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Destination: CHINA 2020

From January 6-17, a group of 24 students led by teacher Alice Davidson will visit multiple cities to explore the rich history and culture of ancient and modern China. The Interim Term travel experience begins in Beijing, where students will visit the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Great Wall of China as well as other sites. During a visit to the modern port city of Tianjin, students will see the home of the Last Emperor of China and the Zhou Enlai Memorial. Students will take a high-speed train to visit the Terracotta Warriors and artifacts from the Han and Tang Dynasties in Xian and learn how to make dumplings and stretch noodles. In Guilin, they will ride a bamboo raft down the Li River. Additional excursions include tobogganing down the Great Wall, learning how to cut jade and grade pearls, discovering Tai Chi, taking part in a tea ceremony, and visiting the Pandas at the Beijing Zoo!

Follow our students' travel blog below:

DAY 10

Today we woke up early and had a traditional breakfast that was a mix of Western and Chinese food. After breakfast and check out we participated in a Tai Chi lesson. This lesson taught us four different moves with a certain rhythm out of the 180 that exist. This lesson allowed us to use our flexibility and strength to overcome the stress in our body and lives. After our Tai Chi lesson we enjoyed a painting lesson. In this painting lesson we used a fine animal hair brush to paint a lake, house, trees, and mountains like the ones in southern China. This lesson was calming and allowed us to tap into our inner talents. After our morning activities we went to lunch where we enjoyed pumpkin soup, noodles, vegetables and rice, which are very southern Chinese meals as well as some spaghetti and even pizza! After our day of activities we headed to the airport for our flight to Beijing. After arriving in Beijing we enjoyed several large boxes of pizza and quickly went to bed after a long day.C

Caroline Miller '21

Today we started the day with practicing Tai-Chi. This teaches your body the ability to relax fast. The best part was watching our master show us self-defense and I got to be a part of his demonstration. The demonstration was really cool because he showed us moves we could do in real life. We learned that in order to practice Tai-Chi your body must be very relaxed or your body would just be too tight to perfom the movements the master made. The master has been practicing Tai-Chi for 25 years. Next Was a painting class and learning how to paint a river with a mountain in the background. It was super cool because we learned that Chinese painters use less water and more ink to make it dark, so that they won't have to go over the drawing more than once. When we got to Beijing, Mrs. Davidson's daughter, Emily, brought pizzas for all of us. It was the best pizza I have ever had. I just want to thank all the teachers for this trip, it has been an unforgettable experience.

Wells White '22

Our second to last day in China! Today in Yangshuo we had breakfast in the hotel as usual followed by a Tai Chi lesson by a master teacher. Tai Chi is a slow Chinese movement that is performed by many people in Chinese culture. It was very relaxing, but it was difficult for me and many of my friends to pick up the movement because it's very different than anything we've done before and you had to be very patient to move so slowly. Next, we had another calming yet challenging activity. The Chinese Ink painting was very complicated because you have to get the right amount of water and paint to create the right strokes. We painted a village with mountains, trees, houses, etc. Everyone had the technique down by the end and the products were super cool. Lastly, we had our last meal of the trip. We ate lunch at a guest house and got to enjoy a beautiful view of moon hill and the fog surrounding it. After lunch, we headed to the airport for a flight back to Beijing. Our first tour guide, Leo, picked us up from the airport. It was so great to see him again! Ms. Davidson's daughter, Emily, had pizzas ready for us in the hotel lobby! Such a great end to the trip.
Elena Cokinos '21


Today we started the day off at a tea plantation in Guilin. I learned that black, green, white, and oolong tea all come from the same plant which I thought was really interesting. We also watched them perform a tea ceremony which was similar to the one we do every year in Ms. Liang's class, but this was way more formal and precise. I found it funny when the teacher told us that you can tap with 1, 2 or 5 fingers as a way to say thank you, but you can't use 3 or 4 because 4 is an unlucky number in China and 3 means you're married but available. We tried high mountain yellow, osmanthus, and 6 dragon tea. They were all pretty good but my favorite was probably the osmanthus tea because it wasn't too sweet or too bland. Afterward, we drove through the mountains to go on a boat ride on the Li River. The boat ride was so peaceful and picturesque with several tall mountains and foggy skies. It truly felt like a scene straight out of a movie. Surprisingly, the water was pretty shallow and I often saw the rocky bottom of the river which was kind of nerve wrecking but also pretty cool. This was definitely one of my favorite activities out of this entire trip and I wish we could've stayed here longer. After that, we went to West street where we could shop and buy souvenirs or food. I really enjoyed looking around at the cute little trinkets, but i'm really bad at bargaining so i didn't buy much. They also had lots of street food and even KFC which seems to be pretty common in China. Overall, the clean air and unique scenery made Guilin one of my favorite cities to stay at.
Samantha Ho '21

