Twelve Chinese students from Ren Da Fu Zhong High School, one of the top secondary schools in Beijing, will begin the first ever exchange visit programme between an Irish and a mainland Chinese school. They will spend a week in Belvedere College, Great Denmark St. Dublin 1, beginning Friday 1 February. Students from Belvedere have already been to the school in China twice in 2012, as part of the exchange programme.
The Chinese students, accompanied by two teachers, are arriving the evening of Thursday 31 Jan and staying 7 nights with their Belvedere student exchange partners.
Science teacher David O’Grady is co-ordinator of the exchange programme and speaks Mandarin himself. He says the students will take part in normal classes as well as balancing this with some tourist activities.
They will be hosted, alongside their Irish partners, by the Chinese Ambassador next Wednesday afternoon, before returning to Beijing on Thursday.
Belvedere College has been providing a course in Chinese Studies including Mandarin, for over five years and Transition year students are offered the opportunity of an exchange in China.
Last year, China’s Vice-President, Mr Xi Jinping visited Belvedere College whilst in Ireland. He was accompanied by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. The college was one of the first schools to be given ‘The Confucius Classroom Award,’ from the Confucius Institute in UCD.
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