By David Cottam
While the third quarter came to a close and students prepared to enjoy their spring break, a group of students, including myself, got ready for a trip of a lifetime to the country of China.
Four students and two faculty members left Salt Lake City early on Friday morning for a 14-hour flight heading across the world to our first destination of the trip: Chengdu, China. While in Chengdu, we were able to stay with students of our sister school, Shi Shi High School, and represent Wasatch Academy. Living with Chinese families immersed us in the culture and gave us new insight into Chinese culture and traditions. We spent four nights exploring the city and learning more about China with our host families. At the high school, we met many students, as well as participated in activities like Tai Chi, Chinese calligraphy, traditional Chinese painting, and dumpling making. In addition to the school, we went to a famous panda preserve where we saw black and white pandas as well as smaller red pandas that were free to roam and interact with the visitors. We visited an irrigation system that has been bringing water to the city for hundreds of years. The irrigation system is surrounded by ancient Chinese buildings that are connected by swinging bridges. Eventually, the time came to say goodbye to Chengdu and the incredible Shi Shi High School and head to a must-visit location in China: Beijing.
After arriving in Beijing, we met with some of our fellow Wasatch Academy students that were home in Beijing over the break. They treated us to a traditional Chinese dinner of Peking Duck. We visited an incredible wonder of the world, The Great Wall, and climbed it’s incredibly steep and curvy path. Our visit to this astonishing monument was followed by a trip to the famous Forbidden City with its 980 buildings, the Beijing Llama Temple with a massive Buddha statue, and the street markets where we bartered while shopping for souvenirs.
As we flew away, looking at Beijing from a distance, we realized how quickly our trip came to an end. We had tried new foods like fish eyes, rabbit brains, and chicken feet, made new friends at an incredible school, hiked a wonder of the world, and were fully immersed in the culture of China.