Today I woke up and went down to breakfast. There I sat with Karma, Sofia, and Mary Ann. We got on the bus and realized that we were missing Cory and Wells. They were both still asleep. On the way to the tea institute the guide told us about the history of the city and about the climate in the region. When we got to the tea institute they gave us the big circular hats. We took lots of really cool pictures because there were mountains in the background. The institute has 86 acres of fields for tea. We learned about the types of teas. There are certain types of teas that are only here in this region. My favorite tea is the one that has 5 different types in it. It has the best flavor and the most amount of flavor. The guide explains that it's rich in minerals and other things. We tried 3 types and the third is definitely my favorite. The hills and landscape look like the classic Chinese paintings. It is really beautiful. The drive to the restaurant where we had lunch was so pretty. There were so many farms and hills. We went to an outdoor mall. I didn't get anything. We are headed to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I think we are having BBQ. Oh and Alex bought a fake Rolex for 65 dollars. He also bought a fake LV duffle for 1400.

Andrew Archer '22

We woke up and had breakfast after having a long flight yesterday. Our tour guide told us that Guilin has weather like a jungle. Guilin used to be the capital but it was changed to Beijing. Guilin also only had two factories one for Chinese medicine and another for South Korean company. It also has better air quality than Xi'an. Our guide told us that you have to know two things to survive in China, one be able to weave through traffic in your car or walking and, two being able to bargain when u shop in the markets. Chinese people used firecrackers to signal their families when something bad had happened because it was hard to contact them with all the hills and mountains Guilin has. Once we got to the tea plantation they gave us tea hats to wear so when it rained we didn't get that wet. Next to the fields there was a section of geese. Our tour guide at the tea plantation told us that there are around 260 kinds of tea leaves that they grow there. They took us to a tea ceremony. After going to the tea plantation we took a long drive to where we were going to have lunch and go on bamboo rafts. The bamboo rafts were really fun and we got to see where the picture from the twenty yuan was from. the ride was really cold but worth it. Then we went to the West St. that had really authentic shops and everything was really cheap. For dinner we were able to have western food. There was spaghetti and pizza and french fries that were all really good. Overall today was really fun in Yangshou. We were able to see a lot of fun non touristy things. The West St. had the shops where you would go to the back room to see the really expensive "designer" bags. The bamboo raft was also one of my favorite parts of today because it something you don't see everyday. The mountains were really interesting looking because they looked like mounds that were all connected to each other. The ride through the mountains to get to our lunch and the bamboo rafts was really scenic. The road was really windy and narrow but the view that we were able to see was amazing. At one point we were driving through a cloud. Our bus drivers have all been really good drivers being able to weave through everything.
Sofia DeMeo '22


Today we went to the Xi'An city wall. The weather was cold and windy, and we got to ride bikes along the wall. We got to see the Chinese lanterns and decorations in preparation for Chinese New Year, which is the Year of the Rat. After we got back to the bike rack, there were a lot of Chinese students, who wanted to take pictures of us. Later, we traveled to an active Buddhist temple, where there were at least 60 monks on site. First, we visited the Grand Hall, which was the main site of the temple. The Grand Hall had the statues of eighteen luohan, which were located on the east and west walls. We also burned sticks of incense in front of the shrines. Then we had the opportunity of seeing the Dayan Pagoda, which was built during the Tang Dynasty. The structure was a famous type of Chinese architecture. It was very interesting because the temple wasn't made with a single nail. After the temple, we got to see an ancient sutra. Next we took a Chinese calligraphy lesson. The ancient Chinese artists use a solid ink stone and grind it to form the ink. They also used rice paper-- it's called rice paper but is made from bamboo. They use rice paper because it does not crease. Many of the paintings are of landscapes and animals. I enjoyed learning about Chinese calligraphy. This was our last day in Xi'An, and we are now off to Guilin. I am very glad that I could experience this time in China.
Mary Ann Cabes '22

