Amazing opportunity for lucky Colne students

GREAT WALL: Park High School students on their Chinese Exchange Programme trip (S)
GREAT WALL: Park High School students on their Chinese Exchange Programme trip (S)

Lucky students have been given an opportunity of a lifetime - touring some of China’s most famous sites and getting a taste of the country’s culture.

The group of Park High School students began their Chinese Exchange Programme trip in Beijing, with visits to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. They went to Mutianyu, where they walked along the Great Wall of China - an experience they deemed to be a highlight of their visit.

In Fuzhou, they met their exchange partners at No. 19 Middle School and spent the rest of the weekend with their partners’ families, immersing themselves in the Chinese culture and way of life. The students then started the school week, first meeting the headteacher, then attending lessons, and lunching with the Chinese students.

They were shocked to learn that the school day starts at 7-30am and finishes at 4-40pm, and spent time teaching English lessons.

Later, at Wenbo Private School, where the class sizes were much smaller at only 12 students, the Park students were put under even more pressure as their teaching was observed by 32 teachers.

At Wenquan Primary School, the students were treated to a “bath robe dance” performed by the young primary school pupils, who had also made traditional Chinese items for their visitors, including fans and Chinese tea.

With trips to a tea plantation, an art exhibition in a local park, a cruise along the River Min, the Fujian museum, and a trek up Tanshi Mountain, the Park High students certainly had an unforgettable experience.

Year 10 student Fintan McDonnell (15) said: “I particularly enjoyed staying with Hu, my exchange student, and learning about his lifestyle. He’d visited Colne earlier in the year so we talked about that – he liked Colne and our accent.”

The final evening was spent at No. 19 school, where the students helped make a dinner of dumplings and won tons, and then performed a drama sketch on how they felt before their trip to China and what the experience had taught them. They read speeches about their future plans, and then finally performed a full rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” which had become the anthem song for the trip.