Members of our recruiting team recently had the opportunity to visit China to see the opening ceremonies for BASIS International & Bilingual Schools Wuhan and the new BASIS International School Shenzhen campus as well as visit our esteemed schools in Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Nanjing. This trip held a special significance for some team members who were experiencing China for the first time, allowing us to capture their initial impressions and insights into several cities within our school network.
Recruitment Marketing Coordinator
The idea of visiting China had always been a distant dream for me. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, China was a world away, both geographically and culturally. However, as the Recruitment Marketing Coordinator for BASIS International Schools, I was presented with a unique opportunity to embark on a journey that would not only introduce me to a new country but also challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions one may hear about China. Little did I know that this trip would forever change my perspective on this beautiful nation and see that there is something for everyone in China.
Wuhan: Bustling Metropolises Amidst Nature
China is often stereotyped as a concrete jungle, a sprawling mass of skyscrapers and industry. However, my first stop in Wuhan shattered these preconceptions from the start. BASIS International & Bilingual Schools Wuhan, nestled amidst the exquisite blend of architecture and picturesque gardens in a city of universities, presented the perfect setting for the newest addition to the BASIS International Schools network and our first international and bilingual school in the Hubei province.
For me, the highlight of our trip to Wuhan was undoubtedly the Yellow Crane Tower. This iconic structure, with a history spanning over 1,700 years, is a symbol of the city’s cultural heritage. It stands tall on Snake Hill, offering panoramic views of the Yangtze River and the city below. The Yellow Crane Tower is a testament to China’s rich history and its ability to seamlessly blend ancient traditions with modernization.
A State-of-the-Art Campus in Shenzhen
Our journey continued to the modern city of Shenzhen, where the new BASIS International School Shenzhen campus awaited us. This state-of-the-art campus left us in awe. It was a testament to the BASIS International Schools network and their commitment to excellence in education and innovation. This new school will foster more opportunities for both our top-quality teachers and students and set the standard for our future campuses as our network continues to grow.
Chengdu: A Unique Blend of Urban and Rural
Heading north to Chengdu to see our impressive BASIS International & Bilingual Schools Chengdu campus, I was introduced to a different facet of China. Chengdu offers a more rural feel, with abundant opportunities for camping, skiing, and visits to multiple Panda reserves. Personally, I found this to be the city that would be the easiest to live in as I love a balance of city convinces and opportunities to get away and reflect in nature. Known for its progressive outlook on many things, the welcoming atmosphere impressed me greatly. Chengdu defied my expectations by proving that China is not just about megacities but also about diverse and vibrant communities.
Hangzhou: The City with a Serene Heart
My favorite city of the trip was Hangzhou, with its breathtaking West Lake, which I now consider my “happy place.” The city is a haven for architecture enthusiasts, featuring structures like the City Conference Center and Grand Theater (Sun and Moon Buildings). Situated in the heart of the city, BASIS International School Hangzhou offered access to an array of shops and the subway, making it a convenient hub for exploration. Weekend getaways to Shanghai became a reality, showcasing the ease of travel within China.
Underrated Nanjing: A City Built in a Park
Our final stop was BASIS International School Nanjing, which revealed a hidden gem of a city. Nanjing felt like a city built within a park rather than the other way around. Ancient and full of rich history, it boasts numerous landmarks that tell stories of its past such as the Ming Palace, the Purple Mountains, and the Qinhuai River. The city comes alive at night, with picturesque canals illuminated, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere. Nanjing’s diverse culinary scene, featuring restaurants serving cuisine from around the world, added to its charm and made me feel at home.
My first trip to China with BASIS International Schools shattered the stereotypes I held about this magnificent nation. Even coming from a role where I have researched China and read countless testaments on the many wonderful sites and experiences, nothing compares to taking it all in for yourself. Never have I felt safer while venturing amongst the cities nor found as much amazing food along my travels. From the architectural wonders of Wuhan to the progressive spirit of Chengdu, the serene beauty of Hangzhou, and the rich history of Nanjing, China proved to be a land of diverse experiences and endless possibilities. I returned to the Pacific Northwest with a newfound appreciation for China’s cultural richness and a desire to explore more of this captivating country in the future.
Through my experiences in China, I had a difficult time coming up with the right words of gratitude for my colleagues at BASIS International Schools and the incredible people of Wuhan, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Nanjing. My first time abroad was filled with beautiful scenery, historical reverence, engagement with the local communities and culture, and other indescribable experiences. I am honored to be a part of a team that values quality education and true excellence from its teachers, staff, and students. China is filled with kind-hearted, helpful people and a stunning contrast between active city life and lush greenery. If you are fortunate enough to explore this amazing country, whether for personal curiosity or to teach overseas, I cannot recommend it enough!
Transition into China
I was most surprised by the transition into China. Through first-hand stories, I learned about the ways in which our BASIS International Schools HR staff works to make the transition to China more simplified for our teachers and staff. They shared with us about their continued onboarding efforts to make teachers and faculty feel as much “at home” as possible. From airport to apartment transportation, grocery shopping in advance, and assistance with setting up devices and internet to quickly be connected to family back home, our team works tirelessly behind the scenes to create a comforting experience. While a move to China is certainly not easy – and requires quite a few adjustments – the BASIS International Schools team is there to ease the transition. The language barrier, though present, was made accessible by the use of translation apps (and very patient local folks).
Each city had different climates, communities, and energies that allowed people with different lifestyles and aspirations to truly find a place to call home.
I found Wuhan to be a mix of city life and quiet life. With the city being so spread out and filled with greenery, it was easy to find opportunities for adventure and peace.
Shenzhen was the height of excitement! With tall buildings and beautiful shopping centers, there was clearly not a shortage of things to do.
Chengdu was reminiscent of a peaceful, rural lifestyle that many families seek. While not entirely removed from city life, folks tended to enjoy the slower pace of life in Chengdu while still having the option to enjoy a downtown atmosphere about 30 minutes away from campus.
Hangzhou was wonderful! It had a somewhat “small-town” feel while still offering plenty to do. With a bakery and coffee shop across the street from the school and the ease of public transportation, it was apparent why so many individuals enjoyed their lives there.
Nanjing was surprising! It had a small-town feel while being filled with pockets of historic sites and scenery.
All five cities I had the pleasure of visiting were unique in their own way while still offering a little something for everyone!
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