School children from across the region celebrated the Year of the Horse at Leeds Metropolitan University as they learnt about Chinese culture and language.
Around 60 year nine pupils, aged between 13 and 14, from Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School in Leeds, David Young Community Academy in Seacroft, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School in Halifax and St Aidan's C of E School in Harrogate, spent a day at the University's Headingley Campus, where they had the chance to try out kung fu and paper cutting, whilst getting a taste of the Mandarin language. They also met with current Leeds Metropolitan language students, who shared their experiences of university.
The pupils learnt about Chinese culture throughout the day, whilst finding out why learning a language is so important. All schools involved are engaged in the University's Routes into Languages project which was set up four years ago to promote languages in secondary schools and is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
Dr Théophile Munyangeyo, Senior Lecturer in Languages, said: "In a world that is increasingly being shaped by interdependent partnerships through which former developing countries are taking the lead in economic growth, the importance of foreign language and intercultural communication skills is now self-evident. Within this context of globalised and competitive markets, ignoring the role that countries with thriving world economies like China are already playing in remodelling the world order would lead to regrettable consequences.
"The celebration of Chinese New Year through the showcase and the development of language skills in Chinese, coupled with learning about the Chinese way of life, allows pupils to reflect on how language skills and intercultural awareness are becoming core skills that current generations have to develop for a brighter future."
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