Barton students head east for a unique insight into China

Students and staff from Barton Peveril got a unique insight into life and culture in China on a two week trip to Xiamen and Shanghai.

The visit, arranged with the Confucius Institute of the University of Southampton and subsidised by China’s Department for Education, combined intensive language learning with a varied range of activities including Peking Opera mask making, martial arts and dumpling making.

“China is a world-leading country and many of our students may well work there in future,” explains organiser Dr Alan Glaze. “This was our opportunity to find out more about China beyond the stereotypes.”

The 19 students and three staff from across the College found Chinese people welcoming and friendly and they soon found themselves in demand for selfies with enthusiastic local teenagers. The visit was split between the lively university city of Xiamen and the historic port of Shanghai, where sightseeing included trips to the Bund at the harbour and the former French concession.

Student Alison Romaine (formerly of Henry Cort Community College) was delighted she learned enough Mandarin to talk with Chinese people: “We were exposed to this economically growing nation through the eyes of locals; the cultural activities from Kung Fu to Chinese painting were just as authentic as our outside visits to places like Nanputuo Temple or the 40 degree Celsius, lush humidity of the botanical gardens – scored by the hum of Buddhist monks.”

Bethany Holford (formerly of Thornden School) adds: “I really enjoyed learning the language and experiencing the Chinese culture. I especially pleased to conquer my fear of heights at the top of Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower.”

“Our students enjoyed the visit and learned a great deal. I hope it will inspire them to develop their interests further,” adds Dr Glaze.