Invited by Senior Chinese leader H.E. Liu Yunshan, organized by UCD Confucius Institute, Renmin University of China, and the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), 39 Irish students from secondary school and 3 Irish teachers visited Beijing and participated into the two-week winter camp of exploring Chinese culture, running from 19th of October to 30th of October. 35 out of 39 students are from Teresian School, 3 of them are from Sutton Park School, and the other one is from Dundalk Grammer School. In cooperation with these three schools, UCD Confucius Institute has been delivering Chinese courses to their students.
As an important agenda of this winter camp, the Irish students visited the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), Renmin University of China, Xi’an Gaoxin No.1 high school, and Beijing No.9 high school, which has substantially enhanced their understanding of the Chinese educational system as well as Chinese students. During the winter camp, the students not only engaged with cultural activities like watching the performances of Chinese Kongfu and acrobatics, but also visited many places of historical and cultural interests such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Yonghe Temple, Terracotta Army, Huaqing Pool, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an Beilin Museum, and Fortifications of Xi'an, etc.
By means of these first-hand cultural experiences in Beijing and Xi’an, the students have enriched their knowledge of China in many aspects: Chinese history and culture, traditional and contemporary Chinese architectural art, Chinese cuisine, campus activities, Chinese martial arts etc. Moreover, the students from Ireland and China have forged a friendship with each other during this camp. The Irish students also showed their enthusiasm for learning Chinese language and culture. Many of the Irish students hoped to visit China again with their families and friends.