I took the final step, I was exhausted both mentally and physically. I slowly took a seat at the plateau and enjoyed the majestic view. I was actually there, the Great Wall of China. That entire day had been a dream come true, from the moment we woke up in Beijing to the second we arrived at the bottom of the Great Wall. This life changing experience was all brought on by involvement on a trip in China. I had been part of the group traveling from the UCLA Confucius Institute. Along with eighteen other students at Firebaugh High School and teacher chaperones we were all living this dream together.
I had always had an interest in China. It was the main reason I began taking Mandarin Chinese as my foreign language at my high school. I was greatly fascinated with their culture and learned as much about it as possible. Therefore when the opportunity first came up earlier this year to travel to China I was full of joy.
When we first arrived in Beijing, I automatically made a connection to the city of Los Angeles. It was extremely hot and humid, and the atmosphere was much polluted just like the urban cities we know. I was also very surprised by the accommodations we were being given. A luxury bus escorted us from the airport to the dorms we would be staying in for the next few days. We spent a total of four days in Beijing and I absolutely fell in love with the charm of the city. The most memorable moment that I had in my stay in Beijing was when we visited the Great Wall of China. It had always been an aspiration of mine to not only visit this beautiful landmark but too also scale it to its peak. I was definitely one of the better times of my life while I took the tiring trek up the Great Wall. Not too many people in my community can say they have had the opportunities I had there, and I consider myself extremely fortunate for the fact that I did.
For almost two weeks, we stayed in Qunming, a city in southwest China. The major difference in Qunming versus Beijing was that the weather was much more enjoyable as were the landscapes. Another significant difference was our accomadations. In Beijing we stayed in small rooms, with 4 people fitted to the same room but in Qunming we shared a hotel room with only one other roommate. In Qunming, we studied Chinese courses from Monday through Friday and classes lasted 2 ½ hours long but our class was particularly challenging and fun. We also took culture classes were we were able to introduce ourselves to Chinese Tea ceremony, Chinese Knot Making, Chinese Paper Cutting, and Chinese Water Color. Also, we had culture lesson classes were we were able to learn how to basically play a traditional Chinese flute.
Overall, the entire trip was a life changing experience. Nothing so far in my life can even begin to compare to the time I spent in China. I was able to create lasting memories in China that I will never forget. Also, new friendships were made that I plan on keeping for years to come. I will forever be grateful of the opportunity I had to visit that beautiful country. If given the opportunity I would recommend everyone to go and experience China. Ultimately my summer in China was very beneficial to me as a person, as well as a scholar.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.