Peddie students traveled with three faculty members to major cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Yunnan. For two weeks over spring break, they immersed themselves in the richly vibrant Chinese culture.
The trip consisted of visiting renowned historical sites, such as the Great Wall of China and the Yu Garden, and participating in traditional local celebrations, such as the Water Festival in Yunnan province’s Xishuangbanna. When asked to reflect on her experience on seeing the Great Wall, chemistry teacher Karolina Fraczkowska described it as an “out of this world experience”.
The trip also provided an opportunity for Peddie students and faculty members to connect to Peddie’s sister school, the No. 2 High School of East China Normal University, or EFZ. Each Peddie student was paired up with a host family for two nights, thereby experiencing Shanghai firsthand. “We were forming lots of bonds with that school. We learned about what they do and how are they different. We also had chance to live a normal family life in China,” said Fraczkowska.
When asked to share her favorite part about the trip, Fraczkowska said, “There are too many to count!” She commented on one of her favorite memories, the Xishuangbanna water festival. “There was a woman [carrying water containers] in the water fountains, and it was a free for all water fight. And of course Peddie students jumped in. We were all soaked and it was really fun for a few moments to just forget about everything, and just [splash water] around,” said Fraczkowska.
Besides interacting with students from EFZ, students also enjoyed learning about the religion of China.
“My favorite part of the trip was visiting the Mange Buddhist Temple in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan. The Mange Buddhist Temple is both magnificent and elegant, surrounded by babausa multiplexes, banyans, and mango trees. The Mange Buddhist Temple looks gorgeous with the Dai-style roof supported by 16 toon-made columns and 16 exquisite white elephants standing on the eaves of the temple. The whole building is completely jointed with tenons, without the use of nails and rivets, including the cross-beam and columns. Entering into it, you will find a four-meter-tall Buddha standing on the right seat. The ceiling and walls are delicately decorated with vivid pictures of golden dragons, white elephants, fairies, phoenixes, peacocks. Each beam is tied with colorful flags that are embroidered with fairy tales and auspicious anima,” said Connie Wang ‘20.
Ms. Fraczkowska recommended those who did not have an opportunity to go on this trip to go next year. “I think Peddie is such an amazing school, offering so many opportunities for students, and everybody should take advantage of these trips and see different parts of the world. Even [if] you are not interested in China, I still think you should go on the trip to understand different people and cultures better,” said Franczkowska.