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The 2018 Tauranga Branch Student Exchange with China

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Tauranga Branch is focussed on consolidating and deepening friendship between the peoples of China and New Zealand especially through exchanges with youth through arts and culture. In April this year we funded an exchange for media and Māori students from Otumoetai College, a young journalist from Media Works and two teachers to visit The High School Attached to Nanchang University with a return visit in mind for July this year.

Over the years students returning from China invariably say, “ Going to China was a life changing experience” and they still seem to be saying that after five or so years: after the recent exchange one Otumoetai College student said to me “Everyone should surround themselves with friendly and open people. It’s imperative in a time of change and acceptance that we all make the effort to understand one another and treat each other with respect”. And this is the intent of our exchange programmes.

Before they went to China students had various preparatory tasks to undertake learning about Nanchang, its history and culture, organizing equipment and questions for their proposed documentaries and silent films.

But most significantly the Otumoetai students were developing friendships via email with students in China whose family would host them during their stay.

A major initiative of this trip was to incorporate the China experience into NCEA credits, with production of a full documentary a student will gain10 credits. Māori students would feature in a film with their various performances at schools and to other groups, they also would keep visual diaries during their time away.

And another universal agreement coming from returning students from China: The food is excitingly different.

The return visit to Tauranga by the HSANU students happened during the recent July school holidays when, for ten days they stayed with their epal’s Tauranga families and were involved with sailing on the harbour, climbing Mount Maunganui, visiting Hobbitton, hotpools and inclass days at OTC.

And then two days in Auckland (Shopping !!)

And now with the Chinese students departure the Otumoetai students back and involved in creating documentaries about the differences in family life NZ/Nanchang, cultural Differences and the Wanda theme parks in China and the challenge of Disney. They are creating a silent film “DISCOVERY” for entering in the international silent film competition based in Tauranga NZ, and making individual and small group presentations sharing their China experience to the likes of Rotary, U3A, Probis, Lions, local schools and retirement villages.

Exciting for NZCFS is that Otumoetai College are continuing the exchanges themselves without support from The Society, in 2015 we introduced Otumoetai College to The Middle School Attached to Nanchang University, the two parties established a MOU and now they carry on the relationship themselves: A Good outcome for NZCFS, a good outcome for the schools..

Fancy Extending Yourself with a Trip to Southern China?

Why not join us for an amazing cultural experience to our sister school in Nanchang, Southern China. We have 3 vacancies left to join us on this International Adventure in April 2019. We will travel to Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai and Hong Kong as well as Nanchang for a total of 19 nights away from New Zealand. We will experience schooling in China, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Olympic facilities, Disneyland, a Chinese factory, Terracotta Warriors, ancient Pagodas, attend Tai Chi classes, Tea ceremony, cooking lessons as well as travelling on a levitating and bullet trains. Sound like you? Email: lweaver@otc.school.nz for more details.

And a final word:

Hello, I just wanted to thank you so much for the amazing trip that you provided for us. On behalf of the whole group I can say that we loved it so much and it has left a lasting impact on our lives that we will never forget so Thank you to you and the New Zealand China friendship society for making It all happen. I enjoyed every moment of it and was able to make some great friends and experience a whole new way of life which I never could’ve imagined. The trip has taught me a great deal about life and how I need to live in a way that I can treat others better and also about how here in little New Zealand I need to take more things for granted. I look forward to being able to pass on the experience to my new friend, James when he comes to New Zealand in July as I believe it will leave a lasting Impact on his life too as well as his and my Family. Thank you so much. I hope that one day I too will be able to give another child the same kind of life changing experience that you have provided for me.