Chinese students discovering Canberra
Dance class with the international students. Two students (in white and green uniforms), Lucy Rogerson's and Tasmyn Adams' families are both hosting students. Photo: Colleen Petch
Canberra has become a city of discovery for a group of visiting Chinese students this month, as Charles Conder Primary School hosts a special international study tour.
The 21 students and two teachers from Beijing International School arrived at the school in mid-February and will stay in Canberra until April 5.
The program is supported by the ACT Education and Training Directorate and International Education and the 12-year-old participants are staying with local host families.
Beijing is Canberra's official sister city.
Charles Conder principal Jennifer Hall said the tour was unusual - both in the age of its participants and its length.
''It is an absolutely wonderful opportunity for us to help the students understand globalisation and for them to be aware there is a lot more to the world than just Australia,'' she said.
''We are delighted to bring the students and staff into our home, our school, our neighbourhood.'' Ms Hall said the students were undertaking daily English classes, excursions around Canberra and had visited Sydney for an overnight trip.
''The host families involved are a very connected group of people. They didn't commit to hosting a student lightly, but only after numerous conversations about what would be involved.''
She said the two schools had formed strong ties through the tour, with students planning to stay in contact online and Canberra families invited to visit Beijing.
''Learning is the fundamental aspect of any tour, and the children have been discovering Canberra's culture, Australia's unique and somewhat eclectic multicultural society and have attended centenary celebrations,'' she said.
''One of the children was taken to the Queanbeyan Rodeo, an experience which will see them in awe of Australia, I am sure.''
Ms Hall said students would benefit from strong ties to communities around Asia, as Australia's relationships with nearby nations becomes more important.