Journey East Trip to China 2005


Created at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont, supported by the Asian Studies Outreach Program (ASOP) at the University of Vermont (UVM), and funded primarily through a grant from the Freeman Foundation,

Journey East, as a whole, consists of the Asian Studies Academy and Sino-American Performing Arts Exchange at Leland and Gray Union High School; the integration of an Asian Studies curriculum throughout the Windham Central Supervisory Union, and the introduction of Chinese language programs into the district.

Dr. Juefei Wang, Director of the Asian Studies Outreach Program University of Vermont, is a recipient of the prestigious Goldman Sachs Award for Excellence in International education, on behalf of the UVM, Asian Studies Outreach Program.

The Leland and Gray Journey East program is deeply indebted, and extends its heartfelt thanks, to Dr. Juefei Wang, without whose effort and support this program would not even be possible!

Thank you Juefei!

Leland & Gray
Journey East IV

Tom Connor
Program Director

Ann Landenberger
Artistic Director

Matt Martyn
Music Director


T-minus 2

It was a pretty sad group of people last night when they said goodbye to their many friends in Hohhot. There are no words that can come close to describing the deep emotional parting with their close friends and “family.” The pictures will do all the talking that is necessary. And talk they will.

Say goodbye . . .

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Had enough? I didn’t think so . . .

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Tears with a smile.

The good news is we have a report from Kaylene. When you see Kaylene, don’t ask her “How was China?,” because her answer may take a few hours. Maybe days. On the other hand, do ask her. I’m sure you’ll find the time well spent . . . Kaylene . . .

    Kaylene Samuels, Sophomore
    April 22, 2005

    I never thought I'd set foot on the Gobi desert of China, rolling around in the sand, filling each pocket as I tumbled. We got an early start this morning and left our hotel at 7 since we had a three hour drive ahead. Yes, it was long, but nothing could compare to our 13-hour plane ride.

    We took a bus and a fifteen passenger van because ten Mongolian students came with us. We were encouraged to mix up in the vehicles so I joined the big van of Mongolians with Steph, Jessie, Ali and Matt. To pass the time on the long ride, we took out our I-pods and let the Mongolians listen to samples of American music. It was so much fun because they speak little English, if any, so we had to communicate with actions.

    When we arrived, I was surprised to find almost no wind and the sun shining. Lots of people, in fact, got sunburns. There couldn't have been a better day! Once we got to the desert, most of us opted for the 30 yuan camel ride. It was really fun --- interesting, yet scary because the sand was constantly shifting under the camel's feet. We were sometimes walking on the edges of the sand dunes and all the camels were connected, so if one had slipped, the train would have collapsed and all would have slid down the dune.

    After the camel rides, we had a blast. The first thing Steph and I did was run up the sand dunes as fast as we could. As we did, we'd look down to discover the sand sliding out from under us as we barely made it to the top. Once we finally got there, we rolled down the dunes, not caring about the walk back up. The second time up, we decided to throw our Mongolian friends down the dunes, but most of the time it ended up that we were the ones thrown. I ended up completely covered in sand. When I got really tired of walking up the dunes, I decided to go off a little into the distance to write a reflection on the trip.

    We've only spent several days with these Mongolian students collaborating for only a few hours each day. Even so, I've felt a connection with them since the third day of our collaborations (even though their English is so limited). It was then that I realized how hard it's going to be to leave them, knowing that I may never see ttn_Picture 1063hem again in my life. But there's not one part of me that doesn't want to come back here. Being here in China, I have realized how great Chinese and Mongolian people are. They are the kind of people who'd give you the shirts off their backs, giving something even if it's from the little they have. Little things have led me to this conclusion, such as how they always offer to carry my backpack and show bag, even sometimes taking it from my hands.

    They always know how they can make themselves better at a subject such as English, for example. I always compliment them on how well they speak English and some of them deny it. When we visited the English class in the middle school (equivalent to high school in the states) on the campus of Qufu, I was surprised to see how well disciplined the students were.

    When they were called on by the teacher, they would stand up to answer her question and wouldn't sit back down until she gave them the "OK." I remember hearing a lecture that touched on life in China when we were in
    Xi'an. The guest was Tom's Chinese friend, Wang Ping, who has a son in middle school. She said that her son goes to school from 7:15 AM until 7
    PM and when he gets home, he studies until midnight while other students stay up 'till 1 am. This creates quite the sense of competition considering only 7 or 8 per cent of China's students go on to college.

    When I walked by classrooms at night in the college campus of QuFu, I would see students studying with piles of books in front of them. Education is an extremely important aspect of their lives: Students who are college bound let nothing get in the way of getting a good education.

    We've learned many other things about the Chinese people here. When Riley and I spent the day with my host family, for instance, they wouldn't stop feeding us. We had a huge lunch and dinner with snacks in between. This is because they're so worried that we'll go home hungry and that would be seen as a disgrace. Hujia even told me that another greeting and conversation opener, in addition to "How be you?" is "Have you eaten?"

    It makes me sad when I think of how most of the Chinese and Mongolian people I've met always think of another before themselves: In America, it seems, there are fewer people like that. I think that this has to do with our background. We focus on individualism, as the Chinese focus on teamwork. But it makes me feel even worse to think of how much the Chinese and Mongolians praise and look up to us Americans.

