CHINESE children are enjoying life in the classroom at a Sunderland school.
Despite being just 12 and 13 years old, a group of 24 pupils from China have settled in well for their three-month stay on Wearside.
The children are studying in the city as part of an exchange programme between Sandhill View School and Daqing Foreign Language School, which is based in an area near to Harbin in China, Sunderland’s partner city.
Joan Nix, curriculum area manager and school lead for international links at the Grindon Lane school, said the Year 8 and 9 children arrived with three teachers from Daqing and are studying in normal lessons with the pupils at the Sunderland school.
However, so the hard-working youngsters, who are staying in University of Sunderland accommodation, do not fall behind, they do lessons for their Chinese curriculums on evenings and at weekends.
They have all been given Sandhill View school uniforms and PE kit to help make sure they fit into school life and Mrs Nix said she can’t believe how well they have managed.
She said: “They have undoubtedly settled in really well to life in an English comprehensive school and are, after only three weeks, seen as quite simply one of us.
“Having the Chinese youngsters here has really brought out the caring side of our students
“They have been looking after them so well.”
The Chinese children themselves say they are loving life in Sunderland.
Garfield Bian, 13, said: “It is a really good school, very special. It is great being here.”
Stephy Li, 12, said of the city: “It is nice and very colourful. Everyone is very friendly.”
Before the new students arrived a group of Sandhill View pupils were selected to be Chinese ambassadors, who the children could turn to if they needed anything.
One of them, Lewis Lamb, 15, said: “After just a short time they were all mixing in and making their own friends, which was brilliant. It is exciting for everyone at the school having them here.”
Lewis now hopes to be one of the Sandhill pupils chosen to travel to China next April for the second part of the exchange project.