Highland China Exchange
Who is the exchange for?
This exchange is for students in grades 8 - 12 this year, in Comox Valley SD#71 high schools, who want to experience another culture. Students will host a Chinese student at the end of January/beginning of February 2020 for 8-10 days and then will travel to China for 14-16 days during Spring Break of 2020 and be hosted by that student's family while staying in Shanghai. Approximate dates for the trip fall within the window of March 10 through April 1, 2020, over Spring break , with the possibility of the trip extending to a few days before or after spring break dependent on airfare and flight availability.
A maximum of 30 students will get to go on this trip and we are looking to have participants finalized by early October this year.
Who are the sponsor teachers?
Ms. Darlington, Learning Support teacher at Highland is the sponsor teacher for this exchange. Students can ask her any questions about the exchange and she will do her best to answer them, or find the answers to them.
Comox Valley Homestay for the Chinese students.
While the Chinese students are in the Comox Valley, it is expected that the homestay family will welcome them and give them local experiences (for example: Tofino, Qualicum/Parksville, Mt Washington, etc.). The Chinese students will stay with families each night while they are here. During the school week while the Highland students are in school, the Chinese students will participate in day trips that may include (Mt Washington, Victoria overnight trip, Cathedral Grove, Deep Bay Marine Station, Komox Band/Big House, etc). On some days the Chinese students will shadow their Canadian buddies and attend classes with them.
Families who are hosting a Chinese student as part of this exchange will need to fill out a Homestay Application.
Plans while in China
While in Shanghai, students will spend some mornings at the school with their host student and then experience several day trips and afternoon trips to places such as Yuyan Gardens, Shanghai Disney, an ancient water-town and the Shanghai Zoo.
After the Shanghai exchange portion the group will travel by train for an "add-on" adventure to Beijing for 3 or 4 nights staying in hotel accommodation and visiting the Great Wall, the Forbidden city and Tiananmen square, and other side tours that may include a jade factory, the Olympic village, a tea ceremony, and an acrobat show among other attractions. Many of these day activities and guided tours will be planned in the coming months, so we will let you know when we have a solid itinerary.
This is an estimated cost for the trip. It could be a little less but we do not know yet as we are still in the early stages of planning. Please remember that the cost of all flights, hotels and experiences in Shanghai and Beijing, as well as all day trips are included in this cost. Some additional costs for meals and optional activities may be incurred by the students. Spending money will also be needed.
If accepted on the exchange, a deposit will be needed to secure your spot on the trip. We are looking at a non-refundable deposit of $800 that will be required by the end of September, 2019. The deposit secures the spot on the exchange and will be used to secure airfare and travel insurance. . Should your son or daughter be unable to participate on the exchange for reasons set out in the travel cancellation insurance, a portion of the deposit would able to be refunded through the insurance company.
Passports and documentation.....yes you need this
You will need a passport that will not expire within six (6) months of the trip.
You will also fill in detailed permission slips, a parent consent form which will need to be notarized, a medical form and a standard letter giving Ms. Darlington permission to take you on international travel.
If your parents are divorced / separated you must make sure BOTH sets of parents fill out all of these documents.
A Visa to enter China is required. We are working out the details for this process. Currently there is a cost for the Visa, you will need a photo made to the specifications for the China Visa, to complete the application online and travel to Vancouver for Visa Biometrics (fingerprinting). More information to come at the parent meeting.