July 2018 will be an extremely exciting month for St Philip Howard Catholic Voluntary Academy as this is the month the school will embark on its first ever trip to China!
Working in conjunction with UCL’s Institute of Education and Hanban, China’s Educational Authority, SPH will spend just over 2 weeks in Beijing and one other province (tbc).
Highlights in Beijing will include the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, The Summer Palace, The Forbidden City and the Olympic Complex, including the Bird Nests Stadium.
20 hours will be spent in the classroom learning Mandarin, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Pupils will participate in a number of cultural activities ranging from dumpling making to Kung Fu.
This truly is a trip of a life time!
Good luck to those pupils applying for a place.
The trip began with two long flights, somewhat tiring since they were mostly throughout the night: English time on the first flight and China time (7 hours ahead of English time) on the second flight. But, despite this, there were plenty of opportunities for some glorious sunshine and enticing views.
On the first flight we embarked on our journey to Dubai where we would catch our connecting flight to Beijing: our home for the week. The meals included beef with sweet potato mash and vegetables or chicken Korma and sticky rice, along with a coleslaw starter and a berry and cream dessert for pudding.
For some, the overall Emirates experience proved to be more than memorable since students were in awe of the fact that they had never seen a plane this ‘luxurious’ and, therefore, was something that they needed to spend time ensuring they had, ‘…taken it all in’. They did just that for the next 6 hours, whilst watching films of their choice on personalised TV screens and playing collaborative games with friends in seats on another row.
The next flight from Dubai to Beijing proved even more enjoyable when choices such as garlic prawns and braised beef, alongside a fresh bean salad and a strawberry mousse. The ‘snack’ later on the flight was chicken noodles and sponge cake- Chinese style. Despite being full from the many meals prior to this and, the fact that it was the middle of the night, no-one could resist and, began to get into the spirit of Chinese cuisine by indulging in all manner of dishes on offer.
When we arrived in Beijing, students had another session of finger prints at the airport (just to double check we were who we said we were- not only in our passports, Visas and in our previous fingerprints at the Visa Application Centre but now in person too!).
Finally, we passed through immigration and boarded the monorail to collect our luggage. We were greeted in the arrivals hall by our Beijing tour guide for the next few days and our host teachers from North East Yucai School who welcomed us and took us to the extremely comfortable, Jinfeng Hotel which, was even more greatly received than the Emirates plane, not just because of students’ jetlag but also because it meant we not only had the chance to travel in style, but now live in style too! After the long day travelling, the power showers and feather pillows were put to good use in our first night's rest before Day One of our Beijing sight-seeing tour.