‘Life-changing’ spring break in China ‘exceeded expectations’

The students visited four Chinese cities.
The students visited four Chinese cities.

Fifteen AAPS high school students, along with Fan Wu, who teaches Chinese at Huron and Pioneer high schools, are back in Ann Arbor after spending an action-packed spring break in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xi’an and Beijing, China.

The following are some quotes from the students:

“This trip has exceeded all of my expectations in every single aspect. The food has been amazing, the people have been so nice and helpful. This trip has been an unforgettable experience for me and has truly changed my life. If at any time I were able to return to China I would jump at the chance.” (Marcus, 11th grader from Skyline.)

“China has been a life-changing trip. Experiencing the different culture and exploring the deep history has been an eye opening experience. I hope that I can visit here again soon because China is a never- ending adventure. The people I have met have created memories for me that I will cherish forever. I am truly blessed to have had this opportunity.” (Michael, 11th grader from Skyline.)

“This trip has definitely been a once in a lifetime experience. It was really fun because I knew nobody that was going on this trip and now I feel really close to everyone. We took a lot of photos, so we have a lot to post to the blog! I’m sad that we have to leave tomorrow, but I cant wait to hang out with everyone back in the U.S!” (Langston, 9th grader from Pioneer and Tammy, 12th grader from Huron.)

Left to right are: Grace Battersby, Megan Battersby , Parka Snelson , Tamara Joy Snelson , Fan Wu, Nathaniel L. Powell, Daniel Laurie Moore , Langston Laramore-Josey.
Left to right are: Grace Battersby, Megan Battersby , Parka Snelson , Tamara Joy Snelson , Fan Wu, Nathaniel L. Powell, Daniel Moore, Langston Laramore-Josey.

“Experiencing China with my American compatriots has been, for sooth, a once in a lifetime occurrence.  I’m going to miss China a lot, these have definitely been some of the most fun days I’ve had in a long time. I hope we can all hang out together when we’re back in Ann Arbor.” (Morgan Wang, 12th grader from Skyline and Denial Moore, 11th grader from Pioneer.)

“To have the privilege of seeing two of the Seven Wonders of the World on this trip is amazing.  As well as the amazing sites, the people on this trip made it the complete package.  Thank you to Mrs. Wu and all the parents who helped and who gave their children up for 10 days to go on this adventure.  I will remember all of the wonderful memories forever.”  (Grace, 9th grader from Pioneer and ; Megan, 12th grader from Pioneer.)

“This is unarguably the best trip I have had in my life, and I feel as though it will remain my favorite even in the years to come. I want to say a special thank you to Wu Lao Shi for providing this opportunity; I never anticipated that I would enjoy it as much as I did.”  (Yelta, 9th grader from Pioneer.)

“I am so thankful to have come on this trip with all of these amazing people. Climbing the Great Wall, seeing Buddhist temples, long bus drives, late nights in hotel rooms laughing over a deck of cards; all these wonderful things I have experienced this last week, half a world away, helped me to build relationships with people who sat only a few desks away a few weeks ago. I have shared memories that will last me a lifetime with some of the greatest young people the world has to offer.” (Jackson, 12th grader from Skyline.)


The most remarkable event in Shanghai, says Wu, was a visit to the engineering department of Jiao Tong University, which is a joint institute with the University of Michigan, offering a dual diploma from both the University of Michigan and Jiao Tong University.

The tour of the Joint Institute was conducted by a recent graduate of Huron High School who is currently attending school there.

In Hangzhou, the students went on a boat ride across West Lake, which allowed Ann Arbor students many opportunities to speak Chinese with local people, Wu says.

“We also visited the tea garden,” she wrote in an email. “Since it is spring, we saw the new tea leaves getting picked and roasted. The aroma of the new tea perfumed the air. The entire group enjoyed a presentation about the tea and a demonstration of its properties.”

The highlight of the visit to Xi’an was getting to see the Terracotta Warriors, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Wu says. During a visit to the International Language School, we observed an English class for middle school students taught by a Chinese teacher.

“We also had the chance to practice our Chinese language skills when Chinese students and Ann Arbor students engaged in a dialogue about their education experience,” she says.  “A real highlight was when each group presented a song. When Ann Arbor students began to sing “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen, all of the Chinese students joined in—the entire room swelled with song as cultural barriers were overcome through music.

In China’s capital of Beijing, students got to climb the Great Wall, which was established during the Qin Dynasty more than 2000 years ago and is another of the Seven Wonders of the World. Students also rode rickshaws through the back streets of the city on a Hutong tour, where they got to eat lunch in a family home. In the evening, they attended a Kung Fu show performed by the Shao Lin monks.

“Every meal in China was a feast and we ended our trip with a Beijing Roasted Duck,” says Wu. “We devoured it! It was the best duck we have ever tasted and a wonderful last dinner to have all together in China.”

For more details and pictures of the China trip, go to: chinatrip2015.weebly.com.

Jackson Alexander Griffith,  Marcus Kintz and  Michael Rigney
Jackson Alexander Griffith, Marcus Kintz and Michael Rigney


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