We started our day by biking on the Xi'an city wall. The ride was about 3.0 miles and was quite chilly up there! On the wall there were a ton of New Year's decorations. All the decorations were really pretty and big. I saw all of the Chinese zodiacs! The main focus was the Rat because 2020 is the Year of the Rat. I found this activity very fun because I love exercising. Next we went to an active Buddhist temple. When you first see the temple it will shock you in how big it is. One thing that always amazes me is that all the building are made without a single nail. This temple is the oldest Chinese temple. There about 60 monks that live there. In the temple there is the tallest and oldest pagoda, which is a type of Chinese architecture. This pagoda was built in the Tang Dynasty and officially called the Dayan Pagoda. In the most important part of this temple, the Grand Temple, the Buddhas were lined up in the center. The biggest one was in the center with two identical monks on the side. The center Buddha was the Sakyamuni Buddha. In the building behind the Sakyamuni Buddha there is a bigger Buddha called the Maitreya. This Buddha is by himself. Next we look at the Monks' study and it is just a big room. The we saw an ancient Sutra. This Sutra is older than the US. Next we saw a Chinese calligraphy lesson. They use wolf and weasel hair brush which is the best of the best quality. They use a pure fabric bamboo paper but it is called "rice paper." This paper absorbs Ayer quickly and does not wrinkle. The ink comes from a solid ink stone and grind it in water in a special ink grinding stone. All of Chinese characters are derived from Pictionary. Like the characters happiness is made up of smaller characters which are a field, a hanger for the clothes, and a smile from a man. All of those characters make up happiness because Chinese believed If you had clothes and land you would be happy. I am glad I take Chinese because it was easier to learn about the characters. All of Chinese paintings are Madrid water paint. Many paintings are of nature and animals. Next we are having a family-style lunch at a local restaurant. At lunch there is normally some kind of meat or pork, a soup, and a vegetable like broccoli. Also, there is rice at the table. At the end the meal there is fruit as the desert. Lunch was great as always! I really have enjoyed the food because there is at least one dish everyone likes. My favorite dish is dumplings. To finish off our day we will be flying to Guilin. I think this trip is so fun and glad that I am able to experience this amazing culture in China.

Natalie Keating'22

We are visiting a Buddhist temple today, and this one differs from the other Buddhist and Confucian temples that we have visited so far because it has something called a pagoda. The pagoda is a large tower which is part of the temple. This particular pagoda was originally used for storage, then later as a library, and now it is recognized as a national treasure. We were offered free incense at the Buddhist temple, and many EHS students took advantage of this and practiced their "worship" bows while holding the incense. Because of the "episcaplague" that has taken over our school trip, not everyone came to visit this temple. This ancient Chinese architecture reminds our group a lot of the Kung fu panda movie! Next our tour guide took us into an art studio to teach us about Chinese calligraphy. We learned that the paper, which is highly absorbent, is rice paper. We also learned that eight brush strokes basically form the building blocks for any words or symbols. Our teacher went a step further by drawing these drawing strokes on a piece of paper, using special ink. However, we used machine bottles ink, whereas the traditional method consists of grinding ink sticks down and adding water to produce ink for writing. After the temple, we went to have a Chinese lunch which consisted of rice, dumplings, duck, and an assortment of vegetable dishes. After lunch, we went we headed to the airport, where our flight was delayed several hours. Some of us had the fine dining experience of an airport chicken sandwich! Yummy! The flight to our next city is between 2-3 hours long, and we were all ready for a good night's sleep.
Max Finkelstein '22


We started off our day with breakfast at the hotel and then drove about an hour to the terracotta factory. We bought mini statues and chopstick holders. Next we headed to the hot springs. It was very interesting learning about its history. Some of my favorite things I learned were that the hot springs were built for Lady Yang who is the Chinese image of beauty, similar to Aphrodite. Additionally we learned how Chiang Kai-shek broke his window with his foot, climbed the roof, and hid in the mountains to escape. Next we had lunch at a very nice restaurant in the same area as the hot springs. From lunch we went to the famous terracotta warriors and got to see a large portion of them. We learned about their history through a short movie and visited the pits the statues were in. It was a cool experience to see the statues in person instead of seeing them in textbook pictures at school. We got to shop around and met a group of middle school girls screaming and obsessing over the boys in our group. They wanted to take pictures and were so excited to talk to us. It was really funny but also really surprising to see their excitement. It never really occurred to me that they never have seen Western looking people in person before. After visiting the terracotta warriors we came back to the hotel for some much needed rest. We then headed to dinner where we ate 16 courses of dumplings. They were all really good and surprisingly extremely filling. Before our meal we got to learn how to fill and fold dumplings and how to stretch noodles. It was a cool experience to be able to see how our food was being made before we ate it. Overall, today was a really fun day in Xi'an which is an extremely beautiful city.

