Although students at Concordia International School live in China, many do not have the opportunity to visit the less tourist-like areas of the country. The interim trips make it possible for students to see remote parts of the country which allows for a fuller picture and understanding of their host country.
“If I went to a school that didn’t offer interim trips, I probably would never see the real China. I wouldn’t pee in a trench, nor try Sichuan spicy hot pot, or even trek in the Gobi desert. These Interim trips that Concordia offers forces you to leave the city slicker lifestyle of Shanghai, and go on adventures in some of the rural parts of China. Over my high school career, I’ve been on several interim trips; two of them being in very rural Chinese provinces. Out of all the strange and bizarre smells, sights, and sounds I encounter, the thing that never ceases to amaze me is the attention foreigners get in these places. Of course, we Lao-Weis get our picture taken in Shanghai sometimes, but we are very common in the big cities. But when you venture past the outskirts of Shanghai, foreigners are treated very differently. On this trip especially, since we visited with local Chinese university students, I found out how sparse foreigners are in these rural places. The students took us on a tour of their school, and we stopped by the stadium where several hundred freshmen cadets were training for their mandatory military service China. It was a sea of camouflage, very intimidating; a lot of marching and shouting in synchrony. However one cadet would catch sight of one of us, and the rest would follow suit. A chant of Hellos! and Ni-haos! soon accompanied their surprised faces. I really enjoyed going over to a bunch of young students and shaking their hands, it was my Eisenhower moment, since they were all in military uniforms. I felt like FDR for a few minutes.”