Student tour cultural, historic landmarks in China


Photo courtesy of Anne Marie Bouchard

Olivia Shiver and Gabriella Childers admire the architecture of the Forbidden City. The tour around the Forbidden City included a stop at an ancient palace and the Llama Temple. Shiver said, “We went to the Llama Temple and learned about the Buddhist religion. It was really cool to see the dedication of those in the Buddhist religion.”

Over spring break, Bak students and parents took a trip to Beijing, China. Anne-Marie Bouchard, the French teacher at Bak, led the trip and it included many experiences.

“This was the best trip of my life. We learned so much about a different culture and a different way of thinking,” Bouchard said. “We learned about politics, food, history, their way of life. It felt like we were on a different planet.”

According to, the trip included climbing a rickshaw ride through the Forbidden City, a tour of important landmarks, and climbing the Great Wall of China.

“My favorite part was the Great Wall. We climbed, not walked the Great Wall. At some points, the angle of the path was around 140 degrees. It was something special,” Bouchard said.

Another big experience was the food. Group members tried all new foods and participation in a traditional tea party.

“We also learned about food. Every part of it. Even the etiquette and tiny details which was very cool because it was so different,” Olivia Shiver, sixth grade piano major, said. “The best part though was the tea party because it was completely new for me. I now drink tea every day because I loved it so much.”

Bouchard based her decision on many things, but the biggest was the “wow factor.”

“When I chose the trip, I looked for a cultural shock,” Bouchard said. “My previous trips had all been to Europe. Europe is amazing but this time I looked for something different, a place where everyone could learn.”

Overall, the group enjoyed the trip, especially the students. Bouchard will also be leading trips for next year and following years.  In spring break of 2018, there will be a trip to Macchu Picchu and Peru.

“When I looked at the students, I saw the amazement in their eyes,” Bouchard said. “It was so satisfying to be able to share this experience with them as a traveler and a teacher. I cannot wait for next year’s trip.”