2016 Summer Tour of China

3 Ancient Capitals: Nanjing, Beijing, Xi'an

In late May, the George Washington University Confucius institute sponsored a group of 12 students from the GW Confucius Institute and the George Washington University to take a 2 week tour of China. The tour provided experiential learning opportunities and the chance to visit historically and culturally significant locations in Nanjing, Beijing and Xi'An.

Visiting 3 of the ancient capitals of China, expert guides explained the cultural meaning, symbolism and historical context of these important locations, allowing for a greater understanding of China as a whole. One landmark visit to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial was particularly moving, as a student, who’s grandparents emigrated from Nanjing during WWII, was able to return to her family’s hometown and see the memorial.

Beyond famous landmarks and organized tours, students created their own opportunities to experience many aspects of culture firsthand. During their free time, participants explored the cities using their language skills, observed locals’ leisure activities in public parks, experienced KTV clubs and city nightlife.  One GWCI student woke up early every morning to join a group of women dancing in a public plaza. A Muslim student was able to pray with locals in the Great Mosque of Xi’an. Through these experiences with local life and interactions with local citizens, students gained a much broader perspective and deeper appreciation of Chinese culture, beyond what is possible to gain through a textbook.

Participants expressed deep gratitude for the amazing opportunity to tour China and a renewed interest in continuing to learn about Chinese history, language and culture once they returned to America. The tour has remained a successful outreach in the promotion of the learning of Chinese language and culture.