On June 30, 2010, seven Villa Maria students from Secondary 3 and 4 embarked on an unforgettable two-week voyage to China with Social Studies Teacher Janet Lewis â96 and Mathematics Teacher Jennifer Wyse â96. They toured the ancient cities of Beijing, Xiâan, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
For two weeks, they were immersed in history, touring the Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven Park, the Great Wall of China, and the newer Olympic buildings in Beijing. In Xiâan they visited the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi Provincial Historical Museum, and the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses. In Shanghai, a city known for finance and commerce, they visited the Shanghai World Financial Center. Finally, reaching Hong Kong, known for its expansive skyline, sites to be seen included Victoria Peak, Aberdeen Harbour, Stanley Market and Lantau Island.
During their time in China, they were subject to dizzying heights and offered much-appreciated foot messages. They sharpened their bargaining skills and enjoyed the bird, flower and goldfish markets. They investigated the culture by foot, rickshaw and sampan transport, viewed an acrobatic show and historical monuments, tasted mouth-watering food, learned how to speak a little Mandarin, and embraced this magnificent trip, creating treasured memories and friendships.
Miss Lewis remarked, âThe students enjoyed every single day, and we saw friendships grow between girls who had not really known each other before. I think I speak for all of us when I say that the Buddhist Temples were a highlight, as were the Great Wall and Hong Kong. Though the girls were amazed at many of the differences: the food, the traffic, the language, the living space, the bargaining, the toilets, they were also a little shocked that some aspects of Chinese life and society were not that different from our own.â
In conclusion, Miss Wyse said, âWe learned a little bit of Mandarin: âyesâ, ânoâ, âthank youâ, âI love youâ and âwatermelonâ. We are going to have to go back to China to practice. I donât think there would be any complaints from the students. Most wanted to stay longer and so did their teachers!â
Other wonderful trips are offered to the students of Villa Maria: Secondary 4 and 5 students traveled to Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels and England in February, Secondary 4 and 5 students will visit New York City in April, and a trip to Ecuador is planned for June.