As a language and culture program, we not only focus on intensive language learning everyday but also organize different cultural activities to help students engaging on local lives. And Silk Road excursion is definitely one of the highlights where we experienced the incredible diversity of China and traced back to the splendid Chinese culture from Han dynasty.
“After arriving in Xi’an on the first day, we visited one of the two places I found most interesting. Construction on the Great Mosque of Xi’an started in the 7th century, as tradesmen brought their goods and religion to China from the Middle East. It wasn’t a typical mosque as you’d see elsewhere, this one was Chinese inspired. It was the same architecture style as an ordinary temple in China, with gardens, buildings, and all, but had a different meaning and use. This visit made me think a lot about other world religions and I had many questions answered about Islam.”---- Sam Trizza
“On Tuesday, I learned an important lesson that I already thought I knew but now have drilled into my brain. We visited the Xi’an city wall, the best preserved in China, and had the opportunity to ride bikes on the 9 miles, bumpy wall. It was raining and I decided not to partake, but when we arrived, somehow it got into my head that “It’ll be nice to say that I’ve done this so I’ll do it.” That is the worst reason to do something ever, and I thought I knew that, but I guess not. For the next hour and a half, Calli, Galen, Ahmed, and I pushed through the ride in the rain, soaking wet, on a bumpy wall in the middle of a metropolis. If it doesn’t sound bad, it was. I wasn’t going to have a bad attitude about it though so we called it a bonding experience and laughed it off. It has now been drilled into my head to never do something to say that you’ve done it, but to do something because you have the desire to. We also saw the Terracotta Warriors. Those guys were really something special.” ---- Sam Trizza
“After a 12-hour overnight train ride (the most fun way to get around), we went to the other one of my two favorite places on this trip. Dunhuang is where oasis meets the Gobi desert. I love the desert.” ---- Sam Trizza
“On our last day, we visited the Mogao Grottos–man-made caves by Buddhists crossing the Silk Road. There are hundreds of caves with beautiful paintings and statues, but most importantly the world’s third-largest Buddha.” ---- Sam Trizza
“Other than touring and seeing the local attractions and historic sites, I realized that the moments of traveling such as on the high-speed train or on the overnight train, also played a key role in developing better personal relationships. In fact, I felt this whole journey, brought us students and teachers closer together.” As a student said, this is our journey; our adventure in North West was not only about visiting all the tourist attractions and exploring the diversity of China, but more about bonding with each other and becoming a real family.