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The Country which keeps on giving

It was not very many years ago that my knowledge of China extended no further than my regular order at the local Chinese restaurant. If there’s anything that I’ve learned since my immersion in the Chinese language and culture, it’s that it’s addictive. And no, that’s not just limited to the food.

It was at the age of 8 that I can first recall properly considering the value of China and the opportunities which lay within it. We were eating dinner as a family, and my Dad was excitedly reading through the enrolment documents of my new school.

“Chinese is a mandatory subject for all Year 5 and 6 students,” he proudly exclaimed.

Chinese? Mandatory? I chuckled.

But Dad just glared at me.

“It’s a very smart decision for the school to teach it to you at such a young age,” he said. He couldn’t have been more correct.

My first class in Year 5 signified the first stage of my lifelong journey of decoding this difficult language. So what kept me coming back? The country.

If you haven’t seen it, you’d be a fool not to book your trip tonight. Let me tempt you with some recounts of my own experiences.

Xavier on the Great Wall

Here’s me on the Great Wall with my younger sister in the middle of Winter during my first big trip overseas.

Then in the same spot, 8 years later.

Back on the Wall, eight years later

I’ve been fortunate enough to witness some incredible sights across the People’s Republic.

Mt. Everest.

Mount Everest seen from China.

Longsheng Rice Fields.

Longsheng terraced rice fields


Pandas hanging out

The view from the Bund looking out at Shanghai's Pudong skyline.

Pudong at night

What these pictures remind me is that the treasures of the East are all accessible on Australia’s doorstep at a relatively affordable price. They show me that putting up with the regimentation of routine in Australia is a mistake. They remind me of what it’s like to break free.

And I hope they show you the same.

China’s rise to becoming the world’s biggest economy is an unprecedented event which can only be witnessed in the now. Its growth is so intense that it becomes a different country every day. So regardless of how old you are, what your interests are or whether you know any Chinese, seeing this country is a must.

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