|Students visit |
Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
While most students enjoyed some extra sleep on the first day of Spring Break, a group of 22 Upper School students and three faculty members met at 4:30 a.m. on Friday, March 10 to begin their 18-hour journey to China. After a long flight, they arrived in Beijing, China's political capital and the former center of many ancient Chinese dynasties. Beijing is a city with deep historical and cultural riches. Historically named Khanbaliq, it served as the imperial seat for the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty in the 14th century. During their four days in Beijing, they toured the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City, which served as the imperial palace from the Ming through the Qing dynasties (1420 - 1912). Highlights of Beijing also included visits to several temples, including the Lama Buddhist Temple, the Confucian Temple and the Temple of Heaven.
|Students took an early morning trip to visit the Temple of Heaven.|
Through the visits to these various sites, students became more knowledgeable about the rich diversity of belief systems in China. Everyone enjoyed great food, including a traditional meal prepared by a local family in the historic hutong area of the city. Built around the many historical treasures is a very modern city with an efficient public rail system, high-end shopping centers and high rise office buildings. A highlight of Beijing included a trip to the street market where several students dared themselves to experience the tastes of Beijing with live scorpions, snake and other interesting street foods. Just outside the city lies the Great Wall, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The climb was steep, but well worth the view as we stood atop and marveled at this magnificent structure built over 2,000 years ago!
|Carson O. impressed the group when he ate a live scorpion at the Beijing Night Market. |
From Beijing, the Tampa Prep travelers took the overnight train to another former imperial city, Xi'an, also known as Chang an. Much like Beijing, this city held many treasures of the past while displaying a vibrant sense of modernity. In Xi'an, they experienced yet another Wonder of the World, the Terracotta Army of First Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Taking a break from sightseeing, the travelers spent a morning visiting a local school where the Tampa Prep students were able to interact with Chinese students and learn about the differences in educational styles. This was definitely one of the more surprising highlights of the trip!
|Tampa Prep students had the incredible opportunity |
meet Chinese students and compare education styles.
Finally, they flew from Xi'an to Shanghai where they were surrounded by the sights and sounds of the city. Having spent eight days in the more ancient cities, Shanghai was an exciting contrast with its world-class shopping and soaring skyline. At the Shanghai Museum, they could map the many continuities and changes of Chinese history through the amazing collection of artifacts. The students took the elevator up the Jin Mao Tower, reaching the 88th floor in nine seconds!
Overall, students and faculty alike had an amazing time discovering China's past and experiencing its current vibrance. Mrs. Enaye Englenton said, "The opportunity to enrich students with a global perspective through travel is something I very much value as a teacher of World History. The world is our classroom and I look forward to continuing the adventure next year!"
|Being able to enjoy the Shangai skyline at night |
was definitely a highlight of the trip for many of the travelers.