STUDENTS FROM Skeena Junior Secondary School got a taste of the east March 16 – 18 when 14 of them travelled to China.
The trip was organized through Skeena’s new travel club, which is headed up by teacher Caroline Faber.
Faber accompanied the students as they toured the cites of Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai on the 10-day trip.
“They kept commenting on little differences on the culture and the food, it was just so different from what they thought was normal,” Faber said.
The students were exposed to countless new experiences in China. They toured Shanghai’s Forbidden City, walked the Great Wall, watched acrobats, visited Tiananmen Square and ate dumplings shaped like monkeys.
“I think that they were able to see that there is more than one way to live in the world,” Faber said.
Faber said she asked each of the students to come and talk to her when they were in China and finally realized the enormity of how far they had come.
“It took a long time for it to sink in that we are in Asia halfway around the world,” said Alix Ritter, a student who went on the trip.
She said one of her favorite moments on the trip was practicing Tai Chi in a garden with an instructor in Beijing.
“He was laughing at us and we were laughing at him,” she said, adding it was amazing how, even in his 60’s, the instructor was much more flexible that the students.
Ritter said it was amazing how well the students got along with the people in China.
“Not knowing much Chinese, and how we got along with the people, I thought it was beautiful,” she said.
Faber used to live and teach in Taiwan and so had been able to give the students Mandarin lessons before they left for China.
“We learned basic stuff, like ‘how are you,’ ‘I’m full’ and ‘where are you from,’” said Adam Paulitschke, another student who went on the trip.
Paulitschke said his favorite part of the trip was visiting the Great Wall.
“The view was spectacular, it was amazing,” he said.
Paulitschke said the trip was a big eye opener for him, and he plans on returning to Asia.
Faber organized the travel club earlier in this school year. She said she was motivated by her own love to travel.
“If I can instil that in them, I have done my job,” she said.
“I didn’t think I would ever leave the country at my age,” said Caitlin Wesley, a Grade 10 student who took the trip.
Wesley said when she was seven she had picked out the seven wonders of the world, so seeing the Great Wall was definitely amazing.
The travel club is now planning a trip to Greece for next year.