Books are windows to the world; the ability to step into and explore the pages of those books is an adventure. For the past several weeks Ally has had her nose buried in textbooks studying the rise and fall of the great Chinese dynasties. Her eyes connected words and sentences that took her into the mind of the powerful First Emperor, on a journey across the Silk Road, and through the revolution that created and shaped the Republic of China. Today, she and many of the other MZS middle-school students are on their way to China to see those facts and stories come to life.
The students will spend a week immersing themselves in China’s dynamic history and rich culture. They will travel by plane, bullet train, shuttle bus, and rickshaw to see its national treasures, which include the Great Wall, the Terracotta Soldiers, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. Aside from site-seeing, they will have many opportunities to engage in hands-on activities. They will take a martial arts lesson from a tai-chi master, bike along Xi’an’s city wall, and visit a pottery factory to make their own terracotta soldier. They will attend a local school to engage in academic and athletic activities with Chinese students, and shop at a local market to buy fresh ingredients before going to a familial courtyard home to learn the time-honored tradition of dumpling making. And, if time allows, they will walk through Beijing’s popular Dong Hua Men night market to test their haggling skills and indulge in its unique and unforgettable gastronomy (spiders, snake, scorpions, silkworms, and centipede on sticks).
Confucius, China’s most notable and distinguished philosopher, understood and validated the idea of cementing knowledge by seeing and doing. He said, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” This trip will give Ally and her friends a heightened and more enriched understanding of Ancient China, and memories that will last them a lifetime. Perjalanan aman, Ally!