Journey of a lifetime for students

St Bede's students during their trip to China.

St Bede's students during their trip to China.

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STUDENTS have arrived back home after a “life-changing” exchange trip to China.

Eight pupils from St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School, in Peterlee, have just returned from a nine-day trip to visit their exchange partners, No 17 School in Shijiazhuang in China’s Hebei Province.

While abroad, the group of Year 10s also visited a number of temples, as well as The Great Wall of China and the Water Cube, in Beijing, where diving star Tom Daley had competed in 2008, and Tiananmen Square.

The partnership between the two schools began in 2008 and Chinese students and teachers have been to Peterlee three times since then.

The collaboration will continue in August, when staff from St Bede’s, based in Westway, will visit China as part of a summer camp to develop teaching techniques.

The school’s assistant headteacher Paul Dickson said: “Our students had a fantastic time.

“Every single one of them said it was a life-changing experience and they said they can’t stop thinking about it and they want to go back.

“They said it was so different – the language, the culture and the customs and they totally immersed themselves in it.

“The kids really got a lot out of it, the journey they went on wasn’t just on an aeroplane – they came back different kids.”

Mr Dickson said another successful partnership was between St Bede’s and Hays Travel, based in Peterlee town centre, which sponsored hoodies and polo shirts for the trip, as well as helping with exchanging currency.