Antipodeans China Trip

On 30 November, 2016 24 students, four teachers and two expedition leaders departed Brisbane to begin an adventure of a life time.

The Antipodeans trip was spilt into three different sections, a sight-seeing section, a trekking expedition and a community project.

When visiting the big cities and sightseeing we were able to see many famous sights including: The Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors, the Xi’an Old City wall, the Wild Goose Pagoda, the China Fortune Wheel (largest prayer wheel in the world), Lijiang Old Town, Xi’an Bell and Drum Tower and the Garden Sumtseling Monastery. We also had the opportunity to visit well known shopping areas such as the Silk Markets and the Muslim Markets.

Our expedition trek was within the very famous Tiger Leaping Gorge. This part of the expedition was definitely a highlight as the landscape was absolutely breathtaking. Every day I was in awe of the magnificent views, from the Snow Mountains, to the rice fields terraced along local villages. Although the trek was exquisite, it was both mentally and physically challenging. Every day we pushed ourselves to a new destination through some tough terrain and focused on our goal of what lay ahead of us, rather than behind. This was not only a physical journey, but a mental journey of self-discovery and something that will stay with me forever.

Finally, as part of our community project, each team built a toilet block for a local community in Shangri-La. The toilet blocks were built completely from scratch – from laying the foundations to putting the roof on and everything in between. Girls had to shovel and hoe their own cement, carry bricks to and from the building area, plaster the walls, coat the walls with white paint and then hand paint a beautiful design on the outside walls.

Team 1 decorated their block with a girl and boy and Team 2 decorated their block with an Australian theme, which included some of our famous beaches, Australian animals, typical Aussie icons, such as thongs and Vegemite and of course the Australian and Aboriginal flags.

During the process of building these blocks we were also able to interact with the locals. It was an amazing experience to be able to learn about the elders’ lives, their cultures and traditions. It was an eye-opener to experience these people in their living conditions first hand. We had so much fun learning the traditional Tibetan dances and then we reciprocated by teaching them the classic Nutbush dance.

Overall the trip to China was a unique and memorable one that I will never forget. Not only did it teach me valuable life lessons, but it also made me appreciate all that we take for granted and realise that we live an incredibly privileged life.

I encourage other Stuartholme girls, if you ever get the opportunity to participate in something similar, to grab the opportunity with both hands.  The memories of this trip will last me a lifetime!

Jordi Stephenson, Year 12

Click on a photo to begin gallery