Interview with John-Joe
I felt it would be an amazing experience, was offered a place on the tour and gladly accepted. The University of Liverpool have a partnership with the No. 2 High School of East China Normal University.
Our tour was mainly centred in Shanghai but we also had the opportunity to travel to some rural parts outside the city. I was amazed at the difference in the life of the city which was very busy as this contrasted with the lovely rural idyll.
Well firstly, they did not speak scouse nor understood my accent, but being serious, they had a deep sense of national pride in their history; I am not sure that we have that to such a developed level here. However, like Liverpudlians they were very welcoming, friendly and accommodating.
I must admit that I missed my mum’s cooking and found the food a challenge, especially as I forgot to take my knife and fork! So coming to grips with the art of “Chopsticks” proved a learning curve too far. They do say that practise makes perfect and since returning from China I have now become quite the “chopstick” aficionado.
I particularly enjoyed the visit to the Zoo, where I saw actual pandas. They were really adorable, lazy but above all magnificent animals. I was told that the Chinese word for PANDA translates to CAT BEAR.
There were too many to count, by that I mean we were part of a much larger group called the Shanghai International Sister Cities Youth Camp with other people our age from around the world. This meant that everyone came from a diverse background with a multitude of interesting life stories. A hot topic at the time amongst the group was the BREXIT vote. I also was able to get an insight into the various options that young people my age would have to take in certain countries. It highlighted to me the importance of our education system, as many people did not have the opportunity to go on to higher education. We are truly fortunate here in the UK.
Yes, (well what did you learn?) how to say my name. Wo jiao, Jon-Joe. Wo xi huan he shui, this means I like to drink water and I know some other basic phrases.
I was truly blessed with the support that Archbishop Beck Catholic College gave to me and without that support and in particular the financial support I would not have been able to access this once in a life time opportunity.
Note: JonJoe was accompanied by Tom, Jack and Nathan