On Thursday the Confucius Classroom became the hub of a joyous cultural exchange event with more than 150 primary school students from local Bendigo schools and Suzhou, China coming together for a day of fun and learning.
The students from schools in the Suzhou Industrial Park are attending more than a dozen local primary schools in small groups, and individual students are being hosted by local families.
Thursday’s Confucius Classroom program, which runs uniquely Australian themes alongside those of Chinese origin, provides both the locals and visitors with a taste of each other’s culture and language along with a chance to have fun.
Each activity provided a different opportunity for students to engage with each other and a specific aspect of Chinese or Australian culture. In the kitchen students learnt to make and cook dumplings and pancakes. There was a chopstick challenge, singing and dancing, a range of creative and challenging games hosted by student leaders from BSE, and some extraordinary dot painting creations on boomerangs.
International Student and Confucius Classroom Coordinator, Juncai Lin, said the aim of the day is to give students a taste of both Australian and Chinese culture in an environment where they can interact and cooperate.
“It’s a fun and exciting way for them to learn,” he said. “Sometimes the communication can only be through gesture, but that is all part of the experience.”
One of the students from Suzhou said that his homestay family was very friendly and he has made many new friends.
“I have seen a koala, an emu, and kangaroos,” he said. “I like all the different sports and Australian food is very yummy!”