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  -  February - March 2005

Inside this edition:

     WLE trip to Mu Tian Yu - "I Climbed the Great Wall"
     WLE students take a taste of Hot Pot - Dinner for 80, Please
     WLE trip to Xi’an - Fit for a King: The tomb of the Terracotta Warriors
     WLE dines on Peking Roast Duck - China’s Version of a Sunday Roast
     WLE trip to the Summer Palace - A Harmonious Spring Day
     Student Interview: John Malcovitch



WLE trip to Mu Tian Yu - "I Climbed the Great Wall"

Who can travel all the way to China and not visit the Great Wall? On March 12th, a group of World Link Education students headed out to Mu Tian Yu, a section of the Great Wall just outside of Beijing. Mu Tian Yu is one of three major stop points for tourists visiting the Wall, the other two being Simatai and Badaling. We were advised that Simatai is quite the trek, and Badaling is a tourist trap, so Mu Tian Yu was our destination of choice.

WLE students posing for a group photo Van and Pablo taking a break
Yngve, James, Luke and Clementine admiring the view

We were quite excited as we drove outside the city towards the Wall despite the blustery weather. We were a bit worried about the nippy air but once we arrived we realized that it was a blessing in disguise because it meant we had a glorious, clear and sunny day on the Wall – with such a view!

We learned from our guide, and our pamphlets we received, that the Great Wall of China was an ever-changing architectural work. In fact, there is not only one Great Wall, but many versions through the years. The one that tourists visit today is the fortification constructed during the Ming Dynasty.

With the wind blowing wildly, many of us decided to walk to the top as opposed to talking the chairlift (both are options for visitors) but the real fun came when we started our descent: Mu Tian Yu features a toboggan ride that scoots you down the side of the Wall in a matter of minutes. Depending on your daredevil factor, you can get the sledge traveling pretty fast and it’s quite a way to top of the visit to the Wall.

It was amazing to literally stand on a piece of Chinese history, and the Mu Tian Yu site made the day a bit more fun with the sledges, some random camel rides, and souvenirs. Most of us came home proud of our “I Climbed the Great Wall” t-shirts!

Marshall liking the scenery Lim, Lydia, Kelly and Julie

Jacqueline and Michelle enjoying the beautiful landscape from the cable car

Joseph trying to figure out why the wall is tilted Joseph preparing exercise for running to top of the Great Wall in one breath
Akane and Adam in front of one of the numerous watch towers
James looking for signs of a Mongolian attack Adam and Joseph
Yngve




WLE students take a taste of Hot Pot - Dinner for 80, Please

Imagine taking 80 people out for dinner, all at once. Sounds pretty difficult but not if you do it China-style. The trick to making it work – everyone cooks their own meal.

On March 25th, 80 World Link Education (WLE) students all headed out to a Hot Pot restaurant at Hua An Bei Niu in Haidian district. Most of us were a little bit worried that with so many people heading out for dinner all at once, that the food would be sporadic, or that it would be a bit stressful. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

When we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted by very enthusiastic wait staff that had prepared for us 80 individual hot pots! We took our seats and started ordering vegetables, fish, and meat for the pots, with the help of the WLE staff and the waiters. We learned that you must choose a broth for the pot (many of us chose the yin-yang pot that is one side spicy, one side not). After choosing a broth and boiling your food, you dip in a sauce of your choice. Our favorite sauces for dipping included the tahini sauce (majiang) and the spicy oil (la jiao you).

We all left the restaurant feeling quite full and quite impressed that all 80 of us dined without any complications. We basically got to pick our own meal while enjoying one another’s company – no discussion over who eats what, and who can’t eat certain things. To each his own pot!

Zen, Naomi, Robyn & Christopher Philip trying Hot Pot for the first time
MuTsai and Dennis
Ross and Thao Francesco liking the lamb
Wendy
Katerina, Nicholas & Nicole Patrick like the hot pot soup
Katerina & Naomi



WLE trip to Xi’an - Fit for a King: The tomb of the Terracotta Warriors

It would be hard for any of us to admit that we hadn’t heard of the Terracotta Warriors prior to traveling to China. These life size terracotta figure of warriors and horses, arranged in battle formation made it into our school curriculum as kids but not many of us imagined that we’d one day be standing, face to face with these imperial guards.

