When someone mentions China, inevitably, dragons, lanterns and chopsticks come to mind. Or if you’re one of the few who are attracted to many bright signs and shining lights, there are images of skyscrapers, smart phones and an everlasting rush hour.

The MFL trip to Sichuan in October 2015 provided the pupils with the opportunity to observe and experience both the traditional culture and the modern life of China.

During the first week, the pupils stayed with host families. Apart from offering their host buddies private English tuition in the evenings, they also attended some workshops of traditional Chinese calligraphy and paper cutting. In addition, they had a few late afternoons off to explore the city and its cultural places with their host families.

The pupils spent the first five days of the trip in a primary school in Meishan, mainly teaching English to pupils from Grade 1 to Grade 5. The most interesting finding, according to all the participants, was that all the Chinese pupils were especially attentive and had an unbelievable memory.

After the emotional farewell with the host families, they headed for the skyscrapers and bright lights of Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, for an exciting itinerary of travel and sightseeing.

The first day was spent going around gardens and visiting the Temple for Zhuge Liang, a strategist of Three Kingdom, and the Cottage of Du Fu, a Tang Dynasty poet. The evening ended with souvenir shopping at a traditional style street market, and watching Sichuan Opera.

On the second day pupils had private tours of two Chinese companies, and on the last full day in Chengdu they started off at a giant panda breeding base, and finished the day shopping at the world’s biggest shopping mall, which also had two 5 star hotels and its own beach.

Alongside the cultural highlights, pupils had the opportunity to develop their language skills, in an immersive experience.

H Yan