In January, CAS Trips had the pleasure of hosting the Mashrek International School from Jordan on a customized trip to China. Joan, an IB CAS coordinator, came across CAS Trips by reading our newsletters and meeting our CAS Trips Director, Simon Armstrong, at an IB training Conference in 2018.
When Joan contacted us to organize a trip – the destination was still uncertain as she had expressed interest in various of our European destinations as well as China. Ultimately she choose the country of Dragons – China. Together we worked with Joan, as well as the other teachers involved on the trip, to create their perfect customized adventure that would target the desired learning outcomes, as well as engage students with the UN SDGs.
In order to better understand how CAS Trips works together with schools to customize trips, we have put together a short review together with Joan, who was interviewed after the trip on her experience with CAS Trips in China.
Joan initially contacted us around September and asked CAS Trips to help her organize a customized trip to China for her students. After an initial phone call, CAS Trips started developing her itinerary with a heavy focus on IB’s concept of CAS, as well as cultural immersion. She wanted the students to get a taste of the real China. After some back and forth with Mashrek International School, we came up with the perfect 8-day trip for a group of nine students and two teachers.
When we asked Joan how traveling with CAS Trips made her job easier, she responded, “Everything was really organized and planned for. There was also great flexibility in regards to the food choices.” On that note, we would like to mention that we will of course always cater nutritional needs based on allergies, intolerances or religious customs.
The CAS Trips China itinerary included the following highlights:
- Learning about China’s communist history at an underground Propaganda Poster Museum.
- Visiting Yu Yuan Gardens to learn more about Chinese Garden art. Yu in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying, the Jade Rock in the garden is one of a kind.
- Spending the day at the Cangdong Conservation project in Guangzhou, where students had the opportunity to participate in organic farming, learn about food preservation and preparation and interact with the local daily life and villagers.
- Exploring the Shamian Island, previously a British and French colonial island that featured prominently during the tea trade, and consequent opium wars. Much like the Bund in Shanghai, it is filled with colonial era houses in the French and British styles.
- Take a Tai Chi class at a beautiful local park.
- Taking the Peak Tram to Victoria Peak in Hong Kong for stunning views over the city and harbor below, the views of the harbor and the Kowloon Peninsula from this 428 meters vantage point are simply breathtaking and should not be missed.
- Experiencing the breathtaking views on the Ngong Ping 360 cable-car.
When we asked Joan what her personal highlight was she quickly concluded, “Hiking in Hong Kong” – and we fully understand why. With those breathtaking city views, the hike is spectacular!
No matter what trip you book with CAS Trips, our local tour guides are highly skilled, full-time professionals with years of experience and first aid certificates. All staff members are native or fluent in English, and of course Mandarin Chinese, alongside various local dialects. CAS Trips ensures the highest level of service with extensive in-house training. Joan’s three words to describe the CAS Trips China guides were “Lovely, sweet and flexible.”
Our trips are aimed to impact students’ learning, specifically through experiential learning. Our reflection workshops, engaging Changemaker Challenges and interesting expert talks will aid student learning. According to Joan, the trip to China impacted her students by “opening their minds and hearts to a different culture. They had the opportunity to experience new things, by visiting a far away and different country on their own, and they were able to foster new friendships.”
Last but not least, we asked Joan what she would say if someone called her and said “Why should I organize a student trip with CAS Trips?” Her answer: “You will have a rich experience with them!”
Did we spark your interest in booking a unique, perfectly customized trip for your school? If yes, contact us today!
We would also like to thank Joan for her time in answering all our follow-up questions and hope to have Mashrek International School back on one of our CAS Trips in the near future.