Modern languages tour of Beijing and Xi’an

During October half term a group of 30 students went on a trip to Beijing and Xi’an for ten days. For most of us it was our first trip to China and our favourite trip with Latymer so far. It was a completely different experience for all of us; Beijing and Xi’an were busier and more lively than London by far with all the skyscrapers, markets and lights.

One market in particular in the Muslim Quarter of Xi’an was a highlight for many of us as we were immersed in the Chinese street food culture of fruit, desserts, sweets and even scorpions on a stick! We also enjoyed haggling the prices down at the Pearl market in Beijing, taking Miss Wong’s advice to take advantage of the Chinese frenetic approach to bartering. Another highlight for all the students, and Mr Lewis especially, was being able to eat Chinese food 24/7 (even for breakfast!). Going to authentic Chinese restaurants and eating with the locals was a great way to get out of our comfort zone and try new things which were special to certain places eg biang biang noodles, Tang Dynasty dumplings and Chinese Tea.

One of the most memorable parts of our trip was of course the Great Wall. It was such an amazing feeling being able to experience one of the seven wonders of the world in such an intimate section with barely anyone else around. The history and age of the wall made it remarkable (if not a little scary) to climb and the sense of achievement and bliss when you reached a peak was incredible.

Another highlight was when we visited Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing. The square was absolutely massive and, according to our guide, it was as big as 17 football fields meaning it could fit 1 million people in it. Moving into the Forbidden City, we were suddenly surrounded by the ancient buildings of the palace complex built hundreds of years ago. At the other end of the city, we climbed a small hill to view the stunning 72 hectares of ancient Chinese architecture where the emperors had lived for 500 years.

Overall it was an unforgettable trip, thanks to Miss Jang’s amazing planning that made every second count and left everyone not wanting to go home, begging for another Mandarin trip next year!

Gabriel Margolis and Rosella Gostelow (Year 11)

Author: carolineroberts

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