South West College Dungannon students were among 20 from a handful of NI schools that have just returned from the trip of a lifetime to China.
Organised through SWC’s links with the Confucius Project, the two-week trip saw the students take in famous Chinese sites such as The Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and even The Forbidden city.
Between five flights, three trains, one of which was the bullet train that travels at 300kph, and numerous coach journeys to four different cities, the youngsters learned about Chinese culture and about lifestyle there.
Their packed, 12-day itinerary also included the Opening Ceremony at Hubei Normal University, Chinese Cooking and Chinese Language Classes, a visit to Three Gorges Dam, Tuanchengshan Park and a cruise on the Yangtze River as well as a walk around Olympic Park.
Speaking after the trip, SWC’s Confucius Project officer Linda Beatty, said: “The Study China Visit was amazing.
“All students thoroughly enjoyed the experience and agreed that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Participants felt that, as a result of the trip, that they have a better understanding of Chinese language, culture and history.”
Ms Beatty was joined on the journey by Liam Curran, SWC Head of Higher Education and Emma Coulter, from Bangor Academy.
The Study China Programme 2017 is jointly sponsored by Hanban/Confucius Headquarters and the Department for Education in Northern Ireland.
Other schools that were involved included Loreto Grammar School Omagh, Enniskillen Royal Grammar School, Bangor Academy and Lagan College. The 20 students, who were aged from 14-18, came home adept in the use of chopsticks.
They also learned to communicate confidently using simple phrases, and put their new skills to good use bargaining for souvenirs.