Peng Liyuan, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wife, met with a group of students and teachers from Sydney, Australia Tuesday afternoon at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in central Beijing.
In a merry atmosphere, Peng, together with the 11 girls and 5 teachers, watched a video recalling her visit to the Ravenswood School for Girls in Sydney in November 2014 during Xi’s state visit to Australia, and listened to the girls telling their experience over the past ten days in China.
Prior to Beijing, the girls went to Shanghai and Nanjing in east China, Chengdu in the southwest and Xi’an in the northwest.
They had conversations with students in Nanjing No.1 Middle School - a sister school of Ravenswood - took a high-speed train between Shanghai and Nanjing, saw pandas in a research base in Chengdu and the terra cotta warriors in the ancient city of Xi’an.
They also visited the Great Wall and the National Stadium, or the Bird’s Nest, the main venue of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Calling their visit "fruitful and rewarding," Peng said the girls not only saw the picturesque scenery of China and had a taste of the Chinese history and culture, but also knew quite some Chinese friends.
"I hope the visit will help deepen your understanding of China," said Peng.
She encouraged the girls to make the best of their youth to study more and travel more, and continue to learn the Chinese language and culture so as to be "young ambassadors" and contribute greater share to the friendship between Chinese and Australian peoples.
Speaking highly of the booming development of education cooperation between the two countries in recent years, Peng expressed the hope that both sides can further expand two-way education cooperation in the hope of nurturing more successors to the cause of China-Australia friendship.
"As UNESCO Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls’ and Women’s Education, I am fully aware how important education is for all girls and the world," Peng said.
"We need to work together to ensure the equal access to education for all girls in the world so that they can enjoy a happy life," she said.
The students and teachers, headed by Deputy Principal David Garner, expressed their honor to receive Peng in 2014 and their excitement to be in China.
"There is no better way to learn the language, history and culture of a country than to visit that country, " said Garner.
Chloe Verman, a 10th grader, said she loved China more than ever through the visit.
"I have great interest in learning the Chinese language and history. I think I will come back to China one day,"she said in fluent Chinese.
During the gathering, the girls also sang the theme song of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in both Chinese and English.
Established in 1901, Ravenswood School for Girls is an independent day and boarding school for girls from kindergarten to grade 12.
As one of Australia’s leading girls’ schools, it set up a Confucius Classroom in 2014 to provide Chinese language education.