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Upper School News & Stories

Global Learning: China
Posted 04/08/2015 08:30AM

A group of 14 Upper Schoolers crossed the globe over Spring Break to learn more about the history, culture, and language of China.

Accompanied by their language teachers, Meng Lusardi and Lu Li, the students began the trip in Shanghai, exploring the modern architecture of the financial district and the city’s century-old neighborhoods with their traditional and elegant buildings and gardens. The food was exotic: braised whole fish soup, jellyfish, and soup with whole duck.

An international business capital, Shanghai has attracted many expatriates, including Kenneth Huang '87. The students met him for lunch and discussed career options that can result from Chinese studies. They also reconnected for dinner with two Chinese families that had come to RCS in February with a group of Chinese students.

For five days, the students were in the beautiful city of Suzhou, where they stayed with host families who took them to the local attractions and included them in family activities with grandparents and relations. They spent three days at the Suzhou No. 6 high school, which specializes in art. They visited the Lion's Forest Garden, which features a traditional rock garden, and Tiger Hill, a historical site and the inspiration for many ancient legends.

In Zhouzhuang, a village built on canals, the students spent a day of sightseeing along the bridges and in museums that are still homes.

In Beijing, the students stayed in a hotel designed in the traditional style not far from the Forbidden City. They visited Tiananmen Square, bargained in the Silk Market, attended an opera performance in a traditional teahouse, and climbed a steep portion of the Great Wall outside the city. While in Beijing, they went to Qinghua High School and University and the Keystone International School. They went to Xiangtang Cultural Village in a Beijing suburb, where they took calligraphy, meditation and kungfu classes.

At an Upper School assembly on Tuesday, the students described the trip. While the students were impressed with all that they saw, they especially enjoyed their home says. “We all believed we had a family in China,” one student said. “It was all really that great.”

In October, Riverdale expects to host some of the Chinese students that they befriended on the trip.

For more information about Riverdale's global studies programs, click here.

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