Parallel to the highly successful annual university study tour, the Confucius Institute at UNSW Sydney and Shanghai Jiaotong University also held the first “Discover China” High School Tour from the 1st to the 14th of July. The program allowed for 30 students from 8 different high schools in the Sydney metropolitan area to experience university life and attend unique lectures to boost their knowledge of the Chinese language and culture. Along with 3 local high school teachers, the group also went on several excursions to Hangzhou and Jinghai Wetland Park to further immerse themselves and understand modern China.
In addition to Chinese language classes, the students also had lectures on the Chinese economy, Chinese medicine and sustainability. The students commented that they were quite surprised by the rapid development of China’s shared economy and also discussed the possibility of using Alipay or WeChat payment options in Australia in the future. Another aspect that stood out to the students was how the Shanghai government has heavily invested in the development of urban forests. They were also able to visit the urban forests and see first-hand how these steps for future sustanibility have been taken.
The lecture on Beijing Opera was one of the highlights of the trip, with the students enthusiastically singing and dressing up in traditional Beijing Opera clothing. They learnt how to write their names in Chinese Calligraphy class and also painted various natural landscapes in Chinese Painting class. Another highlight was the round-table meeting with the Russian students who were on a similar program. The round-table meeting was a great chance for the students to share what they learnt and their experiences from the 2 weeks.
The Discover China study tour for high school students was an unique experience for many and it was well recieved by students, parents and teachers. The Confucius Institute at UNSW Sydney will continue to strive to create an even better program for 2019.