Academy pupils look to the east

PUPILS from Douglas Academy, Milngavie, got a taste of the Orient when they travelled to China during the summer.

Sixty-three students, with 11 teachers and two learning and teaching Scotland Confucius Institute staff, travelled to Beijing in July to take part in a language and culture immersion programme at the city’s Foreign Studies University.

East Dunbartonshire was represented by sixth year Douglas Academy pupils Lesley Clark, Fiona Pollock and Alison Maclean and three pupils from St Ninian’s High School in Kirkintilloch.

The students enjoyed their daily Mandarin and cultural classes when they took part in a variety of activities such as role plays, sing-a-longs, calligraphy and Beijing opera mask painting to name but a few.

They also went on once-in-a-lifetime trips to places of cultural interest and great historic importance such as the Great Wall of China, The Temple of Heaven, The Summer Palace and Tiananmen Square.

In addition, they visited colourful market areas like Silk Market Street where they became quite adept at bartering with the stallholders and Wanfujing Street, where those who were brave enough sampled some of the exotic local delicacies on offer there.

The experience was further enriched by the fantastic opportunities which were provided for making meaningful contact with Chinese people.

Through visiting a high school in Tianjin they met young Chinese people and achievde some sense of Chinese school life.

They also built strong, long-lasting relationships with their Mandarin teacher, Lai, and their bubbly learning assistant, Daisy, at the university.

Everyone was extremely sad to say goodbye to Beijing and China and said it was a life changing experience.