Sunderland children visit China to sample life for young people in the country

Sandhilll View pupils on their trip to China.
Sandhilll View pupils on their trip to China.
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CHINESE food was on the menu when Sunderland youngsters took a trip overseas.

Students from Sandhill View School headed to China to spend 10 days finding out what life is like for young people there.

The visit to Daqing, a town near Sunderland’s partner city of Harbin, was the second leg of an exchange visit which saw Chinese youngsters visit Wearside last year.

One of the highlights for the 12 Sunderland pupils was the range and amount of food they were offered, such as octopus.

Joan Nix, leader of international links at the Grindon Lane school, said: “It is their way of showing hospitality and we were offered food a lot.”

Most of the funding for the trip was through an international partnership project.

The pupils said it was an amazing opportunity to see different cultures.

Mrs Nix said: “Our pupils were amazed by the class sizes. There are 40 children in each class.”

The young Wearsiders said they could not believe how many people there were in any one place.

Ryan Pilkington, 14, said: “We knew it was going to be busy, but never realised just how busy it was.”

Rachel Boyd, 15, said it was so hard getting through crowds at times, it could be a bit scary and at one point they got split up because it was so busy.

Although Daqing is a fairly affluent part of China, the Wearside students did see a lot poorer areas during their trips.

Kyle Cleasby, 15, said: “It did open your eyes to see the poor areas.

“You realise how much we have compared with others.”

During their visit the group did a 
lot of sight-seeing, including Harbin City, the Great Wall of China and Tiananmen Square, and took a ride in a rickshaw.

Mr Nix said the partnership programme has been a huge success and the students keep in touch with their Chinese counterparts by email.