Rushcliffe Academy student exchange

Students from Rushcliffe Academy said a heartfelt goodbye to their Chinese visitors last week, after spending an enjoyable week of activities with their fellow students.

The Nottingham secondary school had been hosting 26 Chinese students and two teachers, who were from a variety of high schools across Ningbo, China, since Sunday 19th January. The visit was part of an immersive student exchange experience with True Education Partnerships, allowing Ningbo students to see first-hand what life in a UK school is like, and enabling Rushcliffe students to spend time with their Chinese peers.

On arrival, Ningbo students were greeted by their hosts with a Welcome Ceremony to mark the relationship between the two schools. This was followed by a tour of Rushcliffe Academy and the students were partnered up via the “buddy system” to aid in making friendships and helping the visitors feel more at home.

Students from Ningbo were invited to take part in various timetabled lessons with their hosts including Maths, Science, English, Music, Spanish and P.E. After school, the students engaged in extra-curricular activities such as Mandarin lessons and a cultural workshop, and embarked on group outings including a tour of Nottingham city centre, where they got to see the famous Nottingham Castle and the statue of Robin Hood. Students also bonded over a game of bowling at Nottingham’s Clifton Boulevard and a trip to Intu shopping mall.

Ningbo’s students were able to enjoy an authentic homestay experience at some of the homes of their hosts. This allowed them to gain insight into the UK students’ home life as well as school life. Lunches were typically served at school, with a mix of both Chinese and English dishes such as curry and rice and a traditional roast dinner with Yorkshire pudding! Dinners were served either at home or during group outings.

Benefits of hosting Chinese students

Hosting Chinese students at their school has been a fantastic way for Rushcliffe Academy to gain insight into another culture and learn valuable social and cultural skills. Many Chinese students find that being ‘buddied’ with a UK student aids their English language skills and gives them a first-hand insight into life at a UK school; meanwhile UK students learn empathy, cultural awareness, responsibility and respect.

Welcoming students from another country also allowed Rushcliffe students to be proud ambassadors for their school and learn more about their own culture. During the hosting experience, the students enjoyed showing their Chinese peers around local landmarks and helping them to feel at home during both lessons and downtime.

Students from Rushcliffe are looking forward to embarking on a school trip to China in Spring 2021.

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