Blurry photo of road

Been to China with Your School?

During spring break of 2009, TGA's senior class went on a cultural journey across the People's Republic of China. After studying Mandarin Chinese for almost two years, it was time for the students to put their work to good use. To say that they learned a lot would be an understatement. At every turn was a new adventure and an experience quite different from our American comfort zone. The worth of the experience is immeasurable, but no one can ignore the eye opening power of a cross-cultural journey with your closest friends and your dedicated teachers.

Beijing - China's Present

Beijing is the thriving capital of this enormous country. It is historic and modern all at the same time. Ancient hutongs still serve as places of residence, and people bike past Ming Dynasty ruins daily on their way to work. Our hotel was blocks from Tiananmen Square, which is right next to the Forbidden City. Beijing is alive and well, and we were thrown right in the mix. Our stay also included a visit to the Great Wall at Badaling, the Ming Tombs, and the Olympic Village.

Photo of Dr. Duck and TGA students

Emmanuel Torchon in front of the old city gate at Tiananmen Square on the first full day of our trip.


Little girl posing at the Forbidden City.

forbidden wall

Decorative tile wall at the Forbidden City, the residence of Ming Dynasty emperors.

great wall jay

Jay Wilcox on the Great Wall at Badaling.

badaling boys

Our very own boy band, the Badaling Boys. We'll practice singing later.


Brittany Lucas gets adventurous on an excursion to the Night Market. Mmm, scorpion!


Lauren Leggett and Bob Shi ride in a rickshaw during our hutong tour.


During our hutong tour, we got a guest lecture about cricket fighting.


Beautiful fruit near the Drum Tower.

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Xian - China's Past

We hopped a plane to Xian, the ancient city of Western Peace. It was the first capital of unified China, over 2200 years ago. It has been the capital of China four times, most famously during the Qin and Tang Dynasties. We got so see relics from both of these ages, which are almost incomprehendible by our 250 years of American history. The impressive Small Wild Goose Pagoda rises to heights that seem impossible for the 1300 year history of the building and the shear quantity of life-sized Terracotta Soldiers is staggering. China's history holds fast in Xian.

small wild goose pagoda

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is not small at all.

group pagoda

Group photo.

Sudath and Lucas in pagoda

Ms. Suddath and Brittany Lucas high in the Small Wild Goose Pagoda.

bell ringing

Suji Jeong and Ms. Suddath ringing a giant bell at the Small Wild Goose Pagoda for good luck.

terracotta soldiers

Soldiers as far as the eye can see, to protect Emperor Qin in the afterlife.


A close up of some terracotta soldiers.

dumpling banquet

Dumpling Banquet on our last night in Xian. Every kind of dumpling imaginable was present.

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Shanghai - China's Future

Shanghai is as modern and European as Chinese cities get. Home to two of the seven tallest buildings in the world, Shanghai will be the site of the 2010 World Expo. We hit its sites and managed to find a little time for shopping. Though not modern at all, Yu Yuan Gardens and its architectural rockery were a highlight.

pudong at night

Lucas Laudermilk, Mr. Adkinson, and Samuel Goddard with Pudong Shanghai at night. The Oriental Pearl, the Jin Mao Tower, and the Shanghai World Finance Center are in the background.

the bund

The Bund, with its Art Deco architecture.

gina and girls

These girls really wanted their photo with Gina and her blonde hair.

yu yuan gardens

A view of Yu Yuan Gardens, tucked away in downtown Shanghai.

yu yuan rockery

Yu Yuan Gardens is small, but its engineering and rock architecture make it seem endless.

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Manny and Suji at the Forbidden City


Ethan Sanders on the Great Wall

Kim McMillan












Gina Dancing in park


accordian at park

Ming Tombs









Suji and a stone camel







Birds Nest Shinanigans























































Suvam and the Bell


Students with the Soldiers







dancers at the Tang Dynasty show


tang dancer












































































Ethan at Yu Yuan


Yu Yuan


Ladies in the wall at Yu Yuan

Gina and koi


Shops near Yu Yaun









Men climbing things