As another year comes to its end,
it’s again time to write a summary
of all the wonderful things this year has encompassed.
2019 has been an extremely busy year
as we continued on our mission to promote sustainable cultural tourism
and immersive education programs.
In the spring we led various groups of international friends through Xizhou,
exploring the morning market, understanding local architecture and history,
preparing their own delicacies in our cooking school, and listening to regional Dong Jing music.
It is through these avenues that we hope to leave our guests with a deeper impression of China
that is not confined to what they see in the urban metropolises of Beijing and Shanghai,
but one that is also based on the passion and magic found in rural China.
This year in addition to the continuation of European and North American guests,
we also tapped into the Japanese market and welcomed a special international tour group,
creating a custom 4 day, 5 night “Rural Life Experience in Southwest China.”
Custom tourism experiences has always been one of our specialties at the Linden Centre,
and this year we feel that we’ve only gotten better at our craft with new tours
such as those focused on delicious food and local delicacies.
In addition to the continuation of our collaboration with
“Anthropologist in the Kitchen” Zhuang Tzu-i,
we also led the meticulously planned “Dalifornia Food Tour”,
visiting a variety of local food entrepreneurs in Dali.
Everyone participating in this trip agreed that “good food is the best form of diplomacy.”
We truly hope that through travel, through stepping into a new place and interacting with locals,
we can help more people gain a deeper understanding of the vibrant and inclusive China
we have come to know.
If travel can strengthen one’s understanding of a different culture,
then imagine just how much immersive educational experiences can change
the perspectives children have towards the world and themselves.
Throughout the four seasons in 2019,
many explorations were made in our various themed camps.
This time last year, teachers and students of our Winter Nature Camp’s first session
were perched under the stars of the Gaoligong Mountain,
warming themselves with the heat of a campfire
and sharing their new year’s resolutions with one another.
A month later, the students from our second session Winter Nature Camp
had already filled their nature journals to the brim
and were on their way home to share them with their loved ones.
During the height of a busy summer,
two architects led 7 students to complete a “land-based art” camp in Xizhou.
At the same time, American writer Barry Kitterman led students through the different fields in town
to delve inspiration and create works of creative writing in a separate program.
The students’ artistic construction
Students gaining inspiration in Xizhou’s fields
Of the many impressive students who participated in our 5th session Film Camp this year,
one student’s short film Go Their Own Way
was entered into the 22nd “Olympia International Youth and Children Film Festival” in Greece.
Our 48-hour film workshop with artist-in-residence Joan Grossman went smoothly
and saw the excited engagement of all students (local + international).
Shortly after the workshop, we received news that Ms. Grossman’s film LILLIAN
had been selected to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival!
Following its screening, we are looking forward to the opening of our second 48-hour film workshop,
again with Joan.
In addition to our themed camps,
we are also continuously updating our partnership programs.
Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business again came to Dali,
researching and investigating the small companies that the previous year’s students had consulted,
as well as studying Xizhou’s complex rural development.
In the main hall of the Linden Commons
we again heard the students of San Francisco’s Presidio Knolls Elementary School
using Mandarin to tell stories of the lives of elders in the local community.
Shanghai American School has been a partner of the Linden Centre for over 7 years now,
this year rolling out a brand new program in Xizhou, Microcampus 5.
In comparison with the long-running original microcampus program,
the main difference of this version is the age of students and the fact that parents are also involved in the trip.
After the successful completion of the first year of Microcampus 5,
both students and parents involved all expressed the utmost satisfaction with the program.
That’s enough of travel and education, let’s now look to this year’s cultural highlights.
During 2019 we collectively hosted 12 lectures based on
cuisine, film, tourism, martial arts, literature, childhood education, and sustainable development.
At the end of the year we collaborated with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing
to host a photo exhibition in our courtyards.
The “Looking Forward Looking Back” exhibition
highlighted the 40th anniversary of the establishment of official relations between the U.S. and China,
and was an event that brought warm memories to the end of a bumpy year.
In 2019 our 3 year-long project in Shaxi came into full form,
one can see the blocks of modern rammed earth structures staggering out of the forest,
chimney smoke from the nearby villages curling upwards into the fresh mountain air,
with the nearby grottoes relaying the history of the 1300 year old Nanzhao Kingdom.
Faraway on the banks of Taihu Lake lies Dongshan Mountain,
where we are currently preparing the debut of the Linden Centre in the Jiangnan region.
Deep in the heart of Dongshan lies a magnificent late Qing-era historical site,
of which we are rejuvenating with its usage as the location for our new project.
Going into 2020
we’re looking forward to working with more friends,
continuing to explore cultural tourism and immersive education,
improving our content and experiences,
and widening the breadth of top-tier international schools we collaborate with.
At the same time, we plan to bring all of these elements with us to our new projects in the New Year!
During the modern, unpredictable era that is upon us,
we hope to be a symbol of connection and mutual understanding.
Our team at the Linden Centre is looking forward to walking even further on this path
with more friends and more locations in the coming year.