Weekend Excursion to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City

July 1, 2014

When you hear Beijing, there are two places sure to come to mind: Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. For our first weekend in Beijing we decided to bring the students to these incredible sights as a great way to understand Chinese history and culture.

As the site of several important historical events, including protests during the May Fourth movement, the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China, and the student protests of 1989, Tiananmen Square is an important site for students to see in person. While there isn’t much to actually do in the square, being there and thinking about its history is quite a unique experience in and of itself (and a great place for group photos!).

Right next door to Tiananmen Square is the Forbidden City, which was the home of Chinese emperors for almost 500 years. To increase our efficiency, we split off by class to explore after entering. Students enjoyed walking through the huge complex and learned about some of its history from their teachers. Inside the Forbidden City, students got to see the Emporer’s residence, “office” and ceremonial spaces.

While it was a beautiful day, it was also quite hot out. To make sure students were as comfortable as possible, we left early in the morning rather than in the afternoon and provided plenty of water for each student. We made it back to the dorms to rest during the hottest time of the day.

-Timothy Liu, Director of Residential Life