Karma Elbadawy

I awoke this morning to the sounds of coughs and complaining as we ate breakfast. Everyone on the trip had gotten a virus spread by one of the students. We promptly boarded the bus and headed to a terracotta factory for a tour of the process. I was fascinated by the molding and precision that went into making these soldiers. We also learned about what distinguishes each figure (ie: archer, general, officer) but not before one of the students knocked over a soldier. We then headed to the place where Qin Shi Huangdi buried his original 10,000 soldiers. The first building we entered was styled like an airplane hangar and it was filled with rows upon rows of soldiers. We saw a movie which explained the history of the soldiers from their construction to their destruction and recovery. We departed from the terracotta burial site and headed to the hotel due to a large amount of sickness. We had time to pack our bags for the next city before heading to a restaurant to learn about the art of dumpling and noodle making. After 16 unique courses of dumplings we were full and headed back to the hotel to call it a night.

Vaughn Johnson

Today we went to the terracotta warrior factory and saw what the process is in making them. After they showed how they made them we saw already completed ones which came in all sizes-- from life size to one that can fit on a desk. While we were looking at the statues Karma accidentally broke one. She admitted she knocked it over and the factory said she only had to pay 10 percent of the cost because she took responsibility and said she was sorry. Once we were finished looking at them we got a chance to buy one if we wanted to. After the terracotta warrior factory we went to the terracotta museum where we saw the excavation sites of them digging up the old warriors that were buried. Most of the warriors were broken we they dug them up from the ground so they would have to find the pieces and rebuild them though a lot were still broken in parts of the sites. We went to a total of three different sites which was really cool as I had never seen anything like that before. Lastly we went to dinner and were shown how to make dumplings and stretch noodles. We also ate some that the restaurant had prepared for us prior to coming which were really good.

Connor Zaleski


Today was our travel day from Tianjin To Xi'an. We arrived at the train station and waited for our train to arrive. We boarded the train and started our six and a half hour journey to Xi'an. The high speed train moved at around 200 miles per hour, taking us from station to station. These stations would be small city stations where there are a handful of skyscrapers surrounded by nothing but the large seemingly unending plains. Through our trains journey we saw the many diverse landscapes that make up China. From the flat plains near Beijing to the sharp jagged mountains a little outside Xi'an. The train tunneled through the mountains and hills scattered across our path. Our group spent their time playing card games, listening to music, and most importantly sleeping. The many stations we stopped at gave us a quick glimpse into the different architecture between each city in China.

We arrived in Xi'an to a cloudy sky, but the temperature was nice. We took the bus through the new Xi'an and through the old city gates. Inside the old city gates there are no skyscrapers as to not ruin the view from the walls. We had a delicious dinner before heading to our hotel just outside the old city walls. We headed into the lobby where we were met by old Han dynasty clothing. We got dressed in the clothes and got on the bus. We took the bus to a road decorated in thousands of dazzling lights. Each section with their own specific style and color of lights. The lights were unlike anything we had ever seen. It was so beautiful, even though it was a long day we were all excited to see the lights. We had a ceremony and welcomed ourselves as foreigners. After there were a lot of photos with our new friends. There was an exciting gathering of people as we talked and took photos.
David Andrews

On day 6 in China EHS had another early start to our day as we packed our bags to set off on a new journey to a different city. As a group we thanked and said our goodbyes to our second guide Jin and entered the train station where we prepared for a long 6-hour trip on a very fast train. As a group we entered the train and went to our assigned seats. Soon after moving we all arranged ourselves to be next to our friends and settled in. Some chose to play cards, some to listen to music, and some chose to have a nice rest for most of the ride. For the people who were looking out the window had a great view of the Chinese country side and many different places we passed by. After leaving the station we met our new guide Brian who took us to a great dinner before we went to the new hotel. After checking in we put on traditional Han dynasty clothing and I got to wear the traditional warrior attire which was for the elite soldiers. We walked around a square where many people crowded around as we preformed a welcoming ceremony. Afterward we took photos while I held a spear and then we headed back to the hotel to get some rest before the next day.

