Canning Town students experience Far East magic on school trip

Among the activities the students enjoyed was a king fu show Picture: Ben Moss

Among the activities the students enjoyed was a king fu show Picture: Ben Moss - Credit: Archant

For most of us, school trips usually involve long coach trips culminanting in a visit to somewhere like Margate, marred, more often than not, by rain.

Pictured during the trip are Hazel Jasper, Fred Gay, Ben Moss, Amy Bright, Chloe White and JJ Banko

Pictured during the trip are Hazel Jasper, Fred Gay, Ben Moss, Amy Bright, Chloe White and JJ Bankole Picture: Ben Moss - Credit: Archant

Very few get to scale the Great Wall of China, enter The Forbidden City or see beluga whales. Although it is difficult to tell if it rained in China from these photos, this group of students are unlikley to forget about their travels to the Far East.

The five youngsters from Eastlea Community School in Canning Town school set off to experience the trip of a lifetime when they embarked on a voyage to China with their teacher Ben Moss in July.

Some of the highlights of the trip included visiting The Forbidden City where the Emperors used to reside, the Great Wall of China and seeing a kung fu show, pandas, Siberian tigers, polar bears and beluga whales!

All five had been taking part in after school Mandarin classes at Eastlea Community School for at least a year before the opportunity arose to take part in the 2014 Chinese Bridge, a cultural and language learning summer school trip organised by the Institute of Education in England and The Confucius Institute Hanban in China.

Ben Moss said: “The students visited Beijing, the capital of China, before flying to Harbin in the North East (Heilongjiang province) for a variety of cultural activities and 20 hours of Mandarin lessons. This culminated in sitting the YCT international standard Chinese language test, which all passed with flying colours. On top of this fine achievement, Eastlea School won the ‘Best School’ award from the Heilongjiang province for their hard working, cohesive and friendly attitude.

“The Great Wall was much steeper than any of us expected as it ran along the ridgeline of the mountains. Getting up to the sixth tower in 40 degree heat was a great challenge considering it was over 4000 steps, but the view was astonishing, as was the sense of achievement.

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Another great surprise was the sheer enormity of The Forbidden City and it’s supposed 9,999 and a half rooms which spans 730,000 square meters!”

Jay-Jay Bankole, one of the lucky students, said: “Visiting China has made me realise that I really want to explore the world more as this has opened my eyes to the beauty of discovering different cultures.”

Talking about their teacher in the University of Heilongjiang, student Amy Bright said: “Dong Laoshí was an amazing teacher who inspired me to carry on learning Mandarin and felt more like a friend than a teacher, so when we had to leave her it was incredibly sad for all of us.”

Hazel Jasper, another student, said: “We all felt privileged being able to explore and experience a new and totally different culture because it’s not every day we get to experience things like this and being so warmly welcomed.”

The students were so blown away by the friendliness and generosity of the Chinese organisers, teachers and volunteers that even after two weeks away from home, they were heartbroken to have to leave China and the newfound friends that they had made.