Pupils at a Billingshurst school experienced a different way of life during a trip to China.
Over the Easter holidays, 16 year ten students from The Weald embarked on the trip of a lifetime joined by maths teacher Jason Charles and English teacher Elaine McKenna.
After 14 hours of travelling and a short pitstop in Istanbul, they arrived in Beijing.
The Weald’s Alison Brown said: “They were immediately immersed in Chinese culture, enjoyed a hot pot dinner together and then relaxed for the evening in a hotel.
“The relaxation was short lived as the following day they were all up bright and early to visit the Summer Palace, have a Chinese calligraphy lesson and then head off to catch the bullet train to Luoyang.”
On arrival in Luoyang, the students were introduced to their host families and everyone parted ways to allow them to get to know each other and settle into their new situations.
Alison added: “The Weald students spent five nights in a Chinese family’s home and for many this was the highlight of the entire trip. They were given the opportunity to take lessons in a Chinese school and had many excursions planned for them.”
She told how the students particularly enjoyed seeing a Kung Fu show at Shaolin Temple while the sun beamed down.
The staff at Luoyang High School treated The Weald students to a Chinese banquet dinner in celebration of the exchange and a great evening was had by all.
Parting ways with the host families on the Thursday felt quite emotional for some, as many new friendships had been formed with promises to stay in touch.
The adventure continued with The Weald staff and students next heading to Xi’an.
They visited the famous Terracotta Warriors and saw the beautiful city lit up at night time around the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.
Finally, they all headed back to Beijing to visit some popular sights.
They saw the Great Wall of China, the Temple of Heaven and also the Forbidden City.
According to Alison everyone arrived back at Gatwick airport 12 days later.
She said the students were exhausted but with experiences and memories that will last forever.