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“Mobile Class” in XMU Economics: A Culture Trip to Dehua

 Now, as the November breeze blows gently across the university, sweeping away the humidity with its cool and refreshing breeze, our spirits are awakened, calling for an autumn school trip. This was one of the many main activities arranged by the WISE-SOE International Graduate's Program which had been eagerly awaited by those who desired to participate.

At first light on November 1st, 2019, a group of 29 international students, faculty, and staff, gathered near the university’s library at 8 A.M., excited to embark on a trip together to Dehua County. Located in the culturally rich city of Quanzhou, Fujian, Dehua is well-known for its white ceramic production, martial arts and vinegar culture.

The first attraction of the day was Jiang Shan Beauty Tea Mountain, a tea plantation famous for its oolong tea which is harvested from only the top branches of the tea plant. These young and tender leaves are bitten by the tea worms native to the area and helps to confirm the quality and robustness of the leaves. The incredible weather and landscape of the mountain helped lift everyone’s spirits and enhanced the tea harvesting experience. They also watched the tea production process from harvest to table and made natural collages from the flowers and leaves collected on the mountain.



 

Next, they moved to a traditional Chinese restaurant for lunch and took some leisure time to rest, chat, and enjoy some traditional food together. Everyone also had a chance to try Chinese cookery themselves. Students and faculty made green tuanzi, a dumpling made from a special type of grass and is popular in the early spring during the Qing Ming Festival. Kneading the sticky dough and filling it with sweet green bean paste proved to be a challenging task, yet also a pleasurable and rewarding one after participants were able to eat their creation.



After lunch, they moved to the Dehua Ceramic Cultural Museum, a specialist museum dedicated to the history of the beautiful pure white porcelain made at Dehua, or more traditionally known in the West as Blanc de Chine (French for “White from China”). The museum exhibits detailed the production process and displayed past and modern examples of ceramics. Moreover, students and faculty had the chance to learn DIY pottery and paint clay figures which allowed them to express their creativity!
 



The next stop was to the Martial Arts Villa, a temple that practices Baihe Kungfu. Also known as the White Crane Fist, Baihe is a type of shaolin boxing that originated from Yongchun County in Fujian and imitates the gracefulness of the white crane. Without a doubt, all students took an active role in learning several Baihe techniques under the guidance of local Kungfu masters.



The tour guide then led everyone to the last attraction of the day, the Vinegar Experience Hall, to experience the vinegar culture and sample the many varieties of vinegar made on-site using traditional methods.


At the end of the tour, everyone returned to Xiamen University with a fully inspired and refreshed spirit after experiencing much more Chinese culture and history. The tour overall was a rare and wonderful opportunity that also gave students and faculty the chance to share memorable moments in a different environment.


Students’ feedbacks:

The trip was very interesting. We had a chance to feel the real Fujian spirit through the activities and interactions with local people. I enjoyed it! (Saniya, Kazakhstan)

The trip to De Hua, Quanzhou was a fantastic experience. With a schedule packed full of exciting activities, such as picking tea leaves, clay sculpting, practicing Kongfu and tasting Yongchun vinegar. I found that I was surrounded by Chinese culture and learnt its history throughout the day. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope to visit again soon. (Mary, UK)

(SOE Novia, 宋阳)