Over the Term 1 holiday, a group of 16 students from Years 10 and 11 had the privilege of going to China on the 2018 Oxley Christian College China Tour.
The majority of us had never been to China and some had never even left the country before, so we went into this trip full of excitement and nerves with no idea what to expect.
After braving the 11-hour flight from Melbourne to Shanghai, we all stepped off tired but excited to see what China was really like for ourselves.
The first thing I remember is just the awe-inspiring scale of everything in Shanghai. The airport was huge and when we finally gathered all our things, met up with our tour guide, David, and boarded the bus towards the city centre, we all sat there staring out of the windows soaking in the night life. Shanghai has a population of around 24 million people, which is about the same number as the total population of Australia. As we drove towards our hotel we were met with what seemed like endless droves and patterns of different apartment buildings and bright city lights that continued as far as the eye could see.
We spent two days in Shanghai before catching a coach to Suzhou. After Suzhou we headed back to Shanghai for a night before catching a flight to Xian and spending a few days there. Once we finished our time in Xian we caught the bullet train to Beijing to spend the remaining four days of our trip before heading back home. In total, the trip went for 13 days.
In Shanghai, the weather was perfect at around 10-25 degrees. We visited the Bund along the Huangpu river, saw Shanghai’s Old Town and various beautiful gardens. A favourite amongst the students at Shanghai was our visit to the famous Oriental Pearl Tower overlooking the city where you could see Shanghai in its true magnitude.
Suzhou is a small town famous for its classic gardens and is often referred to as the Oriental Venice as various canals run through it. In Suzhou, we visited a variety of stunningly beautiful gardens and saw the Oriental Leaning Tower. We also went on a relaxing cruise along one of the canals that ran through a beautiful ancient area of Suzhou.
The next city we visited was Xian where the weather was quite hot and on various days exceeded 30 degrees. Xian is famous for its rich history and has many famous sites of historical importance to the Chinese. We enjoyed cycling along the Ancient City Walls, and with a choice of riding single or tandem bikes, this became one of the favourite activities of the trip amongst the students. The next day we visited the highly anticipated Terracotta Warriors and saw a Tang Dynasty Show along with a fantastic dumpling dinner. Our last day in Xian was spent at a local high school where we met with students, attended some of their classes and played a basketball match against them.
Lastly, we went to Beijing, a huge city where it was very cold and even snowed at one point. There we visited the Great Wall, Pearl Market, Tian’anmen Square, the Forbidden City, Beijing Zoo, Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven.
This was easily one of the greatest experiences of my life and many students would agree. It was a great opportunity to see the world with some of my best friends and even make some new ones. I would highly recommend this trip to any students considering it in the future.
David Fullarton - Year 11