International Student Trips Powered By Discovery Education
Kim's Blog

Last Day in China!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Today was our last day in China! I can't believe that the trip is coming to an end! We started the day off eating breakfast and then boarding the bus, after this we got on the train for a five hour bus ride. The bus ride didn't seem very long, we talked and laughed the whole time. We really have become like a family here we are all so close. After checking into the hotel we got ready for the peking duck dinner! I was so excited to go to this famous restaurant and eat the famous duck. It was such a nice place, and we were given our own private room. The waitress' then brought out an assortment of food one which was scorpions. It did not look appetizing, it looked a little scary a bunch of them sitting on rice cakes. Still, everyone tried it. When it was my turn I was so nervous, it was just the actual act of putting the scorpion in your mouth that was the worst part. It was so gross to look at it but I ate the scorpian! It really was such a mind game, the scorpion tasted like nothing it was just really crunchy. This was an experience, I never ever thought I would eat something like that. It was definitely the weirdest thing I have eaten here, but I am happy to say I did it. After that the waitresses brought out the duck. It was amazing, it was so delicious. It was one of the best meals we have had here, the duck was outstanding! It was a great farewell dinner. I seriously can not believe that this trip is ending. It was life changing, the things I have learned and the people I have met on this adventure have all influenced me so much. I am forever grateful I was given this opportunity, it was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. Tomorrow we will be waking up early to say goodbye to our California friends:( after that were off to do some last minute shopping before heading to the airport. We still have some time left in China, and I know our trip will end the way it began, with excitement and adventures.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Kung Fu Masters!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Today we woke up at 5 30, this was yet another early wake up but for a good reason. We walked down to the temple and did kung fu exercises with a warrior monk! His technique was very different from the one we learned in the kung fu school. It was interesting to see that two places so close to each other are teaching different techniques. After this we walked through the pagoda forest. It was beautiful there, and very peaceful. The pagoda forest was filled with tombs of monks, they were all very beautiful. After breakfast and some resting we headed to another kung fu session in a clearing by the temple. We were very sore and tired but we had a lot of fun with the warrior monks who were teaching us! After this we had some time to rest and relax before heading back to the temple. This time we had our final examination. The monks sat back and watched as we performed the routine two at a time. I was a little nervous but it was exciting and fun, when the monk handed me the certificate I was very happy! It felt good to see all our hard work had paid off. The certificate is something I will always save. After this we headed to the hotel for showers and relaxing time before we went to dinner. Tonight dinner was very special because two warrior monks joined us along with our four teachers from the kung fu school. We had so much fun with them learning about their lives and just being able to interact with them. Their lives are so different than ours and these past four days we were able to experience just a little bit of that. It was such a great thing to do and I enjoyed it so much! After this we headed back to the temple, we thought we were performing for our teachers but many warrior monks and students were there. It became a talent show, many people did tricks or performed songs. It was a lot of fun. It was such an amazing feeling to look around and see kids from all over our country bonding and then to see all of us bonding with kids from China. The happiness in that room tonight could put a smile on anyones face, there was so much support in the room. Everyone had such a great time and enjoyed hanging out with the local kids ! Tomorrow we have a five hour train ride which will be nice to relax and to hang out. I can not believe the trip is coming to an end, it flew by so fast!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Shaolin Temple and Kung Fu School