Logan Pancheri

This morning we got up to catch the bullet train to Xian. While on the train, it was very interesting to see the several different types of terrain outside. There were plains that stretched for miles as well as several patches of woodsy areas, and tall rocky mountains. The weather also varied. I saw dry farmlands and other areas were completely covered in snow.
When we got to the train station in Xian, we met our new tour guide, Brian. On the way to dinner, he told us that the meaning of Xian is "Western Peace" and that it used to be the capital of China. He also taught us about the different dialects of the Chinese language.
Xian seems very similar to the other cities in terms of architecture but it's drastically different when it come to the attractions. The city had many more lights in it and the place where we did the ceremony was absolutely beautiful. The weather here is very similar to Beijing but the air quality is much worse. It doesn't really bother me but you can see the smog in the air and it's just very interesting to be able to see how pollution affects so many people's day to day lives.
Later on in the night, Mr. Hu came and the girls got dressed up in red robes and belts. The boys were made to wear black robes with belts and hats. Some of the taller boys were dressed in chainmail armor and were given weapons. Brian told us that the armor for the tall boys was made up of 1800 pieces of iron. We rode to a square that had very extravagant Lunar New Year's decorations. We performed a ceremony to reenact the process of foreigners greeting and showing their submission to the emporer. While we were there, many of the local people wanted to take pictures with us. I took several pictures with the locals.
Jazzmin Duncan

DAY 5, 1/11

We woke up at 6:00 a.m. and headed to the high-speed train station. Then we hopped on the train. After the 30-minute train ride we got on our tour bus to meet our new tour guide. We learned that at the end of the opium wars, Tianjin was split into different sections and given to different countries, such as Japan, England, France, and the USA. You can see the influence of these countries in the architecture. As we drove, I saw many churches that were inspired by English architecture. Or first stop was a Buddhist temple. The first room we walked into had one Buddha sitting on a lotus flower. He had a backwards swastika which is a symbol in Buddhism for a long life. People burned incense so the smoke, their wishes, would reach the gods. In another room there were three Buddhas. They represent reincarnation; the past, present, and future. Next we went to ancient culture street. There we walked past lots of shops with old Chinese architecture. The shops mainly had food. Isabel and Logan split a fried squid on a stick. Before our next stop we went to lunch. For lunch we had noodles. In Tianjin noodles are eaten for birthdays, instead of cake, and they also represent a long life. Then we went to Puyi's home. He was the last emperor of China. The house we visited had Japanese and Hispanic influence. Puyi stayed here when he was exiled from Beijing. After we visited the China House. This house was built by a very rich man out of broken pieces of porcelain. We learned that Tianjin means "heaven" and it is the only city that has a birthday. It is also a young city, only 600 years old. We then went to the Tianjin history museum. There we learned the history of the concession and how Tianjin was split into different sections allotted to different countries. The museum showcased lots of ancient Chinese art, pottery, and sculptures. After the museum we headed to 5 avenue. There we saw all the architecture from the concession. First we saw the British area. There was a soccer stadium that was converted into a park. It had many British shops and even a Mexican restaurant. On our way to the Italian area we saw many foreign influences, like an Irish pub and a French bridge. When we got to the Italian area it was cold, so we stayed in the bus. We saw a bridge inspired by Cesar and Rome. Then we headed to dinner. My favorite dishes were the sweet potatoes covered in cheese and the chicken with BBQ sauce.

Turner Clarke '21

After waking up after a great night of sleep, we immediately left to go to the bullet train and go Tianjin. It was insanely stressful getting to the train on time but it was worth it to experience.

Once we got to our destination, we went to the temple to learn more about religion in China. During this part of today I learned about the Buddha of future and past which help you have fortune in both the present and the future. My friends and I wanted to immerse ourselves deeper and decided to light incense and where taught by Mrs. Laing how to pray using the incense. The smoke from the incense would be your message and would go up to God.

After visiting the temple, we went shopping! First, we looked at clay figures and learned about their origins. Then after the we were able to go have free time and explore the wonders of street markets. It was a great time seeing all the things people got that you cannot get in American, ranging from, octopus to eat, to Buddha heads as souvenirs and after this we went to have lunch.

