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IVHQ Video Tour: China

Next on the IVHQ Video Tour we head deep into China to the city of Xi’an, located in the Shaanxi Province. Xi’an was China’s capital city for ten dynasties, making it a destination rich in history and culture. Here the volunteers live with a local family in the west of the city.

Let's hear from our video crew, George and Kate, as they report back from Xi'an...

Monday 11 March

On our first morning in Xi’an we visit a special needs center based in the historic part of the city. Two volunteers, both from Australia, have been working here with the children, who vary in age and disability. Today they are helping the children make greeting cards that will be sold to local businesses in order to fundraise for the organization.

Visiting the special needs placement in China

Next, we head to a kindergarten where 300 children from the local community attend daily. Here, an IVHQ volunteer from California is teaching English to the children, which today involves learning different shapes. The staff who work at this kindergarten support the volunteers right throughout the teaching process by helping with important translations to the children.

Visiting a childcare on the IVHQ video tour

For lunch, we head to the Xujiazhuang food market and try a range of local specialties. Later in the afternoon we visit another special needs placement, Jingjiniao, located very near to the volunteer house. This center uses music and art as a way to educate the children and today we watch the students play on the piano and drums. The center also teaches the children essential life skills, such as catching the bus and the volunteers often accompany them on such excursions.

Visiting a special needs placement on the IVHQ video tour

In the evening, we visit the volunteer house where the host mother is teaching them how to make dumplings, a specialty in Xi’an. Afterwards, we take a trip to the Wild Goose Pagoda, one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China. Here, we watch an amazing light show, which takes place every night over the water fountains.

Cooking dumplings with the IVHQ volunteers at the volunteer house

Tuesday 12 March

In the early morning, we take a scenic drive out to the Qin mountain range to visit an animal conservation project. Here we see a range of animals such as pandas, bears, vultures and deer. We arrive at feeding time so are lucky enough to see the rare pale panda up close, drinking his morning milk!

We then drive back to the city and visit the Muslim quarter, a neighborhood located within the city wall. As the name suggests, this is the centre of the Muslim community in Xi’an. We wander the narrow lanes tasting the delicious street food before heading into the bazaar. An extensive array of local products and souvenirs are on sale here, perfect as gifts for family back home.

Checking out the street food in China as an IVHQ volunteer

In the afternoon, we visit a local elementary school where a volunteer from the US has been working as an English teacher. He has been taking daily classes with children of all ages. Today, the students are learning how to tell the time in English.

Volunteer Teacher with IVHQ in China

In the evening, we go the famous Tang Dynasty show at the Tang Dynasty Palace. Beforehand, we eat dinner at the dumpling buffet, where we sample about 20 different kinds of dumplings! We then watch the show, which is an enchanting performance involving traditional Chinese music and dance.

Watching the Tang Dynasty show in China

Wednesday 13 March

Today, we drive to see the world famous Terracotta Warriors, based on the outskirts of Xi’an. Discovered in 1974 by a local farmer, these sculptures date back to the late third century BC. We spend the morning walking around the amazing excavation pits and also visit the museum.

Visiting the Terracotta Warriors in China

In the late afternoon, we hire bikes and ride around the city wall. The well-preserved wall stretches right around the ancient part of Xi’an and is a brilliant way to get excellent views of the city.

Biking on the City Wall in China

Tonight for our last dinner in Xi’an, we meet with the volunteers and head along to a hot pot restaurant near to the house. Hot pot involves cooking your own meal using ingredients such as meat, vegetables and tofu in a simmering metal pot of stock. 

To see more photos of volunteering in China, check out the IVHQ Video Tour: China album on the International Volunteer HQ Facebook page.

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