Trip to China 2017

During the October Half Term break, girls from CLC were joined by pupils from Malvern College for their joint trip to China.

Shanghai

My first impression of China was the sheer amount of people everywhere, it was like watching a never-ending river flowing past. At Shanghai airport, we were met by our guide Autumn, who first took us to a park where parents and grandparents advertise their sons and daughters to find suitable future partners. The marketing is done by using umbrellas where they list their children’s many qualities – it appeared to be working very well!

We experienced the Bund both by day and night; it’s the ultra-modern business and shopping area along the Huangpu River and it looked amazing when it was all lit up at night, including the famous TV Tower. 

The traffic took everybody by surprise, crossing the road was a nerve-wracking experience every time. There were hordes of mopeds and cars, either ignoring the red lights or turning right into pedestrians who were encouraged to cross the road by a green man.

Hangzhou

After three days in Shanghai we left for Hangzhou and we started off by visiting a Tea Plantation. There were rows upon rows packed into so little space. It was a fascinating place and I am now a great fan of green tea, having learnt the health benefits of eating the green tea leaves, which have lots of antioxidants.

We were very fortunate to be able to visit a secondary school and meet some Chinese peers. Again, I was impressed by the size of the school and the number of students, as well as their relaxed attitude to security, for example there was no register taken at the beginning of a class. We had lots of fun and the Chinese students found it funny to watch us try out some Kung Fu moves and thought our accents were hilarious when we were trying out our Mandarin.

Personally, my best experience during the trip was the over-night train to Beijing – it was incredible. Six people were pressed into a tiny compartment and you were almost stacked upon one another. The thing that I loved most about this was that everyone became really good friends, as we all sat on the train for 14 hours.

Beijing

The following morning, we woke up in the capital and although construction work had been put on hold, due to the Communist Party Conference the week before, the pollution was rife. However, it didn’t prevent us from enjoying the magnificent site of the Forbidden City.

The Chinese food was surprising and amazing throughout the whole trip, however the culinary highlight was the Hot Pot we had in Beijing, which was so fresh and tasty.

On our last day, the weather changed and fresh winds swept in as we went to visit the Great Wall of China. It was even bigger, higher and longer then I had expected – a wonder of civil engineering. It felt absolutely freezing on the wall because we were so high up, but we stayed really warm because climbing the wall was physically challenging.

It was a trip of a life time and I strongly recommend it to anyone curious about China and Chinese culture, which is so similar but yet so different from our own. For example, in our modern life we take access to social media sites such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook etc. for granted, but these sites are not allowed in China. The platform used instead is WeChat, which is also used for payments, but you need a Chinese bank account to access it. It’s a fascinating country and I can’t wait to explore it further.

Matilda Dugdale (UC4)