We all had a great time during lunch, but we had to get back to learning. We went to an interesting museum where we got to see the residence of a past emperor. After Japan formed a new country, he was made the puppet emperor of the state until it was overthrown and he was imprisoned. After he got out of his imprisonment, he went from living in the forbidden city to living in a little residential area where museum is. He became an ordinary person with an ordinary job, but with a lot of money. It was really cool for me to see the rise and fall of an emperor and seeing how he transitioned.

On our last stop, we went to an art museum where my friends and I separated from the group with permission and explored the museum. Even though we got lost multiple times, we had a great time learning about each exhibit. I saw many things that surprised me about the culture. One of those things was watching little kids draw much better than anyone I know can. It was very interesting to see how young the children start to perfect their talents. We ended our day by eating a wonderful dinner and going to our new hotel. Overall, today was a great day in China.

Steele Sasnett '22

As the train slowed down, I didn't know what to expect from Tianjin but initially I thought it was a small town. As I saw tall buildings in the distance, I was soon to be proven wrong as I was told it is the 4th largest city in China with a population of 16 million. This was my second time on a train, and I loved it. Speed is something I find interest in, and the bulletin train did exactly this. Traveling at 345 km/h, which is about 250 mph, a journey that could take two and a half hours only took us 30 minutes. Not only is it quick, but eco-friendly as it reduces fossil fuels. Overall, I loved the bullet train.

After the bullet train we arrived at a Buddhist Temple called Tianjin Daebi. We started off by burning incense around the front plaza as we watched others take place in worship. Burning incense is known to be respectful and courteous toward the temple. After we visited different parts of the temple which is really just split up into different buildings which all have the same purpose: to worship. One of the temples, the first one we visited, had a 6-ton golden Buddha that was roughly 35 feet tall. The second building we visited had a "sleeping Buddha" where it was Buddha in a sleeping position, near his death. This is known as the resting but not sleeping position. There was also the stature of particular Buddha's that inform not to speak, listen, or see no evil, which is a good life lesson for monks and those of their faith. We also participated in a section at the front where you would throw coins into a tall metal statue with bells and dragon designs, which represents good fortune and wealth.

Next we went to a museum of the last emperors palace of the Chinese feudal society, Puyi. At one point in the area, 45 families would all stay and live there. Each room serves its own purpose like the major dining hall, where luxurious foods and Western food would be served and one would witness intimacy between Puyi, the emperor, and his wife, Wanrong. I noticed that Puyi has multiple rooms on the first floor which he used solely to relax or discuss politics. The outside of the whole palace is Spanish architecture so not only Western, but other parts of the world heavily influenced how he lived. A big part of his palace contained areas where would secretly meet with other high-ranking officials to converse concurring matters. As I walked through I also noticed that although it appeared massive from the outside, the inside has tight corridors and rooms come in small portions and sizes. Next we went to the Tianjin museum, and there I found many separate collections of things like rare relics. Most of the relics are carvings or pottery, carved by famous people. Many of the items are represented and found in previous temples we visited. There was also a collection of the earliest characters of Chinese, which shows that over time a language can change and alter but the history of it remains. Many dynasties like the Ming left behind relics, like a harp like object made of wood. Overall in the relic section, I learned that traditions still carry on even today as I witnessed the present versions of many objects. The Aztecs and Incas are represented in China, and China respects their cultures, as throughout the museum there are areas that display artifacts implemented in Chinese culture as well. There is also a major language barrier in artwork, but despite the struggle through the pictures it can be easily interpreted. An example is in some artwork it depicts a story, almost like a picture book. Ok different artwork cultures display different ways to tell stories. I saw a certain picture of a soldier receiving food from a family as they walked by, showing how war can be displayed differently in each culture. In America we might display it as a struggle for us, but in China they would display it as opportunity. Another painting showed a modern era with a bridge but the life around it has a beautiful landscape and older mechanics around the town, showing that despite the era and new inventions, they would choose to live as they did before. In another section it displayed wars China participated in, and overall, it seemed that form the beginning China struggled majorly compared to its enemies. The British would use high tech guns while China would fight with bows and swords, showing the fight they had to put up and that what they would go through to win what they want or deserve. Many people and civilians fought in wars and died for it to restore feudalism as well, showing that people would lay down their lives for what they believe in and want. After the wars, major advancements were made, like the English railroads and trains, printing presses and such that would modernize China, and they even introduced Coca Cola into China. Their education changed by influence, as they made their first major universities and boarding schools, like studying abroad in China. They also had specialized academies like the police academy, which shows major western influence. Overall in the museum I enjoyed seeing how China internally progressed having gone through wars and suffrages.

