During Halloween Break in 2016 I was lucky enough to spend two weeks in China thanks for a school trip. My school had recently opened a Mandarin classroom, and we were partnered with a university who sent teachers to Northern Ireland. The Hubei Normal University hosted us for the time we were in China, and arranged some amazing activities which I will never forget.
Thanks to our partnership with the university, we were given a unique insight into Chinese culture. We had a few Mandarin lessons, which I was horrible at as I’ve always struggled with learning other languages. We cooked a traditional Chinese meal, watched a traditional dance show, and had the opportunity to paint with art students at the university.
We were also able to visit the Great Wall of China when we left the city of Hubei. I was so glad I had to chance to tick walking part of the Great Wall off my bucket list! It was freezing cold, and the steps up the wall were ridiculously steep, but I climbed part of the way up to witness the incredible view. If you ever get the opportunity to see the Great Wall, I cannot recommend it enough.
As I’m an animal lover, I loved visiting a cat cafe during the trip. All of the cats had medical conditions which meant they would be unable to live on the streets and needed care. The cafe takes these cats in and provides them with the medication they need thanks to the money made by the sale of coffee and cakes. It was the first time I had been to a cat cafe, and I honestly never wanted to leave!
Another highlight of the trip for me personally was getting to visit the Olympic Park in Beijing! The park surrounding the Olympic stadiums is filled with interesting and inspirational art. There was loads to see.
I absolutely loved China. The people were lovely and welcoming, shopping was cheap (yay!), and the architecture was beautiful. I would love to go back in the future and see even more parts of it, including the terracotta army.