Melbourn and Comberton schools host exchange students from China
- Credit: Stuart Collins
More than 20 12-year-olds from China are on the adventure of a lifetime in Cambridgeshire after leaving their homeland for three months in England.
The 22 youngsters are spending the bulk of their trip at either Melbourn or Comberton Village College, which are both part of The Cam Academy Trust.
The students from Suzhou Foreign Language School have been buddied with a Year 7 or 8 student at one of the South Cambs secondaries and are joining them in lessons, making friends and experiencing the British education system and culture.
Already at Melbourn they have joined Year 7 on a local history trip to the village church, as well as being fully immersed in the curriculum – which includes their native Mandarin – at the only secondary school in the county to teach the language as part of the curriculum.
The dozen students based at Comberton are also planning a cultural presentation to the whole of Year 7 after half term.
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They will spend a total of two months in the village colleges while living with host families in St Neots, with the other month taken up by a fortnight in Norwich before coming back to Cambridgeshire, then spending half-term in Yorkshire and a final week in London.
The Cam Academy Trust’s director of international education, Rachel Hawkes, said: “Having Chinese students in school with us at Melbourn and Comberton is an incredibly valuable experience.
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“In addition to specific cultural presentations they share with us, their day-to-day presence in lessons is a direct lived experience of Chinese culture for our students.
“The Melbourn students, all of whom are already learning Mandarin, also have the opportunity to try out their new language on their Chinese friends, while Comberton students are gaining insights that will serve them in good stead when they, together with Melbourn students, have the opportunity to take part in an exchange with the trust’s new partner school in Beijing.”