we were not only able to try a new cuisine but it also enabled us to understand the people and culture in China. It was an experience that I would never be able to forget.
Marisca Coetzee, Year 11