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The Geography lesson of SCIE – We learnt Geography in Guilin
2017-12-20

[SCIE web news, Dec 20th, 2017] Thorough the ages, numbers of geographers have emerged in China, leaving us a series of masterpieces. The above poem was from Li Daoyuan(a Literature master in China ancient Geography) – ‘Shui Jing Zhu’, which described the spectacular karst landscape in the basins of Hubei.

 

On the afternoon of Dec 7, with curiosity and the love in Geography, 18 students from SCIE were taking a high-speed train to the Lijiang River to explore the karst topography which fascinated Li Daoyuan.

 

It was a 3-day Geography field trip from Guilin to Yangshuo, which was leaded by our teachers, Stuart Ashmore and Alison Huang. During this trip, besides geological analysis of Lijiang River and its basins, we could also have a deep site investigation in these two famous tourist cities in China in terms of geology, climate, science, humanities, economy, society, etc. Integrating the knowledge of Geography with real life could develop our comprehensive thinking of Geography and our living environment.

 

In the early morning, we drove to the wharf and took a cruise on the Lijiang River. As known throughout the world, Guilin’s scenery was the best under heaven, and the most renowned feature was its dramatic karst terrain: The Nine Horse Nine Fresco Hill, the scenery on the 20-yuan Chinese banknote, etc. We were so impressed by the surrounding landscapes which were uniquely big and unusually interesting.

 

Mr. Ashmore stood on the deck, teaching us the related concepts of Geography: -  the V-shaped valley, the meanders, the erosion and deposition of rocks which caused by rivers, the influence on steam recharge in different conditions, and so on. He wrote them all down on the paper, and we listened to him very carefully.

 

When facing with the nature, I couldn’t help thinking how insignificant and fragile men were. It took billions of years for the earth to form and ‘settle down’, creating marvelous landscapes that could easily took our breath away. Thanks to Geography, we could have a chance to know more about the long history of the earth.

 

Finally, we arrived at Yangshuo, and our first stop was Yinzi Cave, which had diverse stalactites that formed in different geologic ages. Like what Li Daoyuan said on his poem, the stalactites inside the cave were spotlessly white as snow, and just look like glittering water pouring down from the Milky Way. There were dozens of sight spots inside the cave, the Budda Sakyamuni Discussing Buddhist Sutras, the Sole Pillar Holding Up the Sky, etc. And it became more fascinating to enjoy with the illumination of colorful lightning and the tour description. The secret working of the nature world was perfectly revealed here and we couldn’t help exclaiming and taking photos.

 

 After the tour of Yinzi Cave, we went to the Western Street for our dinner. Beer Fish, a famous local specialty dish in Yangshuo, had spicy and delicious meat without any fishy smell and was very appetizing. It was selected from the big fresh carps in the Lijiang River, braising with superior beer. The unique crispy fresh flavor made us lost in admiration.  Like other archaic streets in China, the Western Street was surrounded by an array of traditional buildings and amazing stores. We took a walk along the street, trying all kinds of drinks and snacks before we went back to our hotel and prepared for our next day’s trip. There were two of us even went to the local library and studied for a while. 

 

On Dec 9, after walking nearly an hour along the mountain road, we arrived at the Longji Terraced Field, one of our Agricultural case studies in Geography course. At first, we thought there were just small hills, but when we got to the top of the hill and look down, it was surprising to find that the terraced fields were built along the slope winding from the riverside up to the mountain top. We were so impressed by the hard work and wisdom of the ordinary workers who devoted themselves to these fields. After listening to Stuart’s lessons about the planning of terraced fields and the management of mountain slopes, we started our investigation as scheduled. Talking with the local people could improve our understanding of the local culture, population, economy, and we could also know more about the pros and cons which tourism brought to them. Stuart was quite satisfied with our questions which we prepared for this investigation. With a wealth of knowledge, cheers and laughters, we finally started our journey back to Shenzhen.

 

As international school students, we could receive a total different education system from Chinese traditional schools, which were more focused on students’ theoretical knowledge and academic skills, while in SCIE, especially for Geography, it was research-based learning and practical application. For us, beginning Geography students, it was so amazing that we could see all the knowledge we learned in class became ‘vivid’ in the real life, reminding all of us that Geography was a subject which had a strong connection with our lives and the earth.

 

As students who studied Geography in SCIE, we learnt Geography in Guilin landscapes.

 

Report and photos/Tony Wu, Steven Fang; Translation/Sherry

 

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