Flahback of Alderman White/Bramcote College China Trip October 2017
Alderman White and Bramcote College have been involved with the Nottingham Confucius Classroom since 2015. Following a successful 40 hour programme of Mandarin study over the course of 2016-2017, 18 Year 13 students and 2 members of staff (Faye Parker, Head of 6th Form and Philip Clifford, KS5 Inclusion Leader) undertook the trip of a lifetime on a two week trip to China. Nottingham Confucius Institute China Ningbo Branch welcomed them with series of activities. The following is a chronological record of their trip to China and the effect achieved.
Day 1: Fly from Birmingham Airport T2 13.30
All 20 trip members met at Birmingham Airport ready to depart for Frankfurt to join the connecting flight to Shanghai. We were all very excited to be embarking on such a momentous trip together. We were lucky enough to get to travel on the Airbus A380, which was a first for many of the students.
Day 2: Arrive in Shanghai
Shanghai was in the middle of a typhoon when we arrived, so the students got rather a windy and rainy introduction to the city! It was so nice to see Beibei, who greeted us at the airport and introduced us to our fabulous guide for the trip, Miss Lin. We enjoyed sharing our first meal of lunch together and managed to sample the delicious Shanghainese cuisine. After lunch we visited the Bund and went shopping on the Nanjing Road. The students were impressed with both the size and
the vibrancy of the city. Unfortunately, due to the typhoon we were unable to experience the Huangpu river cruise, but we didn’t let that ruin our first night in China!
Day 3: Fudan University and travel to Ningbo
In the morning we visited Fudan University and our students were impressed with the facilities and with the studious atmosphere. Teachers on behalf of the Confucius Institute at the Confucius Institute hosted everyone, and arranged a reception luncheon. We presented our hosts and Beibei with some gifts from our hometown of Nottingham as a gesture of our appreciation. Our students were interested in the university and many said they would consider coming to university here in the future. We then travelled to the Shanghai World Financial Centre and went right to the top of the tower to the observation deck, which was an unforgettable experience and the chance to see some spectacular views. In the afternoon, we travelled to Ningbo via the high-speed train, departing from the hugely impressive Shanghai railway station. Students were impressed by the speed and efficiency of the rail network.
Day 4: UNNC and Coming of Age Ceremony
In the morning, we visited the University of Nottingham at Ningbo Campus, where we received a warm welcome from all of the representatives we met and students were impressed with the entire campus and how it reminded them of home. It was a very special day for one our students as it was her 18th birthday. We were so impressed that a Coming of Age Ceremony was held in her honour and we loved getting dressed up and taking part in traditional Chinese activities such as calligraphy. We ended the day with a fantastic banquet hosted by the UNNC where we got to meet up with our
Executive Principal and Head of School at Alderman White, who were there on the Headteachers’ Conference.
Day 5: UNNC, Ningbo Museum and cultural experience at sister school
In the morning, students had their first official Mandarin lesson at UNNC. Students relished the opportunity to practise their language skills with a native speaker and all of them worked incredibly hard to perfect their vocabulary and accents. We then enjoyed a visit to Ningbo Museum and the students enjoyed learning about Ningbo’s history and Chinese culture in general. In the afternoon, we visited or sister school, which was a phenomenal experience. Our students were treated with such respect and adoration and they loved meeting and talking to so many enthusiastic Chinese students. We were taught how to receive a formal blessing of wisdom and how to make a traditional Chinese tie-dyed scarf. We loved eating dinner in the school and seeing what it was like to board there like so many of the students do. A really important afternoon for our students in terms of them appreciating a side of Chinese life they had never experienced before. They really did feel like they’d made some genuine friends at the school, which was touching to see.
Day 6: UNNC and cultural experience at UNNC affiliate school
In the morning students continued to practise their Mandarin skills with another language class at UNNC. In the afternoon we visited a school affiliated with the UNNC. This was again an important experience for our students and they continued to make friends and practise their language skills. Our students were on stage to introduce themselves in Mandarin, read a selection of poems and sing our National Anthem. We also got to participate in some ping pong matches and play some badminton with the students in the school. Another important and culturally rich day.
