Bilingual Studies Programme (BSP) Xi’An Trip 2017
The ten days of venturing into the ancient city of Xi’an, China, was nothing less than an intriguing experience. The city’s heady mix of history, culture and modernity emitted an exotic vibe that attracted the students to further uncover its beauty. The unusual sight of Chinese Muslims roaming the streets of Xi’an has added to the unique flavour of the city. The students were later thrilled to learn about the rich heritage of Chinese Muslims in China during a tour around the Great Mosque of Xi’an (清真寺). Some of the highlights of the trip must have been the historical tour around the Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor (黄帝陵), the Daming Palace (大明宫), and the opportunity to witness the stunning Terracotta figures of the Qin dynasty (秦兵马佣). These, coupled with the museum trips and informative tour commentaries, have taught the group that discovering a country’s heritage and history is the key to understanding its place in the world today.
The group’s detour to Yan’an also gave them significant insights into the political turmoil of China in the olden days that outlined China’s route towards a Communist society we see at this very day. Students and teachers were also privileged to attend several enriching lectures by the professors of Northwest University (西北大学), on topics ranging from China’s international relations, education system, communism and revolution, as well as its take on climate change. This has very much contributed to their understanding of China, and has probed them to ponder upon its capacity for future advancements. Their factory visit to Yili Dairy Group（伊利乳业）has also allowed them to better understand the secret behind the smooth operation of this globally recognised company: essentially, an efficient, passionate and energetic staff. One of the main highlights of the trip was having the chance to witness the magnificent Song of Everlasting Sorrow (长恨歌), a beautiful musical set against the natural backdrop of Mount Li (骊山). The graceful motion of the female lead, coalesced with the robust performance of her male counterpart, bringing its audience on an emotional rollercoaster ride through their bittersweet love story. Not to mention, the special effects captured everyone’s hearts and kept the audience on the edge of their seats. These very much summed up the trip to Xi’an, China as part of the Bicultural Studies Programme. On the whole, this journey has been a real eye-opener and has taught both students and teachers invaluable lessons beyond the classroom. There is a quote which says: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel, only read a page.” This could not be more true, especially with regards to this experience!
17Y4L Huang Rui Yue had this to say about her experience:
“My Xi’an Immersion was a fruitful and enriching one. Many interesting programmes were lined up for us. The journey started with visiting the top university in Shaanxi Province, the Northwest University. We had several lectures there with the professors, which broadened our knowledge of China. Besides, the lectures were conducted in Chinese, which value-added to our learning of the BSP modules in school. The visits to museums and various industries also deepened my understanding of China’s culture, history, and business acumen. What intrigued us most was the history of the city itself. Once known as Chang’an (Eternal Peace), Xi’an marks the Silk Road’s eastern end and was home to eleven dynasties’ ruling houses. At archaeological sites in Xi’an’s surrounding plains were the famed Terra Cotta Army, where thousands of life-size, hand-moulded figures were buried with China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. The preservation of Xi’an’s ancient culture did not hinder modern city life. Instead, it has added a vibrancy and identity to the city. This overseas immersion trip to Xi’an, the most ancient city of China, has definitely sparked my curiosity to explore and experience the rich culture and long history of China.”