A cultural exchange trip to China by a group of high school students has broadened their horizons and created many friendships

The experiences to which young people are exposed mould, challenge and develop young minds. In a world where technological advances enable the transfer of information at the touch of a button the phrase ‘the world is your oyster’ has never been more true for the youngsters of Pendle.

Learning happens everywhere and arguably lifelong learning can most effectively occur outside the constraints of the classroom.

The journeys, trips and exchanges on offer to students at Park High School would put a seasoned traveller to shame.

“We thoroughly recognise and support educational visits as a means of enriching the curriculum and broadening the experiences of the youngsters in our family,” states Dr Paul Parkin, Headteacher at Park.

“Our students are encouraged to experience the world of opportunity that Park can provide.”

Eight students recently experienced the international partnership that exists between Park High School, Colne and Number 19 Middle School, Fuzhou, China. Together the schools have established a programme that develops mutually beneficial educational practices for students and teachers.

Year 10 students Sarah Moore and Joe Renshaw were among the students who embarked on the Chinese exchange trip with teachers Natalie Johnson and Jonathan Allen.

When the Park High delegation arrived in Fuzhou after a 15-hour journey and eight-hour time difference, they were greeted by Chinese officials and experienced an ‘exchange of gifts’ ceremony.

As Natalie Johnson displays the gifts the school has received from China, she says: “The giving and receiving of gifts is a major part of Chinese culture. Our students had the unique opportunity to observe these cultures first hand whilst staying with a Chinese family.”

The students also have fond memories of their arrival in China: “When we arrived they gave us squid, shrimp and steamed bread, it was delicious! We also had the opportunity to try chicken feet, jelly fish and sea cucumber,” recall Joe and Sarah.

Being the 15th biggest city in China, Fuzhou is a highly developed city with a population of more than seven million.

“There were not many western people in Fuzhou – we were almost treated like celebrities!” says Joe, “Occasionally the traffic would stop due to passengers taking pictures of us and it was not unusual for people to stop us in the street to take selfies!”

The students spent quality time at the school in Fuzhou experiencing traditional calligraphy, cultural singing and dancing as well as Shakespeare and Harry Potter. They also visited Tiananmen Square, a local house in Hutong where the students interviewed the elderly householders, bartered in Pearl Market, visited the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China and enjoyed a dazzling martial arts show.

“Trips, like the Chinese exchange, help our students grow in confidence.” says Jonathan Allen. “Our teaching staff relish the opportunity to dissolve the classroom walls and spend time with students out of school. Excursions like this build on the Park High family ethos.”

Dr Paul Parkin concluded: “These experiences stimulate personal development, support our teaching, build confidence and expand the horizons of our students. The friendships and bonds made on the varied trips, voyages and exchanges from Park are never broken and develop our youngsters into the young adults of the future.”

Colne Park High School
Venables Avenue, Colne BB8 7DP
01282 865200



Tedd Walmsley

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