Itchen Students Visit China

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Over the summer, a group of Itchen students went on a trip of a lifetime to China, visiting the port city of Qingdao. Here are what some of them had to say about their experiences:

Mel Lockheart, Head of Faculty for Geography, Travel, Humanities and Modern Languages.

'Southampton is a sister city of the Chinese city of Qingdao and Itchen has received students from Qingdao to our international school for many years. Qingdao Education bureau invited a small group of students and teachers to take part in a cultural study tour in the city in July 2019. This was an amazing opportunity for our students to experience the Chinese education system and Chinese culture.  There were 4 international groups taking part in this visit, ourselves and delegations from Regensburg in Germany, St Petersburg in Russia and Orsa, Belarus. Our students made friends with these students as well as the Chinese students who were taking part in the summer school.

We were staying in the Qingdao experimental High School, and the first three days we took part in a wide range of activities including Lion and Dragon dancing, Chinese martial arts, Chinese painting and calligraphy, cooking, music and singing and other cultural activities. All of our students were paired with a Chinese student to help them, and there were some strong friendships built over the course of the 10 days. We were also taken to a variety of places in and around Qingdao, including the Qingdao port, the Beer museum and brewery, the beach, the Olympic sailing museum – (Qingdao hosted the sailing events in the 2008 Beijing Olympics). We also visited one of the schools that Itchen is in partnership with in Qingdao and were made very welcome.'

Riley Woodfood, student

'Wow I don’t know where to start, This trip has really really been an eye opener and the most incredible experience. From the amazing cultural trips around the beautiful city of Qingdao to the clever calligraphy in the classroom, to the intense lion dance classes and performances.

This trip really has proved how diverse and different China is from England and how embracing this to its full potential will only enhance your experience. I will never forget the amazing friendships I made from all over the globe, from Germany to Belarus to Russia and of course China. All of us have connected through our differences in culture and personalities, which for me has topped off the trip.

Another thing which has amazed me on this trip is the incredible architecture of every single building throughout the Qingdao Experimental High School, towering above us all on the ground. Finally I would like to thank the people of Qingdao and the Qingdao Experimental High school for being so lovely and welcoming towards us all. Thank you Qingdao you will always be in our hearts!'

Martyna Wollert, student

'Our trip to China was overall a great and unforgettable experience. We started off the week with lessons on Chinese culture which was very interesting, considering that most of us have never done calligraphy before, or learned about Chinese culture.

Not everyone gets the chance to experience a trip like this in their lifetime and I am very grateful for Qingdao for giving us young people this opportunity. I’ll never forget that we had the chance to try Kung Fu and lion dancing, which is a very important part in the Chinese culture.

Later on, throughout the week we visited the most beautiful parts of Qingdao. This included The Ocean University of China, The Han Portrait Brick Museum, and the Beer Museum. Furthermore, it is a must to mention our visit to the Yellow Island and Qingdao Port, considering that Qingdao is the owner of the very first port in the entire world, controlled only by robots.

China is an amazing place to visit, as there is something for everyone. Being a port city, we have also enjoyed ourselves on a cruise, during which we saw the impressive skyscrapers of Qingdao. This experience has given us memories that we will never, ever forget.'