China tour the lesson of a lifetime for Woodford pupils

Woodford Primary School principal Daniel Watson with (from left) pupils Danielle Watson, Georgia Hand, Kiah Marino, Adam Crowe-Owen, Hollie Burgess, Francis Slattery (rear), Tori Parsons and Ashlee Kenna during their China tour.

Woodford Primary School principal Daniel Watson with (from left) pupils Danielle Watson, Georgia Hand, Kiah Marino, Adam Crowe-Owen, Hollie Burgess, Francis Slattery (rear), Tori Parsons and Ashlee Kenna during their China tour.

EIGHT Woodford Primary School pupils definitely have the travel bug after a 16-day trip to China this month.

The pupils, aged 10 to 12 years old, returned keen for more such experiences, declaring children are never too young to explore the world around them.

However, they did not come back as fans of authentic Chinese cuisine, preferring the milder versions cooked in Australia.

The eight pupils, who were accompanied by school principal Daniel Watson, were part of the inaugural exchange by Victorian primary schools to the eastern Chinese coastal province of Jiangsu.

Mr Watson said his group not only learnt much about China but gained maturity and independence on the demanding trip.

He said their days were very busy, with the pupils on the go from 6.30am to about 8.30pm.

They dealt with the confronting sight of animal carcasses on display at meat markets, bartering for purchases, dodging through hectic traffic and squat toilets.

Mr Watson said the eight pupils were great ambassadors for the exchange, that also involved more than 30 pupils from four Melbourne schools.

The visit was organised by the Jiangsu Education Services for International Exchange and the children spent 10 days at the Nanjing Jinling Primary School in Nanjing, learning Chinese culture and language from English-speaking teachers and also worked one-on-one with Chinese pupils.

Woodford’s Tori Parsons, 12, said she learnt more about Chinese culture than the language.

“You understand why people do things,” she said.

The pupils also spent six days visiting another Jiangsu economic centre, Suzhou, as well as nearby Shanghai, and saw the hectic pace of China’s development. 

Mr Watson said he expected the pupils would appreciate the trip more as they got older.

The principal said he hoped Woodford would one day be able to host pupils from Nanjing Jinling school.

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