Day 7: UNNC and Tianyi Pavilion
Students continued to study hard ahead of their Mandarin exam at the end of the Ningbo visit. It is nice to see that the students’ confidence is improving every day with their language skills. In the afternoon students enjoyed some free time visiting Tianyi Pavilion, which they found very beautiful and serene. We then finished the day with some shopping on the Nantang Old Street where students enjoyed hunting for presents and souvenirs.
Day 8: Dongqian Lake and Southern Song Dynasty Stone Sculpture Musuem
In the morning we made the journey to the Dongqian Lake and enjoyed the stunning scenery and serene atmosphere. Students visited the Buddhist and Taoist temples and really immersed themselves in ancient Chinese culture. In the afternoon we went to the Southern Song Dynasty Stone Sculpture Museum and the students climbed to the top of the bamboo mountain, photographing impressive wildlife along the way. A tiring but really memorable day.
Day 9: UNNC Mandarin test
Our students’ Mandarin skills were tested today with their final test in Mandarin. Students had to prepare some dialogue, introduce themselves, engage in role play and act out different sports. They
also had some free time to use the facilities at UNNC. All of our students managed to pass their test successfully and were all awarded certificates that they were very proud of. We said good bye to our UNNC friends and exchanged gifts to show our appreciation of all they had done for us.
Day 10: Travel to Beijing and shopping on Qianmen Street
In the morning, we left the hotel very early and boarded our internal flight to Beijing from Ningbo Airport. Students were impressed with the domestic flight and how smoothly the journey was. After checking into our hotel in the evening, we had some free time to explore Qianmen Street and purchase some more souvenirs. By this stage, students were confident enough to use their Mandarin skills in shops and restaurants and the locals seemed to appreciate how hard they were trying with their accents!
Day 11: The Capital Museum, Beijing Zoo and Bird’s Nest Stadium
In the morning, we experienced the Capital Museum and learned about the history of Beijing. For many of our students, the visit to Beijing Zoo in the afternoon was a real highlight. To be so close to the giant pandas was such an amazing experience and one that they will never forget. Their excitement was palpable and every single one of them wanted to purchase a cuddly panda from the gift shop to remember their panda encounter. In the afternoon, we visited the Bird’s Nest Stadium and the students were able to witness the meticulous planning and hard work that went into organising the 2008 Olympics. A fantastic day was topped off with a visit to the Red Theatre to see the famous Kungfu Show. Students were in awe of the discipline and skills of the artists and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.
Day 12: Confucius Institute Headquarters, the Great Wall
In the morning we had the honour of visiting the Confucius Institute Headquarters and gave gifts to the ambassadors there as a sign of our gratitude. Students enjoyed looking round and got involved with all of the Chinese cultural interactive experiences offered there. One of the biggest highlights of the entire trip was the visit to the Great Wall of China. Some of our students were a little scared of the hard work and physical demands involved but I am delighted to say that every single one of them made it to the end. Our joint sense of elation was truly exhilarating and it was a moment that none of us will ever forget.
Day 13: The Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Silk Street Fake Market
A fantastic final day for us all. In the morning, we visited the iconic Tiananmen Square and entered the Forbidden City. It was fantastic to experience such an important part of Beijing’s cultural heritage and students were in awe of the size and detail of the different buildings. We enjoyed a traditional lunch in a Beijing hutong, which was a really interesting experience for the students. In the afternoon students had the opportunity to spend their final Yuan in the Silk Street Fake Market. Students loved this experience as it gave them an opportunity to show off their bargaining skills that they’d learned in Mandarin classes! Our final day was topped off with a fantastic farewell banquet where students got to sample the famous Beijing duck, which we all found to be delicious!
Day 14: Travel back to the UK
We got up very early to travel to Beijing airport. We were all very sad to be leaving China after a phenomenal trip but happy to be going home with such fantastic memories. Students were so excited to tell their parents all about their experiences and many of them have vowed to carry on studying Mandarin. I would like to reiterate my sincere thanks to both Beibei and Miss Lin, who ensured that we had a smooth and well-informed trip.
Posted on 28 November 2017