The student ambassadors started their day off with a special lesson on Imperial China by visiting Tiananmen square, and the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the centre of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen ("Gate of Heavenly Peace") located to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. The square contains the Monument to the People's Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China in the square on October 1, 1949 and it is also where the Tiananmen Square Massacre took place. The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty—the years 1420 to 1912. It served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government for almost 500 years!
Each sacred attraction offered a moment for our students to reflect on the significance the places brought. For Tiananmen Square, our students stepped back in time and got to learn all the history the area has created for China and the world. When it was time to walk through the Forbidden City, our students got to feel what it would of been like for an emperor of China and see the extent of their wealth through the elaborate rooms and works of art found there.
After learning about imperial China, SOSers took a break for lunch, then traveled to old Beijing, Hutong by rickshaw is a local method of travel where you are escorted on a bike by a guide who explains the history of each street and alley while you traveled on it. Each building had a story and when given the opportunity to hear it, the city becomes alive. Following the tour of old Beijing, students had a chance to visit a local family who have lived in China for generations.
The students were served a traditional meal and given the families history as glass bottle painters with a rare chance to see an artist designing elaborate pictures inside small glass bottles. This unique experience was followed up with dinner and an acrobatics show. Much like Cirque De Soil, the acrobatics show allowed our students to be entertained by highly skilled performers that mixed music and performances together for a splendid show.