2019 China Camp took 30 students to experience Beijing and Xi’an

This Easter we took 30 people to China on our China Camp trip, including 22 University of Leeds students.

The trip is an action-packed two-week programme hosted by our partner university, The University of International Business and Economics in Beijing (UIBE), with expenses in China covered by the Confucius Institute Headquarters.

The group included people of all ages and backgrounds who study Chinese on BCI evening course or with our partners in the East Asian Studies Department and the Language Centre.

Stella, a student of Economics and Management at Leeds University Business School, said:

BCI China Camp was an amazing experience with great people. I had so much fun exploring China and learning more about the culture and the language. Thank you BCI and UIBE!

The itinerary

The trip included eight days in Beijing and four full days in Xi’an. In addition to Chinese classes and lectures, there were visits to famous sites such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors.

Finally ascending the stairs and stepping onto the Great Wall was a moment I’ll never forget

Seven students standing on the Great Wall of China

There were plenty of opportunities to experience Chinese culture first-hand, such as trying out Chinese traditional medicine treatments and playing Chinese games on campus. Claire said:

I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to China with BCI and UBIE. Our hosts put on an excellent itinerary – particular highlights include seeing the Great Wall and experiencing Chinese medicine! The trip was made all the better for the new friends I made and experienced it with.

The visit to a Beijing school was a highlight for many. The day provided a glimpse into school life in China, from the morning exercises to the school lunches, and the group enjoyed a range of cultural activities including Chinese painting, zither playing, crafts and tai chi. The warm welcome from staff and students made the day even more special.

Two non-Chinese students taking a selfie with a group of Chinese schoolchildren

Nadia and Alvaro with students at a school in Beijing

Making connections

Meeting and interacting with Chinese people is not always easy as a tourist, particularly if your language skills are limited, and this is one area where participants on this trip benefit from the close connection with their hosts at UIBE. On the trip they spend time with UIBE staff and volunteers as well as school and university students. The experience of being guests in China also allows them to be exposed to Chinese working practices and etiquette through participating in the opening and closing ceremonies.

Non-Chinese student talking to Chinese students

Camilla, who studies International Business and Chinese, said:

It is hard to pick one memorable moment, but talking to students at the Xian University is definitely one of the ones that sticks out the most. Visiting a uni and talking to students gave me a partial insight on how a typical Chinese student at uni might carry out his or her day.

Joe-han, seen below giving a speech at the closing ceremony, also highlighted the people as his favourite aspect of the trip:

Camp participant sitting at a meeting table and speaking

This includes the group, the team leaders, the organisers, and the Chinese people. We came across Chinese people in various settings and they were unfailingly welcoming. I also particularly enjoyed the visit to the UIBE-twinned school in Beijing.

Camp participants had different experiences of China before the trip. Some are currently studying Mandarin at degree level, while others only took up the language in order to prepare for the China Camp. It was wonderful to see the group making the most of the experience and seeing China in a whole new light. Mohammed signed up for the China Camp after meeting us at the Study Abroad Fair in late 2018, and said on his return:

The trip has genuinely, for the first time, made me consider living in China!

Find out more about the China Camp here and register your interest via the online form if you would like to receive updates about the next trip.

Visit our Facebook page to see photos from the China Camp trip