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Today we started the day off extremely early. We had a 4:30 wake up call! At this time we were going to the Shaolin Temple to pray with the monks. This was a very surreal experience. Outside it was still dark when we made our journey from the farmhouse to the temple, however when we arrived it was beginning to get light and we could already tell it was going to be a beautiful day! As we entered the temple we separated into two separate lines boys and girls, next we entered the temple and began out morning prayers. It was amazing to just be standing there praying with monks in China. It was definitely an experience many people will never get to have, and one I am so grateful for. After prayers we headed off to breakfast with the monks. We ate in silence, but to my surprise it wasn't a long breakfast. The monks ate as soon as they were served and were finished before some people even got their food! This was very surprising to me, I thought that the breakfast would be long and very formal. Next we helped clean the courtyard. It was fun, and we got to meet "uncle" he helped us sweep and was so sweet! After that we had some nap time and headed to the kung fu school for some more training, we had a two hour session. I was extremely sore from the day before but it was a lot of fun. We got to use weapons like swords and sticks, these were a lot of fun . This was the first session, after lunch we returned for two more hours of kung fu! It really is so amazing that we get to study at this school. Rather than just taking one class one day we are actually continually studying there, it feels like we are real students at the school. Tomorrow we have another early wake up call and will be practicing kung fu with the warrior monks! I am excited and nervous I hope our training has helped and we can keep up with the monks! :)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Kung Fu School!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Today was yet another great day in China! It seems like everyday I say that! There really is never a dull moment here and at every activity we find ourselves saying this is the best thing so far! Today we participated in classes at the Little Dragon kung fu school. It was so much fun, we started off by running laps and then stretched a little. Next we practiced a routine. Our teacher was a little intimidating but once we got him to open up we all were laughing. The kung fu was definitely intense, dancing really helped me and so many of the positions reminded me of things I have done in ballet. A lot of the kung fu is plieing and involves balance. It was really interesting to see their style and the way they moved. Our teacher was amazing and he made everything look so easy! We all had so much fun and can't wait to go back tomorrow. After kung fu we came back to the hotel , hung out, and of course ate our favorite oreos. After that we ate dinner and attended a Chinese music performance. It was set on top of a beautiful mountain. It was the first time I have ever seen such a beautiful sky in china! The setting was absolutely stunning the mountains were strung with lights and there was a beautiful bridge and amazing flowers and landscpaing surrounding it. The lights alone made the show beautiful, they lit up the entire scenery giving it a warm glow and giving it such a serene feeling. Throughout the show music was played it was so peaceful and when we left we all felt so relaxed and calm. It was amazing how music could have such a calming effect! The show really was beautiful and such a treat! Tomorrow wake up is at 4 30 !! At this time we are off to the Shaolin Temple to do morning prayers with the monks and then help clean the temple. I am excited and also nervous! However after meeting the monk two days ago I am excited to see more of what their life is like:)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Chengde and Luoyang

Monday, August 10, 2009

So many things have happened in the past few days! My phone died so I was unable to blog about yesterday! Yesterday we visited the emperors palace in Chengde. It was very beautiful and very interesting! The roofs were all covered in gold and we found out people used to scratch the gold off the lower roof for money. When you looked at the tops you could see the difference in the lower roof and the upper roof! We were all dreading going to the palace because we had to climb 400 stairs, but that turned out to be a breeze. After the Great Wall we were ready for anything. After the palace we showered, ate lunch, and boarded the train! The train was a lot of fun! It wasn't as tiny as I imagined it would be and we piled all 8 girls into one car for our favorite thing girls night! We had so much fun talking and we have all become extremely close. We always joke that we feel like we have known each other our whole lives. It is so fortunate that we all get along so well and I really feel like I have made such amazing friends who I will always have a special bond with. Today we headed to Longmen Grotto. It was stunning and the carvings were amazing ! We saw huge Buddhas and Buddhas as small as 4 centimeters! After that we drove for a little and then to the Shaolin Temple. The temple was huge and beautiful. We got to meet a monk! At first I was a little scared because I wanted to make sure I knew everything appropriate about how to greet him and to make sure to be respectful, however mama ping filled us in! The monk was very nice, and it was very interesting to hear him speak. We preformed our Shaolin song for him, which he said was great! We have gotten pretty good at it :) Next we ventured to the kung fu school. The school was filled with hundreds of kids ranging from age 7 to 20 all doing kung fu! They were insane and were doing things I have never seen before! The flips they were doing were so cool, everyone of them looked like a stunt double. After dinner tonight we all hung out in Maha and Katie's room. It was a lot of fun just like always. We always have so much to talk about and have such a fun time together! Tomorrow we are off to the kung fu school to learn! I can not wait and am so excited! :)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

A Great Day in Chengde

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Today was another great day! We all woke up a little sore from yesterday and a little tired! It was a nice surprise when we went downstairs and breakfast looked pretty much like the breakfast we were used to at home :) After eating we were off to the Imperial Summer Palace. The palace was built as a Summer house for the emperor, empress and the concubines. Because it was a summer house it was not built very beautiful and was a place for the emperor to relax. However it was still unbelievable, the complex was enormous! We hiked the "Mini Great Wall". It was tough also, but after yesterday we could handle anything! Next it was off to do some paper cutting! The women doing all the paper cutting was amazing! She made the most beautiful designs. She told us she used to work at Epcot at a paper cutting station! It was really interesting to see all the different designs. It could take up to 2 years just to do one cut out! They truly were stunning artwork and I had so much fun learning about the art of paper cutting!! :)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

