- Monday 28 July 2014
Sunshine Coast schools are today hosting 27 Chinese students from our Sister City of Xiamen as part of their cultural exchange tour to the region.
This exchange which came about through discussions Mayor Mark Jamieson undertook in Xiamen last year, further reinforce the global links our region is building for itself.
Touring Mountain Creek State High School and Palmwoods State School today, the chaperones will learn more about Queensland's school system and to explore opportunities for developing Sister Schools relationships.
Division 5 Councillor Jenny McKay, an honorary citizen of Xiamen, is championing the development of ongoing formal relationships between the schools.
"Youth exchanges enhance cultural understanding by providing first hand opportunities for our youth to really get to know each other and develop lifelong memories and friendships," Cr McKay said.
"The establishment of direct relationships will enable schools to develop cross cultural activities across a range of subjects and, with the wonderful technologies we have in our schools these days, it is now possible to interact in real time.
"There may be opportunities to Skype during an Art lesson to learn from a Master, or to hold regular language conversation lessons. A walk through a rainforest with an iPad can be in interactive lesson where questions can be asked and answered. The opportunities are vast and open to discussion between the schools.
"Of course, there is nothing like an exchange visit and stay with a host family to really get to know a place and its people - and these students have just spent a memorable weekend with their host families and are spending the day with them at school today.
"This experience will stay with them forever. They will return home with positive memories and will become wonderful ambassadors for the Sunshine Coast," Cr McKay said
Director Xu of the Children's Palace said that he was awed by his visit to the Sunshine Coast.
"It looks like it belongs on a postcard," Director Xu said.
"The beaches and hinterland are breathtaking, and I cannot believe that I had the chance to hold a koala - they are my favourite animal.
"We are fortunate to be able to participate in this youth cultural exchange with the Sunshine Coast.”
Director Xu said that Xiamen looked forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Sunshine Coast that focused on both cultural and business opportunities.
"Our students are the academics, cultural and business people of the future. They will help ensure that the ties between our cities continue to grow and strengthen into the future," he said.