China is one of thebest EF tours I have been on. It was only my second trip for EF. It was a bit of a bold choice going there, since it is so different than Europe, but I was so happy we went. Anytime I am doing presentations for the schools, I suggest to teachers to check out the EF China trip.
When you sign up for EF you get to go on one training tour and I decided to pick Beijing because I had no idea if I would ever go back there. I went there during New Years and I fell in love with the culture. I liked it so much that the following year I took students to China. We went to multiple cities: Beijing, Xian, Yangshuo, and Shanghai.
"The China trip debunked a lot of misconceptions I had about Chinese culture. I was able experience a part of the world we always talk about, but never really have a chance to see. The entire trip was extremely immersive and allowed me to really take advantage of all China had to offer!"
-- Kristin recently graduated from Chapman University and works for an admission counselor for Cal Tech
"I was able to experience many different and new cultures within China, and it even inspired me to study Mandarin as a foreign language in college. Traveling with a group of friends, peers, and teachers is a great way to have fun, experience a new country, and gain knowledge all at the same time. Overall, it was an unforgettable trip.
-- Mark is currently finishing up his major in Economics at Oregon St University.
This was my second time in Beijing, and both times have been a great experience. Going to the ancient city, known as the Forbidden City, the home of great Chinese emperors is a surreal experience. Seeing the room of the famous Dragon Lady, the last empress of China, as well as the winter palace from a Westerners' perspective is remarkable. China is so different from Europe and the experience provides a good contrast for the students as it gets them out of their comfort zone. Europe is a magical place, and as you can see from my previous trips I love going there, but China is a unique trip. On one of the days in Beijing we went to the Great Wall which is about an 1 1/2 hour bus ride. Created by 6 dynasties, the Great Wall is an incredible feat of engineering.
Xian appears to be a rather typical industrialized Chinese city, but when you start driving around, it is the famous Terracotta warriors that were discovered in 1974 by farmers which makes it such a landmark for China. We now know the Emperor Qin had around 700,000 workers over a 30 - year time span built his tomb which also included around 6,000 soldiers. I thought one of the most amazing things about these warriors are each face is unique. Now they haven't excavated where they think his body may be for fear of destroying anything, but new discoveries continue as the world's archeology methods become more advanced.
The food was a highlight for many of the students as well as myself as it was very different than what we were used to. It was fun trying something new. Later, we went to the night market and tried some more exotic choices; I tried some scorpion. It was not that bad. I definintely recommend you take your students to the night market.
Yangshuo was not just my favorite place in China but one of my favorite cities in the world. It is what I think of, when I think of rural China. It is a city that focus on farming but still has some modern luxuries. The scenery is beautiful and we went out to a small village where we talked with a local farmer at his house. We took a bamboo raft on the river and climbed Moon Hill. Make sure you go here on your China trip because although Beijing, Xian and Shanghai give you some great ideas about China, this is the only city that is going to help you understand the agrarian culture of China.
Our final destination before we came home was Shanghai, the financial capital of Asia. The "New York of the East," as some call it has a unique skyline and a fun nightlife. It is a surreal feeling to be in the biggest city in the world, boasting a population of over 24 million people. It was a good way to cap off our trip. Seeing Shanghai at night is such a sight!
I believe we got a little bit of everything on our China tour; we visited its ancient cities and sites, a rural farming city and its modern metropolis. On the left I am feeding a Water Ox. Thought that would be a good capstone, luckily there is no next picture where I am in the water.