Stu­dents em­bark on China ad­ven­ture

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY RACHEAL WILLETT

Thir­teen ex­cited year nine stu­dents from Yar­ra­wonga Col­lege P-12 are busy fill­ing in pass­port forms and or­gan­is­ing lug­gage ready for a six week ad­ven­ture to China.

The ea­ger stu­dents were for­tu­nate to be cho­sen for the China trip as part of the Vic­to­rian Young Lead­ers to China pro­gram fa­cil­i­tated by the School for Stu­dent Lead­er­ship.

Yar­ra­wonga Col­lege 9-12 Cam­pus Prin­ci­pal Jo McCarthy said the China visit was an ex­tra­or­di­nary op­por­tu­nity for the young stu­dents.

“We’ve had a great re­la­tion­ship with the School for Stu­dent Lead­er­ship for around 14 years, send­ing a group of kids ev­ery year to one of their cam­puses,” she said.

“In re­cent years there has been an op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents to par­tic­i­pate in the China trip through our in­volve­ment with School for Stu­dent Lead­er­ship and we are lucky enough to have this be our third group of stu­dents cho­sen to go to China.”

School for Stu­dent Lead­er­ship is a term­long pro­gram hosted across three cam­puses in re­mote ar­eas near Din­ner Plain, Marlo and War­rnam­bool. Stu­dents live on-site for the en­tire term par­tic­i­pat­ing in a va­ri­ety of lead­er­ship ac­tiv­i­ties, phys­i­cal chal­lenges and self­dis­cov­ery ex­pe­ri­ences.

The Vic­to­rian Young Lead­ers to China pro­gram was funded by the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment sev­eral years ago to build re­la­tion­ships be­tween the young lead­ers of to­mor­row from Vic­to­ria and China.

The im­mer­sion ex­pe­ri­ence al­lows the stu­dents to ex­pe­ri­ence mod­ern and old world China through an ex­tra­or­di­nary range of ac­tiv­i­ties and in­ter­ac­tions.

Stu­dents are en­cour­aged to learn Man­darin, par­tic­i­pate in com­mu­nity ser­vice at Chi­nese schools, dis­cover the Chi­nese cul­ture through food, his­tory and in­ter­ac­tion with oth­ers and even ex­pe­ri­ence a vil­lage home­s­tay.

“The op­por­tu­nity to be part of this visit to China came about as an ad­di­tional trip sep­a­rate to the sched­uled pro­gram and schools were in­vited to ex­press an in­ter­est in hav­ing stu­dents at­tend,” Ms McCarthy said.

“Ini­tially there was doubt if the visit would go ahead but another ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est was put out and we were for­tu­nate to get 13 places.

“Our stu­dents will make up a group of 44. They will spend four days at the School for Stu­dent Lead­er­ship Gnu­rad-Gun­didj cam­pus (near War­rnam­bool), come home for three weeks and then head off to China for the last six weeks of term three.”

Yar­ra­wonga Col­lege P-12 sent six year nine stu­dents to China on the first Vic­to­rian Young Lead­ers visit in 2014 and another six stu­dents en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence in 2016.

Ms McCarthy said on their re­turn the stu­dents were in­spired to con­tinue their learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“The stu­dents that ex­pe­ri­ence the China visit and the School for Stu­dent Lead­er­ship pro­gram be­come more ea­ger to have a go at other things, they are pre­pared to put their hand up for other ex­pe­ri­ences and push them­selves fur­ther,” she said.

The stu­dents them­selves weren’t ad­mit­ting to any nerves prior to their China ex­pe­ri­ence with most say­ing they were look­ing for­ward to try­ing new foods, mak­ing new friends and, for some, trav­el­ing over­seas for the first time.

China bound: (back) Josh Spain, Flynn Fletcher, Joel O’Dwyer, Jack Forge, (mid­dle) Reece Nor­man, Hugh Levesque, Lilli Buckmaster, Darcy Barten, Kane Fisher, (front) Zali Peters, Kasey Brandi, Erica Mont­gomery, Jorja Kruse.

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