Twenty-two Principals from the Chinese Province of Chengdu and Sichuan, visited Belvedere College on Friday 28 September. They observed lessons in a variety of subjects and enjoyed meeting and socialising with students of Mandarin in the designated Confucius Classroom.
The visit was part of the Principals Professional Development Programme in the college and the Chinese visitors first met with the Headmaster, Mr. Gerry Foley and Mr. David O‘Grady who is co-ordinator of Chinese Studies in Belvedere. David is a teacher of Physics and Science and is also fluent in Chinese.Belvedere has a vibrant Chinese Studies programme which includes Chinese Culture & Language in Transition Year as well as mandarin in 1st, 2nd and 3rd Year. There is also an exchange with a school in Beijing which includes working in a local orphanage there.
In the plenary session the visitors commented very favourably on the active learning and work ethic of the students.
They expressed great interest in the visit of the Chinese Vice-Premier, Mr. Xi Jinping who visited the College to see Riverdance in the O’Reilly Theatre. They also commented favourably on how leadership was being developed in the student body.
They were very interested in the faith and social justice programme, though their focus was primarily on citizenship. Unfortunately there was insufficient time to explore the differences and similarities between our schools in terms of spirituality and faith.
Commenting on the success of this unique visit, Gerry Foley said, "Hopefully we will develop this link with the Chinese Leadership Programme that helps students develop a better understanding of China, its people and Chinese Culture. The Jesuit Mission to China dates back to Matteo Ricci S.J. and its wonderful to have students from Belvedere, as a Jesuit College, following in his footsteps to mainland China".