China

Preserving culture in the face of change
China has been the destination for three off-campus learning trips since 2015, and a trip is planned for the summer of 2019. For the upcoming trip, the central issue that students will explore is how local communities across China have responded or adapted to China's rapid development in attempts to preserve their cultural and ecological integrity. Each trip to China has been different from the others, but some aspects are universal. Students always travel to the Great Wall of China to view one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and spend time in both urban and rural environments. Eight days of the upcoming trip will be devoted to the study of Tibetan culture, homestays with Tibetan families in the remote and beautiful Layue Village, and Tibetan language classes.

Leaders

Sarah DelVecchio
Eric Shi, former Chinese teacher

Why did you choose China?

We teach Chinese language and Chinese History. All of our students will study Chinese History at Thacher.

What did you hope to accomplish with this trip?

Teach students about China's government, society, and economy.

Student impressions

"The China trip this past summer was not only memorable because we visited a wide variety of Chinese cities and towns, but also because I grew closer to my Chinese teacher. I distinctly remember him describing in great length his favorite Chinese dishes, and then insisting that we try them ourselves. No matter how much Mr. Shi praised chicken feet, I could not bear to try them until one of the very last meals when he said that it would make him extremely happy and proud of me. The chicken feet were unlike anything I had ever eaten (interpret that as you will), and the experience will always make me think of my Chinese teacher with a smile."
Daisy '20, Malibu, California

"The most memorable experience from the China trip for me was probably when one night in Shanghai three other senior boys—Julian Amaya, Roman Bergeron, and Alika Williams—and I , went to an obscure city square and, for about an hour, hung out with local kids. None of us spoke any Chinese, so all communication was done crudely through Google Translate and gestures, but we were still able to find plenty of common ground between the Chinese kids' lives and ours. Also, there were some little kids in the square who were incredibly excited and charismatic at the sight of Westerners. Despite being in Shanghai, the kids told us how infrequently they see Westerners, so I think it was also a special experience for them, and playing with them was definitely a memory that I will not soon forget. Even though we weren't at some beautiful architectural masterpiece or in a bustling street market, being able to spend time having fun with kids our age who speak a completely different language and live in a completely different world was definitely the most moving and memorable moment of my two weeks in China.";
George Lawrence '19, Malibu California
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