    Wherever we go, they stare at us and treat us with the greatest respect as if we were famous. They want our autographs and e-mails, knowing nothing but our names. Yet the Chinese culture seems healthier than ours in many ways especially in that they think about others first and work so hard together to get a job done -- even if the job takes a long time. The Chinese know so much about Americans, but what do we know about them? Several students ask me questions, like what type of Chinese music groups I know and can I speak Chinese? Who's my favorite Chinese actor/actress? What's my favorite Chinese movie? I truly feel embarrassed and don't know how to answer. I'm speechless.

    Overall, this trip has been amazing and when I really think about it, it would be really hard to answer the question, "How was China?" because I have so much to say but there are not enough words to describe it. This is the best experience of my life.

Well, if you’re not emotionally charged right now, you are certainly somewhere else! Wow. All I can to you parents is, get ready to listen, hug, and listen some more . . .

We have a couple more pictures from the Gobi trip and here they are:

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The gang is now back in Beijing. I know they’ll have a blast seeing Johnny Redmond, Johnny was part of the JE 2004 trip, so he’ll know exactly what these guys are going through right now.

And then it’s back home again. Seems like we were just looking at pictures of the Great Wall, talking about Confucius, and hearing about Terra Cotta warriors.

Speaking of all of those things, I told you way back when that you had better pay attention as we rolled along here ‘cause there was going to be a quiz. And I am not about to let you down.

Below, you’ll find your JE 2005 quiz. This is an open “site” test, so you are allowed to go back and look through the journey for the answers (as if I’d be able to keep that from happening anyway!) I will post the answers on Thursday, when we bring this journey to a safe and sound conclusion.

Before I let you loose on this monster, we’ll say good-day and look forward to seeing you all back here tomorrow. We are almost there everybody.

Now that the end is in sight, the trip may not seem like it lasted all that long. But once you begin searching back through the site, looking for answers to the quiz, I think you’ll be reminded how huge this journey really was, and is, and will be for the rest of (yours and) your child’s life.

 Okay, you may turn your papers over and begin . . .

Journey East 2005 Quiz

  • The group visits five major cities. What are they?
  • How many hours difference is China from us? Ahead or behind?
  • What is the basic monetary unit of China?
  • What event did the group attend where most fell asleep?
  • What major event will take place in Beijing in 2008?
  • Name seven sights/places visited while in Beijing.
  • At one stop, three of the students were found wearing Red Army uniforms. Can you name these three students?
  • What is the distance between NYC and Beijing (as the crow flies)?
  • Qufu is the birthplace of whom?
  • What is the name of the JE 2005 performance?
  • For the three journeys east, there have been a total of seven chaperones, How many can you name?
  • How many official nationalities are there in China
  • What is the majority people group in China?
  • According to Travis, which method of bartering works best for him?
  • Can you name three sports the group engaged in during their stay in Qufu?
  • According to the reports, approximately how many people (total) saw the group perform during their journey? How many times did they perform?
  • Besides Tom, to whom do we give credit for making this Journey East Program possible?
  • The electric carts were not working the day the group visited Confucius’ cemetery in Qufu. What form of transportation did they use?
  • Can you name (first name only) all of the kids, the chaperones, and the group leaders/directors?
  • What is “hot pot?”
  • Whose birthdays were mentioned during the trip?
  • Because of the time difference, what unique birthday situation took place?
  • In one of the Xi’an tours, the group visits a place where there are sewing machines. What product is manufactured there? (This will require some investigative research).
  • Why does the name “Xi’an have an apostrophe?
  • What nickname was given to Travis?
  • A reference is made to a famous calligrapher and poet. He sang a Li Bai poem for Jessie and Tom at the base of the mountain where Tang Dynasty poets Li Bai and Du Fu met. What is the poet’s name?
  • How many (total) photos are found on this journey’s web site? (if a photo is used twice, it still counts.)
  • What Chinese year (name of the animal) is 2005?
  • They visit a river of a different color. What color is the river and in what city did they see it?
  • Each “Ming City” had two towers. What are the names of these towers and what purpose did they have?
  • The group served as guests of honor at a special outdoor event. What was the event?
  • In one of the photos you can see a food place familiar to all of us here back home. What is it? Where is it?
  • Who said “A picture is worth a thousand words?”
  • What is the official language of China?
  • What is Juefei’s nephew’s name and what does he do on the journey?
  • Name three major sights seen in Xi’an.
  • Tom arranged for a guest to speak to the kids about growing up in China. What is this person’s name?
  • What is the symbol of Hohhot?
  • Can you name ten students from each of the previous 2002 and 2004 journeys east?
  • The kids are featured on the front page of a Mongolian newspaper. What is the name of the newspaper?
  • Can you name five “moments of zen?”
  • The students plant something on the trip. What was it and why did they do this?
  • What was the name of the song the group taught to the Mongolians?
  • How do you say “hello” in Chinese?
  • Riley claims to be an expert at making what food?
  • The Gobi Desert is also know as what?
  • Name five different kinds of Chinese food mentioned during the journey.
  • What is Confucius’ surname in Chinese?
  • In 5,000 words or more, tell us about your favorite part of the 2005 Journey East.

Good luck!


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your moment of zen . . .









[JE trip 2005] [Dress Rehearsal] [Itinerary] [Press release] [March 29]