China Visit 2016

Jack Hunt have been working in partnership with the Gold Apple School in Shanghai for the last 8 years and have run student exchange visits for 6 years now.  Over the years the network has expanded and we now also work with 7 other schools in Shanghai in projects through PiXL International and the British Council Connecting Classrooms programme

This year fifteen Year 8 and 9 students made the long journey on Monday 11 April from Peterborough to Shanghai.  After a sleepless 10-hour flight the students and staff arrived in Shanghai to heavy rain but there was no time to rest and after lunch they headed out for a tour of Tian Ze Fang  – a very old and historic part of the city.  Later on, after the welcome ceremony which included some impressive Irish tap dancing, they enjoyed a meal with staff and students of the Golden Apple School.  This was just the start of an action packed 10 days.

 Throughout the trip there was a real focus on sharing knowledge and cultures and learning from each other.  On day two the students from both the UK and China took park in an activity called  ‘Culture in a box’ where they worked together to identify things that are typically part of English or Chinese Culture, as student Alfie Eager said “This was really interesting because we realised that there weren’t the stereotypes we thought before we visited China for ourselves”.  This was a great icebreaker for the students as there was going to be lots of collaboration needed to plan and organise the student led activities both at Gold Apple and other Shanghai Schools in the coming days, including the Annual Sports Festival. 

The trip included a fantastic day in Shanghai visiting the Science and Technology Museum and the Oriental Pearl Tower, highlight of the trip for Year 8 student Jamie Scimeca who said “The Pearl Tower was my favourite part, it was so high that you could look down on the whole of Shanghai through the glass floor.”  The day finished with a fantastic meal and night river cruise down the Hang Pu River to see the lights of Shanghai.

Another highlight for student Dawood Hussain was the visit to the ERA circus in Shanghai “The circus was completely different to others I have been to there were lots of acrobatics and skilled acts which were amazing.”

 For many of the students, the homestay was their favourite part as they got to experience real Chinese life and the freedom of being in their students’ homes.  Alfie Eager in particular told us he learnt a lot about business and Chinese food including many of their specialities when he stayed with his family who owned two Chinese restaurants, where he also learnt how to make tea properly – the Chinese way.

Mr Smith, Trip Leader commented “Yet another amazing experience for the students of Jack Hunt School. Spending 10 full days immersing themselves fully into the Chinese way of life, developing an understanding of the Chinese culture. All the students were outstanding role models and ambassadors for the school. Some highlights were – Teaching ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ to 90 children from the Puguang Migrant worker school. The Shanghai ERA Circus act and taking part in various lessons within the international department at the Gold Apple School. The students developed amazing friendships with many of the Chinese students and memories that they will cherish for life! We’re all looking forward to them coming over to the UK at the end of June.”

Overall all the students agreed that it was a fantastic trip, for most the best trip they had ever been on for a number of reasons including the fact that they were staying away but mainly because they got so much out of it.  They all agreed that the trip had improved their confidence and leadership skills especially talking to large groups of people as Alfie put it. ”If we can speak to over 100 people who don’t speak English then we will be more comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people who do.”  Jamie Scimeca also said “teaching the primary school children to play different games such as dodgeball and bulldog was a lot of fun and they got a lot out of the experience.

Visit this year’s China Exchange 2016 blog to see the photos and read out more about their action packed trip, from the cultural visits to the activities they organised and the people they met along they way.