March 28




A Beautiful Journey
(JE Performance Program)

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 2007

Tom Connor
Program Director

Ann Landenberger
Artistic Director

Matt Martyn
Music Director


Come see these magnificent performers on Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 pm. They will perform at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont.

Click here to find out more about this amazing and fun evening!


Where Are They?




Day 4 . . . tn_Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen and the Forbidden City 088

This is the group’s last day in Beijing before heading off to Chongqing tomorrow. We have a few photos and a couple of student reports reflecting on yesterday’s amazing day at the Great Wall. So, let’s take a look at a couple of photos (more tomorrow!) and then we’ll follow with those reports.

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March 27, 2007 -- Maddy Conley, Freshman

Today was our first full day in China. It was an incredible mix of cross-cultural experiences, among them using a “squatter” toilet, climbing the Great Wall and haggling with street vendors. We woke at 7:30 to a beautiful day in Beijing—our guide joked that we’ve brought spring weather to the city. We had an amazing breakfast at which the more adventurous among us tried foods such as meat dumplings, spring rolls and various steamed vegetables. The rest of us were content to find more familiar items like French toast, orange juice and coffee.

After breakfast we boarded our luxurious tour bus and drove two hours to the Great Wall. Our guide, “David,” told us an intriguing story about the Wall. During the building of the Great Wall, a woman’s husband was sent away from his home to help build the Wall—or so the story goes. The woman’s husband was away for a long time so eventually she traveled to the wall to find her husband. After asking everyone she encountered where her husband was and receiving no answer, she came to a part of the wall and found her husband’s body buried there. The story goes that her tears opened up the heavens and it rained for a long time and because of this, that place in the wall collapsed.

When we arrived at the Wall, we were greeted by a gauntlet of somewhat aggressive street vendors who approached us asking our names and tugging our arms asking us to promise to return to their stalls when we came back down the mountain.

The mountains were absolutely astounding. We took a six-person cable car up to the Wall and spent two hours walking it. I climbed to the top [of the last section one could walk before it turned from renovated area to a crumbled ruin]. This meant walking about a mile and climbing a very steep –almost vertical—set of stairs. Making it to the top was so amazing, though, and sort of liberating so it was completely worth it.

After we climbed down, the majority of us slid down the mountain on toboggans; which was a pretty incredible experience. The experience that followed –haggling with street vendors—is, I think, perhaps even more memorable. I bought a t-shirt that said “I climbed the Great Wall” despite my over-whelming feeling of these being overly-tacky and touristy. With the help of Tyler (this is his second trip to China so he really knows his stuff), I got the price of my t-shirt down from 120 to 20 yuan. After this experience, I felt so confident that I helped Karle haggle her price down from 85 to 13.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, though we did meet Callie Sopper for dinner again! We left the restaurant early after another amazing meal and came back to the hotel. So now I’m sitting on my bed, so tired I can barely put a full sentence together. Despite my exhaustion, I still appreciate how absolutely wonderful today was. I will remember it my entire life and I’m looking forward to the days ahead.


It is so much fun to hear about the new experiences, such as the haggling, or bartering, for items with the Chinese vendors. Some of these students will go from being too shy to haggle at the beginning of the trip to becoming an expert by the end of the journey!

Okay, so let’s see what Ryan has to say about yesterday’s climb on the wall:

March 27, 2007 -- Ryan Astley, Junior

Hey everyone, how are you? I’ll speak for everyone by saying that we are extremely tired or “fried,” as Tom would say, but are having a wonderful time! The two days that we have been here have been packed to the full, whether it was unbearably long plane rides or enough exercise for a month! The food is great and we’re all making lots of progress with the chopsticks!

Today, we took a two hour drive out of the city of Beijing. Our destination was “The Great Wall of China,” one of the most amazing pieces of history in the world. Since the hillside was extremely steep, we took a gondola to the Wall. When we reached the top of the first flight of stairs, the view was absolutely incredible! You could see rice patties and tons of mountains with jagged peaks. The thought that people built the whole thing by hand just seemed so unreal. It felt like such a privilege to be able to walk on such an amazing structure filled with so much history. In order to get back down, you could walk or take the “chute,” which is like a Bromley Slide type of thing. I chose the “Chute.” I really wanted to speed down the thing but in front of me on the track, Ellie felt like taking a joyride at .5 mph! Now that I look back on that though, I’m glad she went slowly, it gave me a chance to look around and take in my surroundings.

Once we reached the bottom, we encountered what most thought was the most stressful part…bargaining! You had vendors grabbing you and telling you to buy things. I didn’t find it stressing at all. I actually thoroughly enjoyed it! It was fun starting at a high price and breaking it to single digits! If the vendor acted like your price was impossible to agree on, all you had to do was tell them “too much” and walk away. Seeing as you weren’t going to change your mind, they would run and call after you and usually give you the price you asked for. It was probably the most fun I have had so far. After that, we ate lunch, had a couple of hours of down time and then ate again.

When we got back to the hotel, Tom gave us an early curfew, which no one protested. We all went to our rooms and rested up for another busy day.

I hope all of you are doing well and we’ll see you in a month!


Each day will be filled with so many activities and adventures that most of the kids will actually be looking forward to going to bed before midnight! Can you imagine that?

Seeing and walking on the Great Wall must be breathtaking. And that experience alone is priceless. In fact, each day’s experience is priceless.

Right now, the students are enjoying the “tourist” part of the journey. They are experiencing and learning about China and its history. it is mind boggling to think about all they will see, hear, and experience. These first few days will help give the students a sense of appreciation and understanding of the people and culture.

This part of the journey helps to set the stage, so-to-speak, on which they will be performing in the weeks ahead. Their performances will be their opportunity to give something back to their hosts for all they have received.

This is such a marvelous exchange of cultures. And we know that our young ambassadors are serving us proud!

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After a very busy day yesterday, climbing the wall, the group’s legs will be tested again at Tiananmen Square. Be sure to check out this web link. It is a 360 degree view of the entire square. This will also give you a great perspective when the photos do arrive from the group.

Thousands of people visit Tiananmen Square every day. The Tiananmen Tower was built nearly 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty. That’s old!

Tiananmen Square is next to the Forbidden City. The imperial palace is nearly 10 football fields long and 8 football fields wide. Believe this or not, it has 9,999 rooms! Can any of you tell me what surrounds the palace?

Okay, that’s it for now.

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