Jet setting to Shanghai

John Hodgson with the Bethlehem College students going to Shanghai this year.

New Zealand China Friendship Society is not content to simply take students to China to live with a local family and see the sights in a “life changing experience”.

Branch president of the local New Zealand China Friendship Society John Hodgson says they want more than that.

Students from Bethlehem College will travel to China on a school exchange with Nanchang Foreign Language School and stay with families for three weeks experiencing school and family life and to see the sights.

They will have many different experiences, but NZCFS wants more.

Working with executive officer Melissa Conrad at ExportNZ, the students have been recently involved in a range of interviews with local international businesspeople in a research project they are undertaking into international business and trade.

On April 12, students will fly to Shanghai, visiting the New Zealand consulate, New Zealand central, Phil and Ted’s stroller factory, talk with factory owners and meet with the director general of YouXie, “the equivalent of our Foreign Affairs Department,” says John.

They will take an ultra-highspeed train to Nanchang where they will be jointly hosted for two weeks by The Jiangxi Foreign Affairs Office and Nanchang Foreign Language School.

Finally they will spend another three days in Dongguan visiting factories that export to New Zealand.

Once back in NZ, the students will make a variety of presentations to various community groups, Rotary, U3A, Probus, before the NZCFS Tauranga Youth Awards dinner in November, where these students will receive special awards for the community sharing they have undertaken during the previous eight months.

In April 2017 NZCFS will take another group of Mount Maunganui College students to China, but their research project will involve graphic arts – printing, calligraphy, photography, painting, and more.

On return to Tauranga they will make similar community presentations and exhibitions and have a similar awards dinner in November 2017.

It’s all “more than a life-changing experience,” says John.