In February half term, 16 Humanities students from Coulsdon Sixth Form College went on an educational trip of a lifetime to China. Supported by teaching staff, the students submerged themselves in the culture and history over a 5 day trip.

The students are mainly studying humanity courses at College such as History, Politics and Sociology but some are studying Travel & Tourism and Hospitality. They started their adventure with a 10 hour flight from Heathrow to Beijing before hitting the ground running with a visit to the 600 year old Temple of Heaven.

Day 2, the history tour continued with a visit to Tiananmen Square, Mao’s Mausoleum and the Forbidden City. Ivan Tomb, Head of Humanities said, ‘The students were amazed at Tiananmen Square and the sheer scale of it plus the thousands of people who had come to visit Chairman Mao lying in state in his Mausoleum. Lotus, our local guide, led an interesting tour of the Forbidden City and we marvelled at the home of China’s Emperor’s during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1420 – 1911 AD).’

He continued, ‘In the afternoon, we visited a Chinese Tea House and got to taste a range of authentic Chinese teas before the A Level History students went for a lecture by local Professor on the Cultural Revolution 1966 – 1976; this was a really helpful insight for the History students, as it supports paper 2 in the exam period.’

Day 3 saw a trip to the Great Wall of China. The students were surprised to discover the wall is held together by rice cement! Walking across it they had the words of Mao ringing in their ears ‘You are not a man until you have climbed the Great Wall of China.’  Then they visited the Sacred Road and the Ming Tombs before experiencing a Jade Factory.

On the final day in Beijing, students went to meet a group of Chinese Primary School children and saw how China is developing sustainable agriculture before a bit of shopping and a visit to the Olympic Stadium. The trip was finished off with an acrobatics show.

Ivan concluded, ‘The trip was incredible and we all learnt a lot about Chinese culture and history. Giving students an extraordinary insight into China and it’s dynastic past was not only fascinating; it will help students with their studies.’

Hands on experiences like this trip bring teaching to life. Immersing into cultures can help understand complexities which you cannot always gauge from a textbook. Coulsdon Sixth Form College will continue to organise trips to engage and assist the learner.

Take a look at the pictures from the trip here.


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