China Trip 2019
China, a rich blend of ancient history and modernity, is becoming ever more important in relation to New Zealand’s economy in terms of business opportunities between the two countries. Therefore, the ability to not only speak Chinese but to speak it well is very much in high demand.
On Saturday the 13th of April, a group of Chinese language students ranging from Years 11 to 13 began their two week tour of China. Visiting a total of six cities with a combined population of over 14 times that of New Zealand’s, the boys were well-immersed in the Chinese culture. For many, this was their first time travelling to Asia and experiencing a way of life completely different from their own. Travel is one of the few things that opens your eyes, broadens your mind and makes you modest. Personally, it is something I can’t recommend enough.
Aside from touring historic sites such as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, a massive highlight for the boys was being hosted by Xiamen University for a little under a week. Here we were joined by Wellington College and would spend our time attending Chinese lessons in the morning followed by a cultural activity in the afternoon. During the evening, we were let loose to roam the streets and put into practice everything that we had learned. Staying at Xiamen University was something that definitely elevated our experience and for that we are very grateful.
In many ways, learning Chinese is an investment, difficult at times but well worth it once you begin to converse with the locals. If this trip gave me anything, it was the opportunity to get outside of my comfort zone, speak Chinese every day and ultimately grow as a person. And that’s exactly what the boys challenged themselves to do; immerse themselves in the culture and use Chinese everyday whether it be to barter in the Silk Street Market or to order food at the university canteen.
Lastly, a big thank you to Ms Chen and Mr Hay for not only making the trip possible but for making it exciting, enjoyable and definitely one to remember.