Students travel thousands of miles to brush up on their English in Durham

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A COLLEGE had an international flavour as students from as far away as Hong Kong came to improve their English before heading to school.

New Durham School pupils aged between 13 and 18 jetted in ahead of the new term to take part in a one-week course in English language and culture as part of a joint initiative between the school and East Durham College.

Classes were held at the college every morning, before the students headed out for fun trips in the afternoon, including boxercise, badminton, flower arranging and cake decorating.

The group, which included pupils from China, Italy, Denmark, Russia and Belgium, held a Harris Hawk and an owl on one trip, while some of the bravest in the bunch got their hands on a tarantula and a python.

There were also trips to York’s Jorvik Centre and National Rail Museum, as well as a visit to Newcastle.

Helen Mair, international administrative manager with Durham Education Group, said: “It was a great opportunity for the students to improve their English language skills and for everyone to acclimatise to life in the UK before moving on to their formal studies at Durham School.

“During the week the group visited the college’s farm and small animal unit and were lucky enough to meet Phil Niall who gave us an impromptu falconry display.”

The week was a big hit with the pupils. Beth Snegir, 14, from Russia, said: “I am half English, but I have found the classes very interesting and helpful.”

Fellow student Jeffrey Lee, 18, from Hong Kong, said: “I feel that my confidence has improved.”

On completion of the course, the pupils were presented with by the school’s headmaster Mr George, who said: “On behalf of the school I would like to wish all of the students every success in their studies here. I’d also like to congratulate everyone who played a part in ensuring that the course was such a fantastic success.”

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