Students on the Fall 2010 Shanghai programs had their program orientation in the town of Wuzhen, a typical canal town in the Yangzi River delta area where much of the Qing dynasty architecture is still present. In Wuzhen, students enjoyed a great opening meal at the beautiful Lubolang Restaurant in Yu Gardens. Shanghai was once connected by waterways to all these small delta towns throughout the Yangzi River region.
Nanjing, capital city of Jiangsu province, was the capital of several dynasties and regimes, so it’s no surprise that it’s still known for its cultural and historical sites. The Shanghai students visited the museum commemorating the Nanjing Massacre of WWII. On the second day, they visited Zijinshan mountain park where they saw the tombs of the founder of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang or Hongwu; and the founder of the Republic, Sun Yatsen or Sun Zhongshan. They also visited the Zhonghua Gate, which is a part of the old Ming wall–the longest city wall ever built.
It’s important to spend some time away from the modern glass and concrete of Shanghai and see the villages where most Chinese people still live. Unlike many of the beautiful villages in this area once known as Huizhou, Huangcun has few tourists besides our Shanghai students. Students camped out at the 200-year-old residence called Zhongxiandi, which is run by the nonprofit group Village China. While in the village, they picked tea leaves, broke up a land plot, volunteered to clean the village’s only source of water, survived a pig attack, visited a bamboo craftsperson, taught an English class at the elementary school, and learned to play majiang. They also climbed in Huangshan, one the most scenic areas in China.