Dear Priory Parents,
This summer Priory hopes to offer students the opportunity to experience an up close and personal view of China and Taiwan. This June we will chaperone a 15-day trip to the mainland and the island of Formosa, highlighting our relationships with schools there, showcasing various world heritage sites, sampling the cuisine of various ethnic regions, and making new friends while solidifying old friendships.
The trip will be chaperoned by experienced Priory faculty. While final details are still being hammered out due to flight plans, we know that we will depart on or around May 29 and return about June 12. Our departure date follows graduation, so seniors are certainly eligible to be part of this group, but all high school students are definitely invited to consider this opportunity.
We will begin our visit by flying into Beijing and attending a welcoming dinner hosted by LuHe High School. From there we will use the weekend to visit the Urban Planning Hall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, a portion of the Great Wall, and other points of interest in China’s capital city. Host families will take care of our Priory students over the weekend, while the boys will stay in the very modern dorms at LuHe for a few days during the week. They will observe and attend classes for the better part of two days. A seminar in Chinese fine arts will take place at the school, and students will visit the nearby Hanmeilin Museum of Art (one of only two like it in the world).
From Beijing, the group will fly on to Changchun, a large city in northwestern China in a province previously known as Manchuria. In our two-day visit, our students will meet their counterparts from Changchun #2 School. The school is known for its warm hospitality, and members of the Priory faculty have visited on previous trips. While in Changchun, there will be numerous sightseeing opportunities, including a visit to one of the largest outdoor sculpture parks in all of China. Within the park, a museum houses a book written entirely on stone tablets.
After our short stay in Changchun, we will travel by air to Xian in central China, home of the terra cotta warriors and some of the best dumplings in all of China. While only 20% of this world historical site has been excavated, there are three separate museums dedicated to the exposition of what has already been unearthed. We will spend an entire day studying and touring this incredible archaeological treat. After a day in the field, we will head to a two-hour, 18-course dinner at the most famous dumpling house in Xian. The inner area of Xian is an ancient walled city, the most complete in all of China. Hiking and biking on top of the city wall will be a must.
Our final destination on the mainland will be the hustling and bustling city of Shanghai. This international capital of business and commerce offers a glimpse of the modern China. The group will tour museums, the harbor area, and the incredible skyline.
Jetting from Shanghai, we will head to our final destination Taipei. Here we will link up with a high school which has sent students to Priory for winter visits for years. Home stays and classroom visits for our students will be arranged. Taipei is an incredible city that boasts the fourth tallest skyscraper in the world, a very modern transportation system, and a number of world-class museums. From Taipei we will embark on our return flight back to the States.
Throughout our trip, we will be accompanied by English speaking guides in each city. All flights and internal transportation to and from every school, museum, and historical site are provided. In addition, lodging, museum entry fees, and all meals for the 16 days are included in the fixed price of the trip. Our largest expense will be the flight to and from China, which is difficult to estimate as fares vary right now by as much as $500 per round trip ticket. We believe that the total cost, excluding the $190 visa fee, which our China program will help subsidize will not exceed $4000.
If this trip sounds like a wonderful opportunity for your son, perhaps a special graduation gift or a fantastic cultural and learning opportunity, then please contact Mr. Finan or Mr. Gleich. Students do not need to speak Mandarin or be a member of our Mandarin classes to be eligible. The last time we sponsored such a trip, we had a 50/50 mix of students from Mandarin classes and students not involved in such classes. If you are in Mandarin class, however, spending time in China will definitely improve your Mandarin speaking and listening skills.
We are planning an evening informational meeting at the school on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. to go over details. At that meeting, we hope to have a few former students who participated in the last trip to China speak about their experiences.
Hoping that you are interested and eager.
Joseph V. Gleich and Anthony G. Finan
Co-Coordinators of Priory’s China Programs