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Over 1,000 UK Students Travel to China for Mandarin Excellence Program
Robert Postings
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Over 1,000 UK Students Travel to China for Mandarin Excellence Program

Record-breaking trip sees almost 1200 English Students fly to China for Language and Cultural Study in Mandarin Excellence Program Trip

Almost 1200 students from English schools have flown to China for a ten-day educational trip starting July 4th as part of the Mandarin Excellence Program.

In total 1,197 pupils and 157 teachers from 61 schools across England have made the trip.

Students in different travel groups will visit various cities across China. Destinations include Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Xi’an, Chengdu, Kunming, Shenyang, Dalian, Hangzhou, Shenyang and Guangzhou.

As well as language learning and practice they will also experience Chinese culture and connect with students in China.

Ahead of the visit, Tilly, a Year 9 student from Finham Park School in Coventry, said: “It’s a huge trip. It’s taken a while to organise and we’ve had lots of meetings about it, I’m really excited. I’m a bit nervous for being away from home but I think that I’ll get over that quickly. I think it will massively affect my learning in such positive ways.”

Her classmate, Vincent, added that “it’s a very surreal experience knowing that you’re going to be on the other side of the planet. It’s a great, great opportunity.”

The 10-day trip started on July 4th.

It is organised as part of the Mandarin Experience Program. Launched in 2016 the program offers funding and support for secondary schools in England to teach Mandarin Chinese. Starting for students in year 7, the Mandarin Excellence Program is designed to provide a more intensive language learning program with the goal of putting students on the path to Mandarin Chinese fluency.

Now eight years since launching, more than 11,000 students from over 80 schools have participated in the program. This is the first large-scale trip to China since 2019, and the largest one ever.

It is led by the Institute of Education at University College London on behalf of the UK’s Department of Education and in partnership with the British Council.

Katharine Carruthers, from UCL’s Institute of Education and Strategic Director of the Mandarin Experience Program said the visit is “a fabulous opportunity for students to experience China in person and advance their language skills.”

“This is an unrivalled opportunity which rewards Year 9 MEP students who have been undertaking intensive Mandarin language study in school for the past three years, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“The students will benefit from an unforgettable experience as part of their journey to becoming the next generation of fluent Mandarin speakers in the UK.”


Top Image: A picture of students on the Mandarin Excellence Program China Trip 2024. Image provided by the British Council.

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