Spring Break: China Edition
by Noah Liedtke
Northside’s biennial tradition of international spring break trips continued once again this year with a trip to China. On March 21, 15 students departed from O’Hare Airport, accompanied by two chaperones: Mr. Charles Milbert, Social Science department, and Ms. Wenya Lu, World Language department. The group was diverse, consisting of students from all four grade levels. Although there were many students enrolled in Chinese language courses who went, many others simply wanted to visit China. The group visited two cities and one village, and did not return until March 30.
After a 14 hour flight, the students arrived at Shanghai International Airport. Shanghai is the largest and most westernized city in the nation. According to Hajra Lat, Adv. 910, “Shanghai was basically like a Chinese Chicago.” The city is home to millions of people, and its abundance of western architecture and stores makes it the most attractive Chinese city for expats. Northside’s group first visited Pudong, the neighborhood that contains some of the nations most iconic buildings, including the Shanghai Tower and the Oriental Pearl Tower. The wealthy area containing these buildings, along the Huangpu river, is commonly referred to as “The Bund.” Northsiders got to go up to the observation deck of the Oriental Pearl Tower, which stands at 1,148 feet. They also went shopping in the nearby business district. Dinner was at the Oriental Pearl TV Tower Revolving Restaurant, a restaurant in the tower that rotates, which provided beautiful views of the city.
After spending the night at a hotel, students were off to the village of Zhouzhuang, famous for its canals that are reminiscent of Venice, Italy. The well-preserved ancient bridges and homes stand in contrast to the ultra-modern Shanghai. Students also visited a market in the town, and got to practice speaking Chinese by bargaining with the shop owners. After spending time in Zhouzhuang, the group took a high speed bullet train to their last destination, Beijing. The high speed rail network connects 32 of China’s 34 provinces, running through over 200 cities together. The technology of these “bullet trains” has made train travel comparable with air travel in the nation.
Beijing, unlike the other cities students visited, is located in the northern part of China. There, students were able to walk part of the famous Great Wall of China. They also met the president of Northwestern University, Morton O. Schapiro, by chance. Students got the chance to talk to him and take pictures. In addition, the group visited other famous tourist sites: Tiananmen Square, The Summer Palace, and The Forbidden City. An experience unique to Northside students was that they were able to visit a school in Beijing and talk with students there.
After a week in the two biggest cities in China, the group finally had to return to Chicago on March 30, but had plenty of new experiences and stories to tell. Anastasia Wysocki, Adv. 104, said, “It was an extremely fulfilling trip and it allowed me to gain a really interesting new perspective on a culture that I am not at all familiar with.”