Grade 7 Rise to the Challenge in Fujian, China
Day 4- Student Perspective
During the bike ride, there was two parts. The morning ride and the afternoon ride, separated by lunch. The morning ride had lots of hills and proved to be quite difficult. The afternoon ride though was mainly going down hill. The breeze was very relaxing, and the view was awesome. It was very comforting, aside from the discomfort of sitting on a bike seat for so long. After lunch we spent the afternoon exploring an abandoned Tu Llou that was actually built in the 1800s but destroyed in 1931 during a Chinese civil war. Not far from where we visited, there was another UNESCO heritage Tu Lou and we learned that several members of the family had advanced degrees, so the Tu Lou was named the ‘scholar’s Tulou. We had the opportunity to build our own Tulou out of mud and made sketches of them. We ended the night with similar performances from the other group and a big dinner. We are sad to be leaving Fujian but are excited to share our experiences with the ISNS community.
Day 3- Through the eyes of a student
Today, we split into two groups. One group went cycling, and our group started the Tu Lou exploration. The exploration was to understand more and experience the different Tu Lou and also about the Hakka culture and history. Many of the sites are protected by UNESCO because of their rich history and heritage. Students were separated into six groups that were tasked to explore and also interview the local population. In addition, we were able to also buy some locally dried persimmons. After this activity, we went on a rigorous hike. We saw ancestral burial sites, beautiful countryside, a cool windmill and finally an amazing view of the village of Chuxi. Later at the scenic lookout, we took a group photo and practiced our short skits to perform after dinner. The skits were related to each Tu Lou that was assigned to the groups. The food in the afternoon was delicious and many people were fond of the homemade French fries. At dinner time, the cycling students came back and watched the shows prepared by the Tu Lou exploration group. There was a lot of laughter. Tomorrow, the two groups will switch activites.
Day 2- In the eyes of a student
Today, we traveled for two and a half hour on the bus to the tea plantation. We learned the different types of oolong tea, including the red tea and the flower tea. We also experienced first hand how to pick tea leaves (note: pick the top three leaves only) and the process of making tea. We also learned important tea ettiquet, like how important it is on how you serve tea to your guests. Along with these fun facts, we learned so much about tea and the culture around it. The food was amazing.
"It feels great to be closer to Mother Nature and become our truest forms. We are having tons and tons of fun!"
Grade 7 student
After, we returned to our hotel to dig into a bit of research about Tu Lous (土楼). After our research, we were confident in knowing that there were three types of Tu Lou, which included the circular and the square shaped designs. At around 6:30 PM, we went to Fuyulou to have dinner, there were more delicious food served and we enjoyed immensely. Tomorrow we will split into two teams, one will be on a cycling expedition and the other exploring the Tu Lou. We are excited!
Another student said;
"One thing I learned today is that the Tulou is about 160 rooms and at one point 200+ people had lived here!"
Grade 7 student
Day 1- Traveling to Fujian
Today was a wonderful day! It was the first day of the school field trip. In the morning we were gathered together at school and found our group mates. Then we spent several hours on a train and a bus and finally arrived safely in Fujian. To start our adventure, we went to the Nanputuo temple, which overlooks one of the oldest universities in China, Xiamen University. Nanputuo has nine lions that guard the entrance, three main houses and four large ‘kings of heaven’ statues. We completed a scavenger hunt to help us learn about the temple and the history of the area. We even challenged each other with head to head contests, sang funny raps and acted like wild animals.
Fun fact, did you know that loyalist to the Ming Dynasty once renamed Xiamen to Siming, which means remembering the Ming?
Grade 7 student
After, we went to the Shapowei Harbour area and ate dinner at the food castle. The food castle is a three-story food court with lots of local dishes and even had a unique soy sauce ice cream! After we finished dinner, one of the Hutong program guide, Jeff, told us a story about Koxinga from the Ming Dynasty. Fun fact, did you know that loyalist to the Ming Dynasty once renamed Xiamen to Siming, which means remembering the Ming? After a great dinner and amazing story, we settled into our hotel rooms and went to bed, looking forward to the adventure ahead.