Cory Kardesch '22


This morning we visited the Summer Palace and Qinghua University. The summer palace was gorgeous! There were many different buildings that we could visit, such as the dowager empress' bedroom, the office of the emperor, and many more. There was also a huge man-made lake that was almost completely frozen over which had ice skaters on it. Surrounding the lake and buildings were many gardens and outdoor features. These gardens were very extensive and beautiful, but I think that my favorite part was the Long Corridor. This is a long, open-air walkway with a roof over it that is painted with over 7,000 unique images of Chinese fairytales and stories. It was amazing for me because I love art, and I could see how much time and work had been put in to make these beautiful pieces. Lastly, there was a huge boat made of marble that the Emperor's mother used to use for tea and lunch. It was used to demonstrate her power, and it certainly does exactly that. It is intricately carved and painted and it absolutely dwarfs the other structures around it. Qinghua University (also spelled Tsinghua) in Beijing was also amazing. The campus was very large, and it was actually modeled after American Universities. It is a very prestigious university, on par with Stanford, MIT, or Harvard in America. The entrance exam, the Gaokao, takes over five years to prepare for, and encompasses many things, like politics, history, English, Chinese, physics, and math, among other subjects.

Jackie Canfield

This afternoon we attended the Beijing Zoo. My group saw seven pandas who were all eating or sleeping--the dream lifestyle. When people saw the pandas eating, many were in awe and took photos. I learned that unlike other bears, pandas do not hibernate, so they migrate between the different elevations in the mountainous SW areas of China. Pandas are not very social animals and they often travel alone, except when mating. Because the pandas are being poached, they were rapidly declining until the Wildlife Protection Act became strictly enforced. I liked when we visited the Olympic Panda Habitat because these pandas were much larger than the others and they almost seemed to recognize our presence. I personally believe that the panda exhibit was the highlight of the day!

Andrew Debnam

After morning visits to The Summer Palace and Qinghua University, today's afternoon was filled with two of my favorite things, panda bears and shopping. Our first stop this afternoon was to the Beijing Zoo where they had a very intricate exhibit on pandas. While we were there we saw seveb pandas ranging from babies to adults. The pandas were very cute. We were only there for a short time. After the brief panda visit we made our to Ling Ling's Pearls shop in Hong Qiao marketplace. Ling Ling is a friend of Ms. Davidson and so we got to learn how to grade and clarify each pearl based on a set of complex characteristics. Many students then began shopping for custom-designed pearl necklaces and bracelets. Eventually, we moved into the marketplace where they sold many counterfeit designer items and just about everything you could want. We all had fun bargaining for the items. For dinner, we took a break from Chinese cuisine and ate common American food like McDonald's or KFC. Overall today was a great day and I can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us.

Alex Frankfort


This morning we went to the silk factory. We discovered that the silkworm goes through 4 stages. We learned that the worms die inside the cocoon from being steamed before they become moths. It is important that the worm does not start to chew the cocoon, or that cocoon cannot be used to make silk. After they are steamed, the cocoons are placed in water and the filament comes apart and then is unwound from the cocoon and wound into thread. Interestingly, the filament of one cocoon is 1-mile long. After that, there are many ways to utilize the silk thread and make silk comforters and pillows. We even got to stretch the layers of a comforter. After the lesson, it was on to shopping for silk robes, ties, scarves, etc.
Lindsey McNear '21

Today we visited several places including the Tibetan Buddhist Lama temple. Originally it had been the home of a prince who donated it as a temple when he became Emperor. It was such a cultural experience. The temple was crowded with worshippers as today is a very important day for praying in Tibetan Buddhism. The workers handed out incense for people to properly worship, and we all got some, too. Within the outer gates of the temple, the area was filled with smoke from the incense sticks people were lighting. Many people were bowing in respect and prayers in and in front of the temples. We continued the tour through the domain of the temple, walking through rooms filled with statues and writing in three different languages. I rubbed and turned a prayer wheel that contained mantras and took a photo with a monk. In the last temple building a massive Buddha statue was in place. This Buddha was carved out of a single large tree that had been brought to Beijing from Tibet. It is the largest statue carved from a single piece of wood in the world. The statue was so large that the last temple had to be built around it after it was in place, all four stories of it.
Isabella Bartimmo '21

