Ready to expand your educational horizons? If you’ve been wondering why you should take your students on a school trip to China, we’ve got plenty of reasons. China will open your students’ eyes to new cultures, customs, and wisdom. From tea harvesting and Mandarin language immersion to learning about the country’s heritage and rural village life, the possibilities for learning are endless! Keep reading to discover 5 new things students can learn on a school trip to China.
#1 Learn Mandarin!
Learning Mandarin on a school trip to China is an exciting and rewarding experience. Not only will you be able to practice the language in a real-world setting, but you will also get to explore the culture and history of one of the world’s oldest civilizations. A school trip to China is a great way for students to learn about Chinese culture and language. From exploring ancient cities and monuments, trying out traditional cuisine, or simply engaging with locals, students will gain invaluable insight into Chinese life.
WildChina has a few trips up our sleeve in our language immersion program. This will help them gain confidence in speaking Mandarin and understand more about the country’s customs and traditions. Learning a language can be difficult and time-consuming, but a school trip to China is the perfect way to learn Mandarin while creating life-long memories. We want to give you an immersive experience that can’t be replicated in the classroom, which is what experiential learning is all about!
The best part about this skill is that students can practice it whenever. During Kung Fu or Tai Chi lessons, students can learn in a bilingual environment. While strolling through local markets in the heart of China, practice identifying food and objects with their Chinese name. Those who are more confident in their Mandarin-speaking skills can even try purchasing souvenirs in the language. In our Classical China: Great Cities trip to Beijing trip, students can speak with the locals as they join them in their leisure activities at the Temple of Heaven. There are so many opportunities for students to practice their Mandarin from touring ancestral grounds to singing traditional songs to homestay.
#2 Discover What Rural Village Life Is Like
Our Inside Guizhou: A Discovery of Miao, Buyi, and Dong Traditions school trip to China is the perfect program for this experience. This trip whisks you away on an exclusive journey to explore the rich cultural traditions of the Buyi, Miao, and Dong people through local experiences amidst a backdrop of karst mountains, rice terraces, and wooded hillsides. The customs and history of the Dong people will be taught to you by a Dali Dong village elder. Did you know that the Dong people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Guizhou? If you are interested in learning more about ethnic minorities in China, we have a blog post coming soon on that topic!
Even while you are discovering what rural village life in China is like, you’ll be learning more skills such as fishing, traditional Chinese cooking, farming, and traditional song and dance. After enjoying the unique landscape with a village shaman, you’ll get to experience a private Dong a cappella performance.
Another thing you will learn on your school trip to China is a Dong dyeing technique, using soybeans that interestingly produce light blue ink. At the Feiyunya Village, you may even get to witness an ancestral worship festival called Lusheng Festival that involves dancing, rooster fighting, and water buffalo fighting! Numerous unique experiences such as these await you on your school trip to China.
#3 The History of Chinese Currency
You may know that paper was one of China’s great inventions that revolutionized the world. So it is no wonder that China was the first to produce paper currency, courtesy of Emperor Zhenzong (真宗, zhēn zōng) sometime between 997-1022 CE. Paper currency had spread to many other parts of the world by the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It’s important to note that ancient Chinese paper money was not used like it is today. Instead, they acted similarly to checks. By 1107 CE, money was printed in six colors. Apparently, Marco Polo was the one who introduced paper money to Western civilization after traveling to China and being impressed by paper money.
Did you know that ancient Chinese coins had a square hole in the center? They were made this way so that it was convenient to string them together. Coins were carried around this way and the shape of them reflected the ancient idea that heaven was round and the earth was square. Interestingly, coins were also worn as amulets around the neck to ward off demons. There were even coins shaped like swords to ward off evil spirits.
Money is called 钱 (qián) in Chinese. Modern paper currency is called RMB, which stands for 人民币 (rén mín bì), meaning People’s Currency. It is also called Yuan (元, yuán). 1 yuan is made up of 10 Jiao (角, jiâo), similar to how a hundred pennies equal one dollar in the US, although Jiao is of course much smaller in value. Many storefronts now encourage the use of digital money on platforms such as WeChat Pay, or Alipay, but you may still get to use coins and paper money in very local markets.
#4 Tea Harvesting & Tea Tasting
On some of our school trips to China programs, your students will have opportunities to learn about Chinese tea customs, take part in tea ceremonies, and visit traditional teahouses. In other programs, your students will get to visit tea plantations to learn about tea harvesting techniques and the process from a tea plantation to a cup of tea in somebody’s home.
Tea is a large part of Chinese culture, and it is worlds different from how you may be used to enjoying tea. Whereas tea is commonly sold in boxes of teabags in Western countries, authentic Chinese tea comes in the form of loose leaves in airtight aluminum packets and/or tins. It is also uncommon for Chinese tea to be sold in different flavors—the tea variety itself is its own flavor.
Our Ancient Tea Trail journey is a 7-day school trip to China that brings you to Yunnan. Between scavenger hunts and learning about mangroves and farming culture, students will take a hike to an isolated tea plantation to learn how to process tea in small groups.
#5 Traditional Handicrafts
Whilst supporting local economies on your school trip to China, we also strive to showcase local artisanal culture and heritage. Pottery and porcelain, carving, silk, embroidery, printing and dyeing, and glassware are all part of the many ancient Chinese artisanal crafts. One such traditional Chinese handicraft is sugar painting (糖画, táng huà), line drawings on a wooden stick made with melted sugar, which are a common specialty at kids’ birthday parties and in ancient towns. You and your students can see these sugar paintings for yourselves on an 8-day Sichuan Pandas & Bees Conservation school trip to China.
Students can take a mini pottery lesson on a school trip to Xi’an (西安, xī ān) and, should you feel inclined, any other traditional handicraft that you’d like to learn during your school trip to China. The school trips we offer are entirely customizable and our team’s flexibility means all your needs will be met, whether that’s before or during your trip with us. Calligraphy, another one of China’s ancient arts, is something your students can learn if that is something you would like to include on your school trip to China.
Start planning your trip with us today!
With its rich history and vibrant culture, there is so much to explore when visiting this fascinating country! Let us ensure your journey is safe, reliable, and comfortable from beginning to end while you explore all that China has to offer. No matter where you want to go and how you would like to learn about China, we can help bring your vision to life. All you have to do is tell us! Our guides are not only excellent storytellers, but they can also provide insights only locals possess. Don’t forget: we are reachable by phone or email. Our travel designers are looking forward to assisting you!