Grahamvale Primary School students have been given the opportunity to take part in a life-changing exchange program.
Ten Years 5 and 6 students will travel to China in October as part of a Victorian Principals Association program.
Grahamvale principal Simone Higgins said the trip was a great opportunity for regional and rural children to take part in.
‘‘We haven’t done anything like this before and it will be a great experience for the students as some of them haven’t been out of Australia before,’’ Mrs Higgins said.
The trip begins with a four-day tour of Shanghai where the students will visit sights of China, including the Shanghai Zoo and markets.
They will then catch a bullet train to Nanjing, where they will attend a primary school for two weeks.
The experience will teach the students what it is like to attend school in another country while also learning about Chinese customs and culture.
‘‘The students will be involved in a range of different things while attending school, from maths to folk dancing and even learning kung fu,’’ Mrs Higgins said.
At the end of the trip, the students will participate in a performance that Chinese dignitaries and members of the Chinese Department of Education will attend.
The students have been preparing for their trip by downloading apps to learn basic language skills and have also been given a pack of Smarties and a pair of chopsticks to practice their culinary skills.
‘‘Before we go there is a pre-departure program where our students will actually go to Melbourne and meet the seven other schools that are participating in the exchange,’’ Mrs Higgins said.
Mrs Higgins said the trip gave the students not only a different cultural experience, but would also develop their independence, as they will have little communication with their families during the stay.
‘‘It’s about students gaining an insight into another culture, but also looking at the broader outlook and the vision outside of what we regularly experience,’’ she said.
The trip is expected to be a biennial event for the school.