The exhausted smell of the plane pervaded the air as students boarded. Tiny screens in front of each chair helped ease the duration of the 13-hour flight. Looking out the window, all that could be seen was the endless black pavement but suddenly, the engines started to rumble. Slowly, the buildings began to resemble dots until they were unseen, eventually hidden by white pillowy clouds floating below. When the plane landed on dry ground again, words all around became foreign texts, lost in translation.
The China spring break trip lasted 10 days from April 8 to April 17. Seven students accompanied by four adults took the opportunity to come on this trip.
The time difference between China and the United States is 12 hours, which can lead to jet lag. Sophomore Noah Reiser said, “I was not worried about being jet lagged in China since traveling was my focus but I am worried getting back, because the reality of homework and being tired is setting in.”
This trip appealed to students because it offers a unique perspective of schooling and life in another country. Sophomore Sarah Rankin said, “I took the opportunity to come on this trip for the experience of being in China and getting to know our sister school in China, School 166.”
Due to their initial flight getting cancelled, the students arrived Shanghai later than planned. They started by touring a silk factory and learning about how silkworms make silk. After learning about it, students got the chance to shop for items made out of real silk. That afternoon, students attended a tea lesson where they were served green, oolong, ginseng, puer and black tea. Following the tea lesson, students received free time to shop and explore with fellow students.
On Tuesday, students took the opportunity to walk around The Bund and visit the Shanghai museum. Immediately after, they boarded the plane to Beijing, where they would meet their host families at School 166.
After the welcoming ceremony in front of the entire school on Wednesday morning, students spent the rest of the week going to special culture classes and visiting famous tourist destinations such as The Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Students also went to the Jade store, Cloisonne shop and saw a Chinese acrobatic show. On Sunday, students got to spend their last day in China with their host families.
Sophomore Elise Mitchell will be taking her newfound knowledge from China with her, to the U.S.. “I learned that you can still connect with people beyond a language barrier. As long as you give it a chance, you can find common ground with anyone,” Mitchell said.
Principal Kimberly Boldon reminisced about the China trip in the Dulles airport. “It was a wonderful trip. I learned a lot, I experienced a lot, and I ate a lot. It was really good to be experienced with our sister school and it was really beneficial for them too ,” Boldon said.
Humanities and Arts Signature Program director and English teacher Michelle Hanson also looked back on the highlights of the China trip. “The principal’s’ dinner was amazing. There were 18 people around a table with so many delicacies from calamari to Ceasar salad. It was a wonderful moment where the two principals became really close friends. When everyone clapped for Andre and when Noah said the goodbye speech, it was amazing to just watch the students experience China,” Hanson said.