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 term-long 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 self-discovery 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.