The World Link Education trip to Xi’an on March 19th was a dream come true for those of us studying in Beijing. Although some of us were just keen to get out of the city and travel, many of us knew that to travel to Xi’an meant that we were going to see one of the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. We were not disappointed.

The warriors are part of Qin Shi Huang’s tomb. Qin is said to be the first ever Emperor of China. It took him 11 years to complete the tomb and it is speculated that he had each warrior carved after an actual member of his army. We learned with interest that the tomb was only discovered in 1974 when a group of local farmers were digging in the soil and uncovered some bits of pottery. Now, this site is what draws tens of thousands of tourists to Xi’an every year.

We also visited the Big Wild Goose Pagoda that houses a temple that honors Emperor Tang Gaoming’s mother, and the Huaqing Hot Springs near the warriors, in Banpo Village.

The trip allowed us to see a different region of China and we were interested to get outside of Beijing and note the different intonations and styles of people speaking Mandarin. We were able to practice our Chinese all the time, making the trip not only an interesting one, but a practical one in regard to our studies. It was great to supplement our classroom learning with practical, cultural experiences.

Akane inspecting a giant pot Natascha all armored up
Makiko, Akane, Luke and Marshall at
the Huaqing Palace
WLE students in front of the Terracotta Army Museum The Terracotta army seen from above
One of the two magnificent bronze chariots
WLE students lighting candles Marshall in action



WLE dines on Peking Roast Duck - China’s Version of a Sunday Roast

If there’s one thing I’ve missed since I’ve been away, it’s a roast. You can’t beat a savory roast beef, potatoes glistening with butter and crispy onions, and rich gravy on top. Or so I thought. Until I tried, Peking duck.

China’s version of our “Sunday roast”, Peking duck is a treat that no one should miss and it will leave you wondering why you were ever longing for that roast beef from home. On February 25th, World Link Education students headed out to Liu He Ren, a roast duck restaurant in Shuang An, in Zhongguancun.

I was quite impressed with the “art” of roasting and serving a duck. First, the chef shows you the whole duck, roasted, and then sliced in into over 100 pieces in less than five minutes! Each slice has an equal amount of meat, and skin (and fat, it is duck after all). The duck is served with small, circular pancakes and also a few sesame buns into which you stick the pieces of duck, and wrap them up, adding a bit of hoison sauce and green onions. I was told this was the traditional way to eat duck but I also saw a table next to me dipping the pieces of meat directly into small bowls of sugar but I opted to stick with the savory method.

But it doesn’t stop there! Want not, waste not, and this is true when roasting a duck. Other parts of the duck are served up as cold dishes (livers, stomach, eggs) or hot dishes (heart, tongue, kidneys). Needless to say, a few of us were hesitant to delve into these delicacies but I braved the kidney dish and was pleasantly surprised by its tastiness.

So forget the roast beef and savor one of China’s most memorable mouthfuls by enjoying Peking duck.

Sasha, Thao and Allison smiles at the camera WLE students enjoying the social night
Chris and Fuk
Haven, Annie and Richard Beijing Roast duck
MuTsai and Dennis giving the Duck their verdict



WLE trip to the Summer Palace - A Harmonious Spring Day

Everyone visits Beijing’s Forbidden City, the site of the Imperial Palace, but often tourists miss an equally amazing site: the Summer Palace. “Yiheyuan,” or Garden of Nurtured Harmony, is a garden located 15km outside of Beijing. World Link Education students traveled to this peaceful park on March 19th.

The park consists of man-made hills, temples, pavilions, and numerous halls that dot the edges of the beautiful Kunming Lake. The gardens concentrate on maintaining foliage that is characteristic to China’s north and most southern regions, creating a “balancing” act within the park.

