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Modern highways, historical sites in Jiangsu delight expat group | Updated: 2021-06-25 19:56
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A group of expats joined the "Go Jiangsu" trip to Suzhou and Changzhou, East China's Jiangsu province, on June 21 and 22. Focusing on the province's modern highways, the trip provided an opportunity to experience the cities' modern infrastructure and fascinating history.

Participants from eight countries, including Canada, Italy and Bolivia, took part in the event.

The group members started their journey with a tour of Yangchenghu Expressway Service Area in Suzhou — a facility which bears little resemblance to the average roadside services. It's been called "China's most beautiful expressway service area" and includes beautiful gardens, as well as a modern technology museum and an intangible cultural heritage exhibition hall. 

The cultural and creative products in the service area caught the attention of many expats in the group. Natalia Szpilarewicz, a Polish student from Nanjing University, was so keen to remember the visit that she bought a pair of pomegranate-shaped earrings as a souvenir.

In order to learn about the city's history, the group visited Suzhou Museum of Imperial Kiln Brick, which is the first museum in China to display "Imperial Kiln Bricks". Many chose to snap photographs on their phone, with some taking the opportunity to try writing their own calligraphy on the bricks.

The second day of the trip began at Fangmaoshan Dinosaur Theme Rest Area in Changzhou, which uses some of the latest technologies to provide visitors with an interactive experience.

"Wow it's so amazing," commented Ambra Schilliro, an Italian expat who said she'd never seen such an impressive service area.

The group also got to tour Qingguo Lane, a historical and cultural area home to residential communities typical of the canal that runs south of the Yangtze River.

A session was then held where a local craftsperson taught everyone how to make a traditional wooden comb, which is an intangible cultural heritage of Changzhou. It was an experience that most of them had never had before and helped them better understand Jiangsu's fascinating culture.

"It was amazing to witness a combination of ancient culture and modern lifestyles in the cities, and I really appreciated it," said Ambra, a PR and marketing expert working in Shanghai.

Many of the expats commented on the unique expressway rest area and the cities' ancient cultures during the two-day trip.

"I have learnt about Suzhou and Changzhou on our Chinese culture course. But on this trip I gained practical knowledge and enjoyed it so much. It was very impressive!" said Al Mahmud Suruj, a Bangladeshi student from Yangzhou University.

Gershon Rodor, a Ghanaian student from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics also shared his feelings: " awesome trip. It's refreshing to explore the beauty and intangible culture of Suzhou and Changzhou. Hope we can have a trip like this every week."

The "Go Jiangsu" series of trips are organized by China Daily and the Information Office of Jiangsu Provincial People's Government to promote the province to an international audience. A total of 14 events have been held since 2018.

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