Imagine traveling back in time 1,500 years. Three Southlake Carroll students, Peter Mountford, Anna Ponzo and Ty Ponzo, got an experience of a lifetime over Spring Break when they traveled with Southlake Sister Cities to Suzhou Wuzhong, China.
Suzhou, one of Southlake’s Sister Cities, was founded in China in 514 BC and is known as the Venice of the East with its gardens, canals and area water towns. In partnership with the Jiangsu Foreign Language School, the students were paired with host families and treated to school days in China. Daily activities included classes in calligraphy, painting, traditional Chinese music and dance, and more. The host school arranged for daily cultural trips to discover some beauty of the ancient world.
Students spent one day in Luzhi, an elegant water town constructed 1,500 years ago, located near Suzhou and surrounded by five lakes. It holds 41 quaint ancient bridges, built in the Song (960–1279), Yuan (1271–1368), Ming, and Qing dynasties. So Luzhi is known as the “Museum of Chinesebridges”.
Additional highlights of the trip included a stroll down Pingjiang Road, a preserved 800-year old water lane in Suzhou, the Humble Administrator’s Garden, the Suzhou Museum and a 2-day tour of Shanghai. Students were educated in the more recent history of Shanghai and the influence World War II had on the area. Jeff and Catherine Wang, of Southlake Sister Cities, led the excursion and Southlake’s City Librarian, Cynthia Pfledderer, served as a chaperone.
The Southlake Sister Cities program partners with the City of Southlake to offer exchange trips for both students and adults between Sister Cities Tome, Japan and Suzhou Wuzhong, China. For more information about Sister Cities and the exchange programs, please visit: southlakesistercities.org.