Expedition to China

While Western Reserve Academy offers many eye opening experiences, this month long trip to China was a rare opportunity. However, the application process for this trip was not as simple as one might wish. Several weeks before their departure, current seniors Flora Jiang ‘19 and Madison Lin ‘19 had to complete a long form, write an essay in Chinese, be interviewed by members of the language department, attend meetings, get shots and vaccinations, and finally, obtain a Chinese visa. Despite this, the end result was worth it. Madison remarked, “It was such an amazing experience. We got to visit places that some Chinese people have never even heard of before.”

On May 28, Flora Jiang and Madison Lin arrived at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in preparation for their lengthy flight to Shanghai. Once in China, they were met with the hospitality of the families of a few WRA students. These families took Flora and Madison to a variety of cities, both small and large. Staying with natives of China really allowed them to appreciate and thoroughly understand the diverse culture. They both also really enjoyed screaming on the terrifying riding roller coasters at a mountain amusement park in Shenzhen. Also, exploring Shanghai, one of the biggest and most modern areas in China, was especially exciting for two students from a small city such as Hudson. Flora enthusiastically recalls eating xiaolongbao, a Shanghai dish consisting of pork dumplings filled with hot broth. Their chaperones worked incredibly hard to make their experience completely unique from that of a typical tourist.

While in China, not only did they enjoy themselves, but Flora and Madison also learned about the culture firsthand. Breaking the language barrier was one difficulty of their journey. When Flora’s luggage was held back, they were able to communicate with the airport employees regarding the situation thanks to foreign language teacher Judy Chen’s thorough lessons. Madison was particularly impressed by how modern China was. She declared, “Everyone thinks that America is developed and modern, and places such as China are second to America. However, everything there is super fast-paced, but at the same time super organized.”

– Annie Cui ’22

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