LEARNING how to use chopsticks adeptly is just the one of the countless experiences a group of eight Woodford Primary pupils will bring back from a 16-day trip to China.
The eight grade 5 and 6 pupils, aged from 11-12, fly out tomorrow to the eastern Chinese coastal province of Jiangsu as part of a cultural exchange that also involves more than 30 pupils from four Melbourne schools.
The eight Woodford pupils, who will be accompanied by the school’s principal Daniel Watson, will spend 10 days in classes in the provincial capital, Nanjing, at the Nanjing Jinling Primary School.
They will also spend six days visiting another Jiangsu economic centre, Suzhou, as well as nearby Shanghai.
The cultural exchange has been organised by the Jiangsu Education Services for International Exchange (JESIE) and builds upon its partnership with the Victorian Principals Association and the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
The Woodford pupils have learnt the Mandarin language for the past three years as part their school’s Chinese studies and have rehearsed a cultural performance they will present in Mandarin at their host school.
They have also made a head-start on their chopsticks skills and knowledge of the Chinese attractions they will visit.
Each pupil has studied one of the Chinese cultural places on their itinerary and will share that knowledge with the entire group.
Mr Watson said the visit was an amazing opportunity for the children, who had only to meet the cost of air fares.
For most of their visit they will stay at the school’s boarding facilities, but would be billeted for a weekend with the family of a “school buddy”.
The visit was the first of its type by Woodford but it was hoped to hold more in future, perhaps to Warrnambool’s Chinese sister city of ChangChun, Mr Watson said.