Xi’an: A Journey of Discovery for Grade 8 Students | 西安：八年级学生的探索之旅
To enrich their unit on World Religions, Mr. Brian’s 8th grade Humanities class enjoyed a 3.5-day field trip to Xi’an. This city was a natural choice for this unit, because Xi’an marked the beginning and end of the ancient Silk Road, which brought different goods, ideas and beliefs to China. The students have been studying how people use religion to express their personal, cultural, and spiritual beliefs, thereby reinforcing identity among communities. On this trip, students visited religious sites of five major religions: Taoism, Vajrayana (Tantric Buddhism), Tibetan Buddhism, Catholicism, and Islam. Students courageously approached religious visitors at each of the sites to interview them about various aspects of their beliefs. Through these interviews, they were able to discover how people express themselves through religion, how religion can unite us, and how their beliefs affect their daily lives. There was much thoughtful discussion and the 8th graders showed deep respect and open-mindedness during their visit. Students enjoyed the serenity of each temple/religious site and each place gave much to reflect upon. Other highlights of the trip included being guests at a Catholic wedding, souvenir hunting in the vibrant Muslim Quarter, and strengthening peer bonds through the gift of travel. It was an unforgettable trip and students were so fortunate to have been allowed such an intimate glimpse into the hearts of those whom we spoke to. We’re so proud of our 8th graders and how maturely they navigated their way through Xi’an!