The Most Amazing Experience Ever

Yesterday was the most amazing day! It started off by camping the night before on the Great Wall! We set up camp in an area right by the Great Wall when you looked up you could see the beautiful wall it was amazing! Camping was fun, for a first time experience the Great Wall was a great place to start. We set up camp and put our tents up pretty quickly, me and caitlyn only needed very little help:) after awhile of hanging out we all went to sleep pretty early, the next morning we were going to be waking up at 5! I was surprised that I was able to sleep , but I actually slept a pretty long time! The next morning was the hike! We ate breakfast and then it began. We first climbed up a huge rock, this was a fun way to start our morning! The hike was tough uphill through bushes and cornfields, but it was the best! It was very tough to climb and I don't think I have ever sweat that much in my entire life. The hills were so hard to climb and at many points there were straight drops down, but at any point you could look up or behind you and see the Great Wall. It was memorizing, there are no words to explain its beauty. It was breathtaking and one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Every time the hike got rough we just kept thinking of where we were and how amazing this opportunity was! It was a once in a lifetime chance! It was
absolutely stunning, and sometimes frightening! However I never felt nervous, there were doctors with us incase we ever needed help and our whole group was always together! It was so great, the scariest part was definitely walking across the narrow bridges where there was wall on one side and a huge drop on the other! Another scary part was when we literally climbed up the wall vertically! Not many people can ay they scaled the Great Wall! The experience was overall amazing, there really is no way to describe it, and no picture that could ever do it justice. It was such an amazing experience and I am so grateful that I was given this wonderful opportunity!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

The Wonders of Beijing

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I really can not believe all of the amazing things I did today! It was one of the coolest days ever! We started off the morning going to a market with a chef. The market was really cool, we got to see so many fresh vegetable some which I recognized and some that I did not. After the fruit section we headed off into the meat section. This turned my stomach a little bit but it was still really cool to see the fresh fish and how the local people shopped for their food. While walking out we passed some pastries which I made sure to take pictures of for annamarie :) After this we headed to a beautiful restaurant where we began cooking. My group began with the dumplings. These were much harder to make than they look. We filled the dumplings with leeks and egg. After we made the dumplings we went into the kitchen and made sweet and sour pork. It was so cool to be in a real kitchen in a restaurant and I felt like an actual chef in my jacket, hat, and apron. It was so much fun! I found it really cool that rather than a cutting board we used a slice of tree trunk! The food turned out great and was so much fun to eat. The chef also prepared so many other great dishes. My favorite was the lotus roots they were delicious and something I had never eaten before! After we finished a great lunch it was off to olympic village! I was so excited to go there:) we first showed up at the birds nest. It was a massive structure and I could not imagine what it mustve been like during the olympics filled with so many people. The birds nest was an incredible building, the entire time I was there I just kept thinking how much my dad would have loved it! The architecture and engineering was so cool and I think I took some good pictures to just try to capture how beautiful the building was! :) Our tour guide Riley called the birds nest the "Chines Coliseum" this made us all laugh. Next it was over to the water cube! This was something I was looking forward to! Last year when I saw Michael Phelps swim there I never imagined I would be able to go there! This building was huge! Just like the birds nest it was incredible! Something which I found really interesting is that now the water cube has become a theater! Now the ballet Swan Lake is performed there. It was decorated beautifully for the show and it was really cool how they turned everything used for swimming into such beautiful scenery, such as the diving platforms turned into rocks and flowers. These buildings were the highlight of the day! They truly were beautiful buildings. They were immense buildings, and when I asked Riley what was on the land before all of these buildings he told me that there were many farms. I can not imagine the city without all of these buildings and instead filled with farmland it mustve been a completely different city! Next we ventured to the 798 art galleries. These were a bunch of art galleries you could walk in and out of and some art which was displayed in the streets! It was very interesting and had many cool shops :) For dinner we had a western meal! It was very delicious and I enjoyed my panini very much! At dinner me, Cait,Katie , and Tiffany sat with Amanda a girl our age who has been going around with our tour group. It was so interesting to hear what her life is like in China compared to our life in America. She told us so many interesting things about her family, her friends, and school. We had such a good time eating with her and hearing all about her life! Once we got back to the hotel we packed for our camping trip! This is my first time camping and I am a little nervous but so so excited!

