More than 50 young people from Scottish schools are visiting China to improve their language skills and experience the rich culture of China.
Each pupil will take an intensive Mandarin language tuition course, experience a range of cultural activities and travel within China before receiving an SQA accredited qualification once they complete the course.
The trip is being organised by the Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools, based in SCILT- Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, in the University of Strathclyde’s Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences. The institute is funded jointly by the Scottish Government and Hanban, the Chinese government department for Confucius Institutes worldwide.
Sarah Breslin, Director of SCILT- Scotland's National Centre for Languages, said: "As the lead body for promoting Chinese language and culture in our schools, we are delighted to facilitate this pupil visit to China.
“I am sure the pupils travelling will not only have an unforgettable experience but will also gain valuable insights for the future."
Minister for Learning, Languages and Science Dr Alasdair Allan said: "This is a fantastic opportunity that I am delighted to support. The Scottish Government is continuing to advance our relationship with China and it is important that we help young Scots to understand more about China, its language, history and culture.
"We are committed to preparing our young people to flourish in the modern globalised and multi-lingual world. Our work with the Confucius Institute for schools is helping to make Chinese part of the suite of languages on offer at school, aligning well with our plans to help all pupils learn two other languages in addition to their mother tongue."
Katy Paterson from Perth High School, who is taking part in the trip, said: "I'm really looking forward to making new friends and experiencing the Chinese culture to see how it differs from our own. I'm also looking forward to the challenge of the language and developing my skills."
Callum Hodgkinson from Perth Academy said: "I'm hoping to gain better knowledge about Chinese culture, food and day to day life. I would also like to be able to speak Mandarin as it is very interesting, is useful to know and be able to speak."
The Confucius Institute will offer support to schools around Scotland in their teaching of Chinese language and culture. It will initially work with 12 Confucius classroom hubs, with the intention of expanding the network in primary and secondary schools across the country.