A group of Fifth Years recently travelled up to London with the Chinese Department to inspire them for a series of GCSE essay writing topics they will soon be tackling. The students will have to think and write about going on a school trip, eating out, the importance of healthy eating and global issues such as world hunger and climate change. This includes considering how plant-based diets could be part of the solution. 

First stop was the British Museum where the group visited the Chinese, Korean and Japanese galleries. They then enjoyed lunch at Tofu Vegan Chinese Restaurant in North London. Throughout the trip, students completed tasks by applying their Chinese character reading and writing skills. 

Student Franco attended the trip and reports back: 

“The China and South Asia Gallery at the British Museum explored thousands of years of Chinese history from 5000BC to present. We saw many exhibitions about Chinese dynasties – Early, Qin and Han, Tang, Song, Ming and Qing. These included a bronze Bo bell (Early), porcelain (Ming), tomb figures (Tang) and jewellery (Qing).  

“There was an interesting exhibition of ancient face paints and pallets explored the history of artwork and early forms of make-up, which were common throughout China. We found this particularly fascinating as we could compare modern forms of make-up with very traditional forms, and surprisingly there were many similarities!  

“The Jade Gallery contained hundreds of beautiful ornaments made from the precious stone jade. We discovered this was historically more valuable in China than gold or diamonds; perhaps due to its striking pearl-like green colour.  

“We then moved on to see the Japanese and South Korean Galleries, which offered more perspectives of the culture of South-East Asian countries. One fact that stood out to me was that 70% of characters in Chinese and Japanese overlap and share the same meaning. While observing the exhibitions, we took down facts and information from what we discovered to complete a work booklet. 

“After this amazing cultural experience, we then took a bus to Islington where we went to the Tofu Vegan restaurant. Here we tried a lot of different Chinese food. Much to our delight, there were endless bowls of rice! I was surprised at the vast range of brilliant meat-substitutes that I tried and enjoyed. When combining the healthiness of vegan eating with its benefits for the planet, I realised that I could, and perhaps should, eat vegan foods more often.” 

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