Another amazing day in China!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Today was again such an amazing day! :) So far China has been absolutely great, everyone here is so nice and everyone with Discovery is amazing! We are having so so much fun. Today started off with a trip to the Beijing Urban Planning Center. This was an amazing complex, it was the coolest museum I have ever been in. Inside were replicas of the entire city of Beijing and all the important buildings. It was really cool to learn what each building was. I found it really interesting that many of the buildings are shaped after different objects representing different things. My favorite was the park shaped like a dragon. While in the Planning Center we also watched a really cool 3D movie. It was a lot of fun and a really great place. After the Planning Center we headed to the Promenade where we did some shopping :) There were some really great stores. We had a lot of fun walking around and doing some shopping although we all wished we had some more time there. Next we went to a local village and did some shopping in small shops. These shops had very pretty authentic items. After shopping we had a very interesting lunch. Lunch was a Mongolian Hot Pot. We entered the room, to find a long table and a beautiful fondue pot in front of each person. Next the waitresses poured water into the top part, once it boiled we then took the various raw meat on the table and cooked it in the water. I was a little nervous to eat anything I cooked but I think I did a good job. We were given a great peanut sauce to dip the meat in which I loved. After that we split into two groups, my group headed to a local house first. The house was beautiful with a courtyard filled with flowers and even a pomegrante tree! The family was so sweet and welcomed us with traditional Chinese pastries. After this we switched with the other group to try some calligraphy. We went to a local artists' house where we were taught calligraphy right at his table! He had such beautiful art work hanging on the walls in his home. We learned how to draw the Chinese character meaning longevity. It was a little hard but definately fun! We got to take home our drawings and even keep the calligraphy pens. next we rode in hutongs! This was so much fun! The hutongs were so cool, me and caitlyn sat together and had a great time laughing and watching all the people we passed. Once we were off the hutongs we headed to the silk museum. This was a great place filled with many beautiful things! I couldn't believe how strong the silk was it was amazing! The shop there was great, and I got some great souvenirs. After that we ventured across the street to the "mall" , it turned out to be deserted except for a few cases filled with jewelry. However we did find one good thing,Mcdonalds! We were all definately happy to see a Mcdonalds and I enjoyed my chicken sandwhich and fries very much! We then had about an hour tp relax before dinner, it was good, but no one was very hungry because we had just eaten Mcdonalds. Once we got back to the hotel me and Caitlyn found ice cream! I was very excited to have my first ice cream in China! :) today was an overall amazing day! We did so many great things! Tomorrow we have another full day filled with exciting acitives! I can not wait to visit the water cube and see the lane where Michael Phelps swam<3 I am so excited and can not wait!! :)

first day in China!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Today was an absolutely amazing day! We started the day off with Tai Chi. THe Tai CHi was a form of martial arts where you are in complete control. It looks so easy when the masters do it but it is not so easy to do!So many local people gathered around to watch us, everyone in China is so friendly. Everyone here is so excited to see Americans it is great. After Tai Chi we headed into the Temple of Heaven these were groups of amazing buildings. It was an amazing complex. After the Temple we headed off to Tianenman Square. The square was gigantic, and filled with many people and guards. We took many pictures here before we headed off to lunch at a local restaurant. The restaurant was very good and tasted just like chinese food from jersey only much more fresh. The duck was definitely my favorite thing and the vegetables were great:) I tried so many vegetables I know my mom would love! Next we headed to the forbidden city. The city used to be forbidden and only the emperor and his people were allowed in. The forbidden city was definitely one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. It was gigantic and so much fun to walk through. The day was going great as we headed back to the bus, we all were ready for a nap and to go back to the hotel, except we still had one more activity , ping pong! I don't think any of us were expecting it to be as much fun as it was! It was the best part of the day:) we entered a room filled
with pingpong tables and many children playing each other, the coach handed us padels and soon we were playing with the chinese children. They were amazing and were a little frustrated that we were not so good. We got to practice with the olympic ping pong coach. When me and Caitlyn were done practicing we took a picture with the boy helping us. He was so nice and I told him I liked his bracelet which he then gave to me! It is so nice and has a jade symbol on it which Wendy(one of our guides) later told me is what the emperor gave to his empress or his concubine. It was so funny we laughed so hard! :) Everyone at the school was so much fun and really enjoyed being with Americans! It was so much fun and we had so many laughs! It was a great day! Can't wait for tomorrow! :)

Essential Programs Details

Duration 15 days
When August 4th - 18th, 2009
Focus History/Culture
Martial Arts
Modern/Ancient Architecture