Our final day in China (last week) was at the Utahloy International School and this involved packing and saying farewell in the afternoon to all of the Utahloy staff who have looked after us so well. However that morning, all students were treated to a demonstration of Chinese Kung Fu and were also taught a simple routine of manoeuvres. This was done with a lot of energy and was also a lot of fun.

Our students were also presented with an Utahloy International School ‘Certificate of Global Achievement’ which was based around four categories of criteria; Participation, Leadership and Contribution / Critical Thinking and Inquiry / Reflection / and their project Presentation. Dignitaries presenting certificates were Dr Michael Wylie, the Principal of Utahloy International School and from the Australian Embassy in Southern China the Australian Consular General, Mr Dominic Trinidad. Dominic gave a wonderful speech and summary of his career leading to his travels and current position before presenting our students with their certificates. It was a terrific afternoon of celebration and recognition and a very positive way to depart from our month spent in China.

All of our students arrived safely back into Australia on the morning of Sunday November 30th. We had no trouble passing through customs after a bit of a lengthy wait to collect our bags and the bus trip back to Dinner Plain was quiet as all of our overseas travellers slept for much of the journey. The journey was long as expected and students and staff arrived around 5.30pm that evening. Sleep and rest were high on the agenda.

This week our students have already been involved in the review process giving feedback with Dr Michael Dyson, the researcher from Federation University (who also visited them at Utahloy International School in China a fortnight ago) and they have had discussions about reintegration and have done group presentations as well. The students will continue this week with doing community service and a rogaine around the Dinner Plain area just to help get them familiar with the beauty and natural surroundings of the Alpine Region. Then they will once again start packing and cleaning up their rooms at the Alpine School before they return home on Saturday December 6th.

This journey has been continuously filled with highlights, challenges and most of all learning. Their development of intercultural understanding, themselves, self-confidence, leadership and language just to mention a few has been very positive.