Six Tauranga art students recently experienced the trip of a lifetime when they visited China.
The students, from Mount Maunganui College and Tauranga Boys' College, spent 17 days in Jiangxi province, focusing on graphic arts.
They were hosted by the Nanchang Foreign Language School, and visited different schools in the area to deliver presentations on New Zealand art and artists.
Other highlights included climbing through bamboo forests to Lion Rock Peak on Meiling Mountain, delivering a letter of friendship from Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless to Nanchang's deputy mayor, and visiting an exhibition from the recently discovered Han Emperor's grave rivalling the famous Terracotta Warriors in Xian.
New Zealand China Friendship Society Tauranga branch president John Hodgson organises the exchanges for local students.
“These days our exchanges always have a specific focus: last year the focus was international business and trade, this year it is graphic arts, next year has not been decided but it is leaning towards scientific research.
“We are also looking at a music exchange with a Tauranga Boys' College jazz quintet coming to Nanchang before the end of the year. There is great value with these exchanges that we hope can be reflected in NCEA and curriculum outcomes for the students involved.”
Mount Maunganui College Head of Art Mike Linklater, who accompanied students on the trip, says it was ‘spectacular'.
“We were totally immersed in Chinese culture. We were fortunate enough to go with John, who's been there before. The people there greeted us with open arms.”
He says it was a great chance to for students to be exposed to a different culture and open their eyes to other possibilities in art.
“Certainly we're looking at how we can continue the relationship between the two schools.”