What we found most interesting was the history of the Summer Palace, not to mention that learning about it from various people along the way helped us practice our new Chinese skills! The Summer Palace has a history of over 800 years with the highlights for us being the Anglo-French Allied Forces’ invasion of Beijing in 1860 when they lit fire to the entire garden, and then 28 years later, Empress Dowager Cixi had the entire place rebuilt with funds embezzled from the Imperial Navy. This construction took ten years and at its completion, Cixi named the garden “Yiheyuan”. The name has stuck to present day.

For most of us, the trip to the Summer Palace was a welcome reprise from the bustle of Beijing city life. Walking about the beautiful gardens and temples made us forget for a while that we were just a few km outside of one of the biggest metropolises in the world.

At the east Palace Gate of Summer Palace, the experienced and professional guide is giving introductions of its history William and his friends enjoyed the sunny and pretty spring day in Summer Palace
Jaclyn, Joanne, Katherine & Julie
Jacqueline and Mekha-Aphirak Christian, Benjamin and Christina
Four happy students enjoying the Summer Palace
Kenneth, James, Taylor, Victoria, Christian and Benjamin Edelita, Louise, I-May and Sarah Edelita taking a break in the sun



Student Interview: John Malcovitch

Name: John Malcovitch
Country of Residence: USA
Citizenship: American
Profession: Student
Educational Background: High School in New York, one year in Washington DC. Junior student in Duke University
Brief Work History: Camp Councelor for teaching kids swimming ,etc.
One year working for the government of Washington DC
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, Some Russian
Hobbies: Traveling, Swimming, Tennis, Skiing, Cycling, News Junkie, Studying books


Is this your first time in China?

Yes

Why did you decide to study Chinese Language?
Apart from interest in Chinese language, I like to think I decided to study in China for the Culture, history and expanding economy with all its opportunities.

How are you finding your studies in China?
Good, lots of chances to practice my Chinese with the immersion at WLE. You can feel the progress everyday. It is just fascinating to see what goes on everyday here in Beijing, always some way to practice your speaking and reading and its quite an affordable city.

How do you like Beijing?
I love it but its just so big its almost impossible to get around it all. The food is amazing and so much variety. You will be surprised at what you can find in the old Hu Tongs in old Beijing.

What do you find most interesting in Beijing?
So many different people from all around China, so much culture in this city, I love getting out and exploring the old and new parts of the city, it is so interesting.

How has your experience in China changed you, if it has?
Just learning this much about another culture has changed me quite significantly in a very positive way.

Tell us a few memorable experiences in Beijing/China?
I’ve had countless great experiences and most have come from traveling around the country on the trains and buses, getting to talk with people who may have never spoken to someone from outside China before, using their language.

What is the thing you like best about Beijing/China?
Food, culture, history and shopping.

Will you come to China/Beijing again?

Definitely. I’d like to study more in China.

What advice/tips would you give to others who plan to come and study in China?

Bring earplugs cause construction never stops
The national bird of China is the crane.
Go out and Explore the Country


Previous Issues:
2007  Dec - Jan 08
2007  Oct - Nov
2007  Aug - Sep
2007  Jun - Jul
2007  Apr - May
2007  Feb - Mar
2006  Nov - Jan 07
2006  Sep - Oct
2006  Jul - Aug
2006  May - June
2006  Mar - Apr
2005  Dec - Feb 06
2005  Sep - Nov
2005  Jul - Aug
2005  Apr - Jun
2005  Feb - Mar

2004  Dec - Jan 05
2004  Aug - Sep
2004  Oct - Nov
2004  Jun - Jul
2004  Mar - May
2003  Dec - Feb 04
2003  Oct - Nov
2003  Aug - Sep
2003  Jun - Jul
2003  Apr - May
2003  Feb - Mar
2003  January
2002  December
2002  November
2002  October
2002  Aug - Sep
2002  May - Jun
2002  Jun - Jul
2002  Feb - Apr
2001  Nov - Jan 02
2001  Aug - Oct
2001  May - Jul
2001  Feb - Apr
2000  Oct - Jan 01
2000  Aug - Oct
2000  Jun - Jul
2000  Apr - May
2000  Feb - Mar
1999  Dec - Jan 00
1999  Oct - Nov
1999  Jul - Aug

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