Belvedere-China exchange – a first
RTE television have been filming in Belvedere College, where twelve Chinese students from Ren Da Fu Zhong High School, one of the top secondary schools in Beijing, are taking part in the first ever exchange visit programme between an Irish and a mainland Chinese school.
They are spending a week in Belvedere College, Great Denmark St. Dublin 1, beginning Friday 1 February. Students from Belvedere have already been to the school in China twice in 2012, as part of the exchange programme.
The Chinese students, accompanied by two teachers, arrived the evening of Thursday 31 Jan and have been staying with their Belvedere student exchange partners.
Science teacher David O’Grady is co-ordinator of the exchange programme and speaks Mandarin himself. He says the students are enjoying taking part in normal classes as well as balancing this with some tourist activities including a visit to see the Book of Kells.
They were hosted, alongside their Irish partners, by the Chinese Ambassador on Wednesday afternoon, before returning to Beijing on Thursday.
Belvedere College has been providing a course in Chinese Studies including Mandarin, for over five years and Transition year students are offered the opportunity of an exchange in China.
Last year, China’s Vice-President, Mr Xi Jinping visited Belvedere College whilst in Ireland. He was accompanied by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. The college was one of the first schools to be given ‘The Confucius Classroom Award,’ from the Confucius Institute in UCD.