After a rickshaw ride and lunch in a private hutong home and lessons in kite making and papercutting, it was on to the most interesting part of the day for me: the acrobatic performance. As we waited outside the theater I had no idea what to expect. I spoke to some other tourists, however, we had to communicate through hand signals because they spoke only Chinese. As I watched the first act I wasn't impressed but the pace quickly changed. There were contortionists, 15 women riding one bicycle, people spinning in the air by their necks and others diving through hoops more than 8 feet off the ground, but the most impressive act was when eight people on motorcycles rode around in a metal spherical cage. They rode upside down and on the walls of the cage extremely close together without crashing. It was a great way to end another great day.
Cannon Low '22


We all went to sleep really early last night and woke up at 6:00 a.m. We went down to the lobby and enjoyed a huge breakfast at the hotel and a much needed Starbucks run.We piled into the bus for the one-and-a half hour bus ride to the Great Wall. We walked past lots of little stores and snack shops on our way to the Gondola that took us to the base of the giant wall. The weather was really pretty today--a lot warmer than yesterday. We had blue skies for most of the day. After hiking for a long time over countless stairs from tower 14 to tower 6, we hopped on toboggans and slid down to the base of the mountains, which was a really fun way to get to the bottom of the wall. Afterward, we got a chance to bargain for souvenirs and snacks before getting back on the bus to head off to a jade factory where we ate lunch. The family-style Chinese food filled us up. After lunch, we headed downstairs to learn about the different types of jade and how it is mined, cut, sculpted, and polished. Following the demonstration, we had a chance to look around and shop for some of the hand-carved jade sculptures and jewelry. Next, we visited a cloisonné factory where artisans hand carve copper sculptures and glaze them. The "unbreakable porcelain" was so amazing and intricate that we all had to buy some! We also stopped at the Bird's Nest Olympic Park where we saw the water cube which looked like a building surrounded by bubbles. The 2008 Summer Olympics were held here. Our next stop was Hua's restaurant, where we ate a traditional family-style meal with Peking Duck and live music and performances. This was an awesome way to end the day, and we were all ready to get in bed, as the jet-lag started to kick in after a long but fun day! We are excited for tomorrow!

Cade Williams '21
Cassie Stewart. '21
Katie Kopel '21

January 7, 2020

We first visited Tiananmen Square where multiple historic Chinese events have taken place, such as the Tiananmen Square Protests which occurred during the '80s. A lot of the students were asked to take pictures with the locals because many of them have never seen Westerners before. This was really a great way to start off the trip by setting the dynamic for the trip, and it pumped up the students by allowing them to get to know the locals. Although it was cold, we stuck it out for Leo, our tour guide, because we loved to hear about Chinese history, especially because he was so passionate about what he was talking about.
Emma Claire White '21

The second location the Episcopal High School students explored after landing in Beijing was the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was home to many emperors spanning different dynasties. In order to enter the Forbidden City we had to enter through four different gates, which divided the Forbidden City from the rest of Beijing. We learned that the buildings we were walking through have not been inhabited for about 95 years as of this year. On top of learning about the lives of emperors, we dug into the understanding of how the next emperor was selected (a process that changed from dynasty to dynasty) and the lives of the concubines living within the Forbidden City's walls. The Forbidden City allowed all of the students to review some of the dynasties that will be referenced throughout the trip and the opportunity to see how an emperor lived hundreds of years ago.
Lyndon Walsh '21

The third location we visited was the Temple of Heaven. On the way there we took time to try the outdoor exercise equipment that the retired people use daily, and some of the students got involved in a very spirited game of Chinese hackey sack with some local Beijingers. After we explored the equipment, we walked through a hallway to enter the Temple. The hallway was filled with more locals playing card games and enjoying themselves. Once inside we faced a huge temple radiating blues, reds, greens, and golds. The temple was crafted like a Lincoln log without any nails. The pieces were designed to fit together exactly and withstand forces from storms. While the temple looked like it was three stories tall, the inside was hollow and was one floor. The Temple of Heaven was a perfect way to end our first day in China.
Kate Carlin '21