After a year of studying Chinese language and culture, eight lucky Transition Year students from Nenagh College took the opportunity to travel to China to partake in a 15 day cultural exchange programme. Nenagh College worked closely with UCC Confucius Institute, Irish Institute of Chinese Studies (UCC) and Shanghai University to organise the programme. It provided the students with an opportunity for non-Chinese students in Irish second level schools to visit China and to learn its language and culture. The eight students travelling included, Sarah Slattery, Jeremy Kennedy, Jade Fahy, Colin Dillon, Tadhg Fogarty, Aisling Cummins, Emma Carey and Saoirse McGee. Accompanying them on their journey was their teacher Mr. David Cox.
There are 13 secondary schools, with 40 students from Ireland alone participating in the programme. The group departed from Cork airport on 12th June and embarked on a 15 day learning adventure in Shanghai. Students engaged in classroom activities focusing on Chinese language (Mandarin), Chinese writing (Calligraphy) and Chinese History. They were immersed in Chinese culture with classes in martial arts and sightseeing trips around Shanghai which included a river cruise on the famous Huangpu River. Shopping is always a key feature of any school trip abroad and Shanghai did not disappoint! Located a mere ten minute walk from accommodation in Shanghai University, was the renowned Daning International Commerce Plaza. This shopping plaza contains over forty restaurants and hundreds of shops to satisfy every need.
In order to prepare for this venture to China, Nenagh College Transition Year students for the past academic year have completed modules in both Chinese language and culture. Their hard work and dedication culminated in this once in a lifetime opportunity. The students also participated in the YCT test at the end of the programme. This Chinese Language Proficiency test was developed specifically for non-native speakers to improve their Chinese proficiency.
Located west of Shanghai lies the city of Suzhou. During their time in the city, they visited the Suzhou No. 1 Silk Factory. Built in 1926, this factory has been producing silk for almost one hundred years, Within the visitor centre, they saw the complete process of silk making which produced the ‘Choyers’ silk brand. This is one of the most famous high quality silk brands in China.
During their stay in Hangzhou, students took a one hour boat trip along the Hangzhou Grand Canal. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the longest man-made canal in the world. With certain sections of the canal dating back to the 5th Century B.C. the canal stretches from Beijing to Hangzhou almost 1,776 km long.
One of the most famous cultural heritage sites in Hangzhou is the Leifeng Pagoda. This five story octagon shaped tower was originally built in 975 AD. It collapsed in 1924, but was rebuilt again in 2002 where it has remained a popular tourist attraction.