The greeting of ‘ni hao’ (meaning hello) is now entrenched in Old Bar Public School after seven Chinese exchange students spent the last two weeks at the school.
The exchange was organised by teacher Yukang Li, Surfside Retreat Old Bar’s Kate Dunn and Old Bar Public School and involved students attending the school with their “buddies” and staying with host families.
They also experienced a plethora of excursions, such as to Camp Elim, Big Buzz fun park, Port Macquarie’s Billabong Zoo and a trip to Sydney.
Part of their experience also involved surfing lessons and learning about Aboriginal culture.
Mr Li said the exchange helped the students improve their English skills and presented an opportunity to “explore cultures and meet new people.”
“They don’t get that in China,” Mr Li said.
For many of the students, this was their first time travelling overseas.
In return, Mr Li gave Chinese language and cultural lessons to all Stage Three students.
He said the students were fascinated by the country and asked insightful questions about Chinese lifestyle, food, history and economics.
Mr Li added that the host families and Old Bar Public School staff have been exceptional in ensuring the children were comfortable in dealing with homesickness.
Based in Xi’an, China, Mr Li runs similar programs in China and Canada to take students to the USA, United Kingdom and Australia.
This was the 10th time Mr Li has led an overseas exchange, this being his fourth in Australia and first to Old Bar.
He hopes the exchange with the school can become an annual tradition and that some of the Old Bar students will be encouraged to spend time overseas.
Mr Li said the idea of all students coming together to learn new customs was a highlight of the exchange.
“I’ve also loved Old Bar as a location with the closeness of the beach,” Mr Li said.
“We’ve had a great time.”
The students were farewelled at an assembly on February 28 where they were presented with certificates.
Mr Li and the students left Old Bar today (March 2).
Their departure coincides with the start of the Chinese schooling year.
Pictured: Teacher Yukang Li with exchange and Old Bar Public School students Ryder Ramsay, Chelsea Davies, Wang Yilin, Island Rosamond, Grace Lambert, Wei Yufu, Ffion Davy, Liu Zeyu, Yang Kexin, Quan Junyu, Reef Rosamond, Louis Marteene, Li Zhuoya, Willow McAnally, Shell Rosamond, Clare Ramsay, Oscar Davy, Archer Lambert and Evan Davy.