Day 8 - Pearl Tower and Homestay

We managed to get an extra half hour or so in bed this morning as breakfast was not until 8am. The students have been really good at getting up the whole trip so if they say they can’t do it when they get home don’t believe them! Breakfast was sweet buns, buns with vegetables in, and eggs. Lots wanted a cereal bar today and we got some apples at the supermarket last night so they all ate.

The morning was all about the Pearl Tower. We arrived there nice and early after a little delay in the rush hour traffic. The weather was a little drizzly and misty so some of the taller buildings were disappearing into the clouds which looked pretty cool and made for some good pictures. As it was still quite early the queues were small and we managed to get up the tower very quickly. When at the top we initially reached the viewing level which gives fantastic views over Shanghai, especially with the weather conditions today. We then made our way down a couple of floors to the observation level with the glass floor looking down at the bustling streets. Some of the students were a little bit scared initially but soon they were all on the glass taking the usual pictures looking down or laying down, and taking selfies with Shanghai in the background. This level not only gave us some fantastic views of the tallest buildings in Shanghai but also a birds eye view of the bund and the route the river cruise took the other night.

At the bottom level of the tower there is a museum all about the history of Shanghai over the past 700 years. It documents transformation from farm land, to a shipping port, and now the modern city we see today. It was very interesting and the staff and students really enjoyed reading about and looking at the British and French influence in the development of Shanghai. After this we needed to go back to school to get sorted for homestay.

On arrival to the school we again ate in the western style restaurant which I think was good to make sure the students were all fed before homestay just in case, although the parents and families are so nice and they will take them wherever they want to go. We had soup, chicken bites, pork chops, spaghetti, mash, bananas and chocolate pizza. There was also a version of a lemon posset. This was all washed down with Chinese tea. As we had overrun at the Pearl Tower, we had to eat quite quickly as the parents had arrived and were waiting. 

We then walked over to one of the classrooms in the international department where Principal Eugene and Mr Cooke gave speeches to the parents, thanking them for welcoming the students into their homes and just reinforcing some of the rules and guidelines. After this, students went over to meet their Chinese counterparts. It was good that they had already met them a number of times over the past 7 days or so which I think is crucial in making the homestay very successful. The Chinese students then introduced our students to their parents. A quick journey up to the dorms and to collect their bags and all of the lovely gifts you have sent over with them and they were off. 

You may think this is the easiest part of the trip for the staff but I can assure you it is quite the opposite. As soon as they are gone, we are hoping they are ok and really embrace and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience. They are so brave to do it and it will really help their confidence as well as many other things, it is really pushing them out of their comfort zone and how well they are dealing with it is amazing.

The staff were taken out this evening by Rainbow who will be coming over in the summer for some traditional West China cuisine which was lovely. We have seen some lovely pictures from Stephanie of the students making dumplings with families and enjoying parties with extended families. The Chinese hosts really do feel a tremendous amount of pride having our students stay with them and they always look after them so well. Apologies we don’t have pictures of them all, only some hosts have sent pics through.

Once they are through tonight, they will only have 1 more night on homestay and then a final night back in school before we head home. I’m sure you are all missing them terribly.

Tomorrow we may send a blog, but this depends on how many updates we get. We will definitely do a blog on Thursday that gives the students a chance to tell you all about the homestay themselves. We will also try and send some more pictures.

To see more images from our 2019 China Trip, visit the gallery page here!