A Most Satisfying China Experience……PART 4!

They’re back!!!! Our wonderful students have arrived home from China! What an amazing experience! Six long, but enjoyable weeks taking in beautiful sights, experiencing delectable dishes and simply being immersed in a unique and wonderful culture. The students are very excited to be reunited with their loved ones, but there has been an element of sadness as well. As happy as they are with life returning to normal, there is a realisation that they have had an enormous privilege and an extraordinary experience in their young lives. A number of students have stated that this journey has changed their lives…..and in such a positive way.

Twelve students, accompanied by their teachers, touring magnificent sights, living in generous host families’ homes, attending foreign schools, learning, observing and experiencing another way of life. It is true to say that these Year 9 students have lived together harmoniously for the last six weeks and undoubtedly forged a very close friendship. They have shared many lovely moments, sometimes caught up in interesting situations, but always with a happy outcome. Such is the adventure and challenges of such a journey.

Parents, teachers, families and friends have been kept informed through the accessibility of the Social Media site, ‘We Chat’. The students and teachers have accessed this throughout the trip, posting photos and reporting events and happenings as they experience them. There was constant communication, not just on a daily basis, but even hourly…..a constant connection between those travelling and those at home eagerly following the unfolding adventures. My report this week will be snippets of ‘We Chat’ over the last few weeks, just to give everyone an insight into the chatter that has been consistent.

‘The last 48 hours have been hectic and full of emotion. The students had a great weekend in homestay and then they had to say goodbye once again to their homestay buddies and families…..this is always a sad moment.  We then encountered the rush to the railway station for our long overnight sleeper transfer to Beijing.  What was going to be a long and enduring journey become another common opportunity to make new friends…38 German kids quickly become our newest pals.  As has become the trend, our students were again a hit. Today after a difficult night’s sleep we visited the summer palace, a yummy lunch where every plate was cleared… a rare occurrence and then we spent the afternoon strolling around the Olympic Bird’s Nest area.  We are now enjoying some downtime before heading out for some dumplings. General disappointment about missing Spring Fair but some managed to catch much of the action on Facetime …l guess this is the power of the connected world. ‘(Dale)

‘This morning, my homestay Judie and her father took me to a beautiful part of Suzhou, where we visited the largest lake in Suzhou known as Taihu Lake. We then went to the Western Hill, where we visited Linwu Cave, and climbed a large hill that gave us an amazing view! For lunch, we went to a common restaurant that most people visit after climbing the mountain.’ (Kyra)

‘After school today I went out to dinner with my home stay and 10 of her relatives. We had such a good time although we couldn’t fully understand what the other person was saying, we laughed so much anyway. Then we went to my home stay’s  aunty’s  restaurant. We went into the kitchen and of China that we would never see without the home stays. I’m going to be so sad to say good bye. ‘ (Brydie)

‘After having our delicious and nutritious lunch at the school canteen, we headed off to Lion Forest Garden (a garden full of rocks that look like lions) and a silk factory to learn more about silk worms’ lives, silk production process and silk products. It was another day that our students were busy with learning and walking. They all looked very tired at the end of the day. Sleep well everyone’ :) (Lucy)

‘Yey!  I love the freedom and creativity! It’s great! I just love everyone’s paintings — inspiring to hang out with such creative kids (Ant) Awesome, but tiring day today. I had Physics, PE, Literature and Economics, all of which were taught in English. I learnt quite a bit! The Lit teacher reminded me of an English teacher back home! Lunch was yummy and after that we had three hours to do our own work, nearly finished all my English work!’ (Jelena)

‘The punishment for being late 15 minutes Dale, is to buy everyone lunch, but since you already do that, you have to do the punishment for 5 and 10 minutes late which is sing a song and buy us double ice-creams. ‘(Della)

‘I can’t believe we have only been back in Australia for 2 days and I already feel like we have been back for ages! I just want to say a massive Thankyou to Dale, Lucy, Liria, Anthony and Jenny for looking after all us students while we were in China! And to everyone who made this trip possible! It has been such an amazing experience (and I think I can speak on behalf of all of us when I say this) and it has helped us improve our language and understanding of the Chinese culture. So again, thank you so much to all the teachers, parents and students who went. It really was a life changing experience.’ (Kianna)

‘So happy I came. It has been an amazing experience that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I knew I would regret not coming. I find it so strange to be back home. My surroundings are all familiar but so weird. It’s a whole a new world that I have just been shoved back into.’ (Ruben)

Our homeward bound travellers are still smiling! We look forward to reading their happy recollections and anecdotes!! 

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