This summer for the first time, the Northern Ireland Bureau office in Beijing successfully secured five places for students from the province to attend the 14th Shanghai International Youth Interactive Camp in Shanghai, China.
Over the last thirteen years the camp has attracted close to 1500 teenagers from 53 countries and regions around the world. The purpose of the event it to provide an opportunity for the young participants to set up a bridge of friendship, provide an exchange platform beyond language and cultural barriers and introduce and develop a spirit of co-operation.
Representing NI was Lucia Cathers (Omagh Academy); Niamh Doherty and Chelsea McElroy (Loreto Grammar, Omagh); Jack McKane (Methodist College, Belfast) and Rachel Thompson (Enniskillen Royal Grammar School), accompanied by Linda Beatty, South West College Confucius Officer.
The itinerary included visits to, Shanghai Zoo; Zhujiajiao Water Town; Shanghai Natural History Museum; Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Volkswagen China, as well as activities such as orienteering around Shanghai city; night cruise on Huangpu River; speaking Chinese; Chinese brush writing and Chinese papercutting.
A unique feature of the trip allowed each student to spend a weekend with a Shanghainese family and one of the NI students, Jack McKane was interviewed for television speaking about his Shanghai experience.
On behalf of the group, Linda Beatty expressed her sincere gratitude and thanks to Mr Tim Losty, Minister Counsellor for Northern Ireland Bureau for giving the NI representatives this experience and acknowledged “the support the delegates received from Yan Liu and the staff at Confucius Institute at Ulster University and not forgetting all the staff and volunteers in Shanghai who made everyone so welcome and done everything with a smile on their face.”
The students agreed it was life-changing, memorable and unforgettable, with one summing it up perfectly citing “A gem of a memory tucked inside my heart forever.”