During her visit to Finland back in 2015, Liu Yandong (Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China) extended an invitation to 100 Finnish high school students to spend two weeks in Beijing and Xi’an. The aim of this trip was to understand Chinese culture better and to learn Chinese language.
Altogether seven students from our school had the opportunity to visit China in June 2017. All of our expenses were covered by Renmin University of China, the Ministry of Education of China and the Confucius Institute.
Our program in China was rather action-packed; we started our days bright and early and finished around 8 pm. Our private guide Tony familiarized us with several first-rate sights, many of which feature on the Unesco World Heritage List. For instance, we walked on the Great Wall of China (at 40 degrees Celsius!), marveled at the Forbidden City and saw the Terracotta Army in Xi’an. Moreover, we were able to get a rare glimpse of local life by visiting a school and taking part in a Chinese morning exercise class. We also received a lot of information on university studies in China while visiting the Confucius Institute and Renmin University.
In Beijing, we studied Chinese at Renmin University. We were very excited to learn a new language and put it into practice immediately: it was delightful to be able to order dishes at restaurants and to do small talk with local people. At the end of our time in China, we had to take a test in Chinese language. Although we had been warned about it being difficult, all our students obtained excellent results. Sauli Sillanpää (class 2D) even managed to get the maximum amount of points.
All in all, our time in China was an eye-opening and unique experience. Some of us are going to continue studying the Chinese language. It is also possible that some students decide to take part in an exchange program in China during their university studies.
Text: Tytti Tenhunen
Pictures: Kitty Aierken