To round off a challenging, yet highly successful academic year in Sociology, 19 students and 3 staff members embarked on an incredible 10 day visit to China as part of their studies. Immersing themselves in three of China’s most fascinating cities, the group were able to compare and contrast life in England to life in China; an experience which proved to be one they will never forget.
The capital city, Beijing, provided the starting point to this action packed adventure as the group visited world famous sights such as the Great Wall of China and Tiananmen Square, along with day-trips to the Forbidden City and Summer Palace to gain an insight into how emperors used to live. Following four days in Beijing the group travelled in style via the bullet train to Hangzhou where they explored Buddhist temples, involving themselves in local customs and rituals. The opportunity to observe a different way of life in a more tranquil and green city was a highlight for many, and took them beyond the usual tourist experience.
This privileged cultural experience was rounded off with an evening at a Chinese show, directed by the man responsible for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on West Lake, which brought some of the group to tears after seeing an unbelievable story played out on the surface of the water under a starlit sky, set against the stunning scenery of Hangzhou lit up in the background.
The mega city Shanghai provided a fitting location to bring such an incredible visit to a close, and was a hit with all the students who enjoyed shopping in the local markets and visiting the World Financial Centre building, where they ascended to 474 metres to look out over a city of 25 million people, before rounding off the day with a spellbinding show by incredible acrobats, performing stunts on motorcycles and juggling fire! The visit was brought to a climax with an unforgettable evening boat trip on the Hangpu River to watch the lights shine on one of the most amazing city skylines in the world. Mel Walsh, 16, said, “I really didn’t want to come home. This whole experience has opened my eyes and I have learned so much about another part of the world.”
Sociology Tutor Christopher Peacock said, "It was wonderful to watch such an energised and engaged group of young people travel around China and apply what they have learned in class. As our students have interacted and spoken with the local people they have grown in confidence and understanding about the world. It has had a tremendous impact on each of them.”
Principal Peter McGhee added, “It has been wonderful to see the experience of our students on social media whilst in China, and listen to stories of their adventures. I know these experiences will live long in the memory of our students and prove invaluable in their future study and beyond.”