China - Destinations
Beijing is the political and cultural center of the most populated country in the world. Here the heritage of traditional China is celebrated alongside the achievements of modern China. We will ascend the Great Wall of China, the longest man-made object in the world. This magnificent edifice spans five provinces and was built to protect the country from foreign invasion and influences. Then we will tour the Forbidden City, residence of the Ming and Qing emperors for more than 500 years, walk through Tian An Men Square, the scene of many mass celebrations and demonstrations. We will also visit the futuristic Bird's Nest, the Olympic Stadium and the Water Cube, the National Aquatics Center, to observe China's transition and transformation. Other sites include the breathtaking imperial residence of Summer Palace (see picture), the Temple of Heaven, the Imperial Academy, and the Yonghe Lama Temple. It is also a great fun to roam in the bustling shopping districts of Beijing and enjoy the exquisite Beijing Opera.
China's ancient capital was the cultural center of East Asia during the mighty Tang dynasty and the beginning of the silk trade. Rich in cultural and art history, this area is a pivotal site connected to the origins of Chinese civilization. Xian is home to first emperor Qin's Terra-Cotta Army---- more than 6,000 life-size terra-cotta warriors and horses, one of the major wonders of the world (see picture). We will also explore the unique Muslim section of town, and stroll on Xian's spectacular city wall, one of the best examples of such a wall in China.
Shanghai today is a major commercial, financial and cultural hub of China. It is a fascinating mix of cultures and cosmopolitanism. We will take a cruise on the Huangpu River to view the city's impressive skylines. The site of 2010 Expo and the quaint Old Town with the classic Ming Dynasty Yu Garden vividly juxtapose new and old. We will also enjoy a tour at the elegant Shanghai Museum of Art, one of the best in the world on China's visual arts, and stroll along the Nanjing Road and the Bund, Shanghai's waterfront. A trip to Zhujiajiao on the outskirts of the city will give you a taste of a typical ancient water town.
This city in Hebei province is one-hour by train from Beijing. Our main purpose here is to visit MCLA's sister college Hebei University, from where the Chinese exchange students come. Through talking to faculty and students, and visiting classes, we can learn about China's higher education and the aspirations of Chinese students. We will meet MCLA alumni who are teaching English at Hebei University. There are also historical and cultural sites to visit, including the Qing dynasty provincial governor's court, the best preserved one in the country. In Baoding we will get off the beaten path and talk to Chinese people.