In April 2019 Student Educational Adventures escorted a group of 35 students + four teachers from Star of the Sea College (Melbourne) on a 14-day trip across mainland China.

As the program was designed to acquaint our travelling students with China’s human face, an important facet of the itinerary was to promote authentic interaction with local people. This was facilitated by a two day visit to a remote local community in Southern China as well as involvement in Tai Chi class.

Learning of the pending Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was facilitated by a trip to Shanghai’s Urban Planning Exhibition Centre to learn of China infrastructure projects and how China manages and implements long term objectives and goals extending past the usual 4-year political cycle life that of western countries. A visit to Shanghai’s Pudong financial District was another highlight of the trip as was taking part in a tea ceremony and learning of daily life in the city, reputed to be the most populated in the world. A discussion of the controversial social credit score initiative with Michael, our Student Educational Adventures local guide made for particularly interesting debate.

Whilst in the Middle Kingdom, students also travelled to Nanjing on one of the countries newly commissioned high-speed trains. Here students learned of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre by Japanese forces, ramifications of which today are still very sensitive and impact significantly on regional relationships. A mandatory stop at the Nanjing Zoological gardens to meet some delightful giant pandas was the final activity before boarding an aircraft to fly to sublime Guilin in the country southern region. This delightful region of China brought a very welcoming change of scenery and pace, as students enjoyed vigorous walks through the surrounding hinterland, home to several minority tribes with cultures vastly different from that of the mainstream Han Chinese majority.

An unmissable boat trip on the Lijiang River with its beautiful karst was another feature of the student’s time in this region, which also entailed a hands-on cooking class and a Chinese fan making calligraphy session to learn the finer points of this quintessential Chinese art form.

Emear Cunningham, Year 12 wrote

Our tour leaders especially Michael, Jennifer, and William have been some of the kindest most knowledgeable people we’ve ever met. The memorial museum in Nanjing was so interesting and heartbreaking. The military museum was also interesting and a great insight into the patriarchal outlook of most of the population. It was a great chance to experience another culture and open your mind to the world around you.

Bernadette Turner, Deputy Principal wrote

Do it. A magnificent country that is made far more accessible with a tour company like Student Educational Adventures with a real presence in China and excellent local guides. Knowing China enables you to see the world order is changing and we are witnessing the emergence of the Asian Century.