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Beijing Cultural Immersion Trip

DAY 1 - 26 Nov

The group arrived safely in a Beijing, though  the girls were tired from the early flight, their spirits were high and they were looking forward to the rest of the learning journey. 

Day 2 - 27 Nov

We visited the Great Wall of China and Peking University today. 

The Great Wall left a deep impression on all of us as we were all amazed at its scale and structure. 

I learnt the history behind the Great Wall of China and that many people had lost their lives building it and how they had suffered under the harsh conditions in the process. Climbing the Great Wall was not easy as the steps were steep. It was tiring climbing up the section of the Great Wall and I realised it must have been more difficult for those who built it! From my experience and what I know about the Great Wall, I leant the perseverance and determination are very important values and we should not give up even when things get difficult. 
- Alyssia Neo

At the Peking University, we were privileged to get a guide who explained the history of the university to us. 

I learnt about the history and architecture  of Peking University and the importance of some of its structures. The older buildings were designed like those from the Qing dynasty and had intricate carvings on them. I also learnt more about the places of interest at the university, for example the water pagoda - how it used to supply water to those living in the university but now it is unused and closed due to advancements in technology. Visiting the university was an amazing experience for me! 
- Jean Yeo 

Day 3 - 28 Nov

We visited the 798 Art Zone, Laoshe Teahouse and The Branch School of Beijing No. 50 Middle School. 

At the 798 Art Zone, we got to know how this place transformed from a industrial area to the home of Beijing contemporary artists today. We were taken in by the quaint exhibition areas, shops and artistic sculptures. 

We proceeded to the Laoshe Teahouse and were treated to a shadow puppet performance while we ate lunch. After that, the guide explained to us the art of tea making and appreciation. 

The highlight of the day was the visit to The Branch School of Beijing No. 50 Middle School where the Principal, teachers and students extended a very warm welcome to us. Every student got an opportunity to participate in an extra-curricular activity and thoroughly enjoyed herself! 

I enjoyed inner painting a lot! I had to paint the interior of a glass bottle with a thin, fine brush and the process required a lot of patience and definitely, steady hand control. It was a very interesting activity as I never got to experience this in school. 
- Seah Chieh Yee

I appreciated the warm welcome by the school and it reminded me of the warmth that IJ extends others! They had interesting extra curricular activities that gave the students the opportunity to learn traditional Chinese art. I took part in the mask painting activity and I learnt to be more patient and to persevere in completing my mask.
 - Breenise Lee

Day 4 - 29 Nov

Our first stop was to the Beijing Enamel factory where we were acquainted with the art of cloissane making. The cloissane were truly breathtaking! We then went to the hosting school for a morning of lessons - PE and a variety of subjects such as Art, Physics, English etc. The afternoon was spent at Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City where we were exposed to the rich Chinese Imperial history and culture. 

I learnt many things from the activities today.  Firstly, the students were very responsive when the teacher asked a question and they were very positive even if they have answered it wrongly. Therefore, I realise the importance of taking the initiative in class to answer questions and I aspire to do the same. I have also grown to appreciate the rich Chinese culture and history and developed a stronger interest in them. The trip to the enamel factory gave me an insight to the specialities of Chinese craftsmanship and that we should be proud of it. Lastly, the visit to the Forbidden City provided me with much knowledge about the Chinese palaces and the trip was indeed enriching! 
- Heng Hwee Ki

China is a place filled with lots of culture and history! The Chinese Cloissane is an example of it - it has a rich history behind it and its  manufacturing process is very tedious and the end product is truly beautiful. I thus learnt the need to value our cultures and traditions. 
- Tong Ching Yi

Day 5 - 30 Nov 

Today marked the last day of our school visit as she made a trip to a Ceramics factory. The students at The Branch School of Beijing No. 50 Middle School go there for their extra curricular activity and we were excited to be given an opportunity to try out the activities. We were shown the process of making ceramics and while we were there, the Beijing TV crew happened to be filming a documentary and even interviewed two of our students! 

In the afternoon, we visited Prince Gong's Mansion and were introduced to the history behind the place and how He Shen abused his position and amassed immense riches amounting to more than the country's treasury at that time! 

We were given the opportunity to design our own art piece on a porcelain plate. It gave me the chance to be creative and express my own ideas onto the plate. A lot of perseverance is needed when making ceramics as it is a tedious job. Though there were moments I felt like giving up, I held on and finished my final product. In addition, it gave me a better insight behind the scenes of pottery making. 
-  Low Zi Yan 

I learnt that pottery making is a tedious process than at requires a lot of patience and determination. It takes years to master this process and it is harder than what most people imagine it to be. I now will have second thoughts before thinking if anything is too easy for me and I will try everything that comes my way. 
- Jannessa Nita Bernard 

I learnt how to make pottery and even though it was not easy I think I have tried my best. I learnt how to be patient while making the pottery as I had to be slow and careful and try my best to shape it properly. I also tried to paint on a ceramic plate using different coloured paint. It was something that I wanted to try and i enjoyed myself! 
- Ariel Kwok 

Patience was important for the painting activity as my drawing involved very thin lines. We should not give up on something even if it takes a long time to complete as we will achieve it in the end. When we have completed it, it will also give us a sense of satisfaction. I found the pottery making hard to handle as the mould got out of shape easily but as long as we have the determination, nothing is impossible! 
- Nicole Ang

Day 6 - 1 Dec

We woke up rather early this morning to catch the high speed bullet train to Tianjin. It was a great experience and an otherwise 3 hour bus journey was shortened to a mere 29 minutes. 

At Tianjin, we visited the Culture Street and the highlight of the day was the Sino-Singapore Eco City and we were privileged to be shown around the premises and were introduced to the key developments of the place. The architecture of the buildings reminded us very much of Singapore and we were impressed by the use of renewable and alternative sources of energy in that place. We hope we can adopt more of this in Singapore. 

We are sad that we have come to the last day of our learning journey as we will be heading back to Singapore tomorrow. There is a lot of takeaways from this trip and all of us have an increased appreciation of Chinese language, history and culture and of course, of our own country as well.