Students chosen for unique Chinese tourism project

MAY 16, 2016

FOUR Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University students have  been granted the opportunity of a life-time, in the form of an educational trip to China with students from across the globe – which will be televised daily on Chinese national television.

The four – final-year Economics student Sibusiso Makaringe, Psychology honours student Qapela Ngcobo, third-year Public Administration and Sociology student Bafana Nogcansi, and final-year Development Studies student Sandile Mjamba – are the only South African students to have been selected by the People's Government of China to participate in its "Jinhua Homestay Project".

The students will take part in this initiative from 22 June to 12 July, together with 36 other students from 25 different countries.

During their three-week stay in one of the historical villages in the city of Jinhua, the students will be living in the home of a Chinese family, about to open a “home-stay” business, which will see them accommodating tourists in their own homes. The students will participate in traditional activities in the villages, and complete educational tasks with the other students.

The four are currently raising money to fund their return trip from Port Elizabeth to China as the programme only covers their expenses when they arrive in China.

This is such a huge opportunity – we cannot miss this trip. But funding is a major concern right now, we need to have our flights booked by the end of May,” said Nogcansi. 

The "Jinhua Homestay Project" is aimed at creating tourism opportunities and socio-economic sustainable mechanisms for the rural areas of China, in order to make them retain their human capital, language, education system, culture, customs, traditional healthcare, architecture, history and indigenous food, whilst also boosting their rural economy.

“We are all very excited, this is our first trip overseas and we look forward to building relationships between South Africa and China,” said Ngcobo.

The students will participate in various activities in the historical village, guided by villagers offering a unique perspective of the traditions of the village.

They will also be divided into groups to work on various topics, which include describing the intangible culture and architecture of the village and its surrounding areas, writing articles for social media or blogs, creating visual representations and maps of the village, and making concrete suggestions for tour packages and itineraries in the area.

The students were chosen based on an application process which required them to write a 600-word essay and submit testimonials.