From Greenwich to Beijing

Students studying Chinese at Convent of the Sacred Heart will travel to the bustling streets of Beijing, China, from March 15 to March 27, to improve their linguistic skills through cultural immersion.

Mrs. Joanne Wu-Havemeyer, Upper School Chinese Teacher, proposed the inaugural spring break trip to provide her students with an opportunity to better understand Chinese lifestyle.

Convent of the Sacred Heart's Chinese-speaking students will travel to Beijing, China March 2015. Katie Nail '16
Convent of the Sacred Heart’s students of Chinese will travel to Beijing, China March 2015.
Katie Nail ’16

“The Chinese language and culture is very different from romance languages. This CSH China study trip should excite students to want to learn and to appreciate it more,” Mrs. Wu-Havemeyer said.

Parents and teachers gathered September 26 to discuss the trip itinerary. Mrs. Wu-Havemeyer coordinated the meeting and will hold another for a more in-depth trip update in January.

The trip’s intinerary will include language instruction each morning. During the remainder of each day the students will visit China’s famous cities, landmarks and tourist attractions, such as the Beijing Zoo, Hangzhou’s Tiger-running Fountain, Shanghai’s Yangtze River Cruise, and the Forbidden City. 

“I am most excited to visit the Forbidden City, because it’s one of Beijing’s most popular attractions.  I would like to see what it’s like in person,” sophomore and Chinese II student Katherine Sepulveda said.

The students will also view the Great Wall in Beijing and Suzhou’s Silk Embroidery Institute situated in a famous garden in Suzhou, which was built during the Qing dynasty.  

Students will have the opportunity to visit Hangzhou’s Longjing tea production brigade where they can gain insight into Chinese cultural traditions, such as the practice of growing Longjing. The green tea is one of the most prized and expensive in China, traditionally reserved for government officials and the wealthy elite, according to

In addition, Mrs. Wu-Havemeyer has planned for students to partake in other revered Chinese traditions, such as a classic dumpling banquet in Xi’an, capital of the Chinese Shaanxi province. The feast typically consists of 20 varieties of stemmed and stuffed dumplings for travelers to experience.

Mrs. Wu-Havemeyer hopes to not only improve students’ language skills, but also enrich their knowledge of Chinese culture. She wants students to gain a new perspective on life through their travels by speaking with Chinese citizens and navigating Beijing’s markets. 

“After taking almost six years of Chinese I am most excited to immerse myself in the culture while also furthering my study of the Chinese language,” sophomore and Chinese IV Honors student Erin Carroll said.