China Trip – Part One

A Most Satisfying China Trip Experience….. (Part One)

I have just returned from the Collingwood College China Trip that is taking place at the moment with the twelve year 9 students that elected to be a part of this program. I am almost unable to convey to the school community the success, positive experience and enjoyment that this overseas trip has provided for the students involved.

What a fantastic time our students are having!  The enthusiasm with which our students have immersed themselves into this cultural experience has certainly impressed parents, teachers and overseas participants involved in this program. The sightseeing has been inspiring, the food eagerly devoured and language practised continuously. This group of twelve students have been wonderful ambassadors, not just for Collingwood College, but as this has been an Educational Department Pilot Program, for the state of Victoria.

Yes there have been moments where patience has been tested and minor difficulties to overcome, but the attitude and behaviour of the students has been exemplary and of the best possible standard. I accompanied them as a teacher/Guardian, but found myself delighting in their company and sharing their enthusiastic response to the wonders that China has to offer.

Some of the amazing sights have included the gorgeous pandas at the Panda Park in Chengdu, the unbelievable History of the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, the thought provoking War Museum in Nan Jing, the Chinese Circus in Shanghai, The Three Kingdoms in Wuxi, the beautiful temples everywhere, as well as the auspicious sky scrapers and architecture of bustling cities. If there is a sense of overwhelming wonder underlining my recollections from this trip, then I will confess that, like the students, I have come back totally ‘blown away’ by what I have experienced and very grateful that I was given the opportunity to be a part of this adventure.

Our students have participated in school life in China. After our initial touring we then embarked on the academic aspect of this program. We attended a fantastic school in Kunshan which has a strong International section and thus began the ‘Homestay’ aspect of this trip. Our students were paired up with buddies that they would spend almost two weeks with (Changing to new families half way). As nervous as both sides were, it was really very successful as everyone had a sense of excitement to be really experiencing the Chinese Culture first hand.

I cannot emphasis enough how wonderful this placement has been. Everyone on all sides have really made it work. Students (both local and international), parents and teachers have embraced this placement with enthusiasm, positivity and joy. Our students were made to feel welcome everywhere! From visiting classrooms, to lunching in the three storey dining room to extra- curricular events and home life….all has been well planned and certainly not only catering to our students’ needs, but also with the intention of giving them an unforgettable experience.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lijuan, who with the help of her friend, Ms Young and school contact Ms Lin, provided this great opportunity with such a progressive and beautiful school. Collingwood College has been so lucky to be the first overseas school that Kunshan International School has now developed a relationship with. Thank you also to Dale for having the foresight to embrace the opportunity that this Pilot Program has provided us. Upon their return you will see how amazing this experience has been for the students.

There is so much to share, but there is time over the next few weeks so in this report I will finish off with a snap shot of great moments the students experienced.

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The students on this trip are the following Year 9 students:

Declan Crowley. Titian Tonkin, Ruben Cameron, Kianna Blundston, Oscar Terry Young, Kyra Miller, Jelena Viskic, Nina Scott, Emily O’Brien, Della Hodgkins, Brydie Twigg-Edwards and Solar Willison-Allen.

This is Liria Stratus signing off for this week. I look forward to sharing more information next week.

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