Students from a Midlothian high school travelled halfway around the world to end up in a selfie photo with Scotland’s First Minister.
The eight pupils from Lasswade High in Bonnyrigg were on a cultural visit to China when they were invited to meet Nicola Sturgeon.
The First Minister was on a five-day trade mission to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong to promote Scottish businesses as well as making a keynote speech on women’s rights.
The meeting was organised by the Scottish Affairs Office at the British Embassy in Beijing to give the First Minister an opportunity to hear from the pupils about their time in China.
Carys Ross, Cameron Watt, Jayne Murdock, Hannah Darling, Blair Jones, Zsofia Blair, Rachael Lamb and Lauren Finlayson were in China taking part in a two-week language and culture immersion course with more than 80 other young people from across Scotland. They were accompanied by Hollie Lyon, a teacher at Lasswade.
The First Minister spent time talking to the pupils about their language learning and culture classes as well as their visits to local landmarks, schools and host families.
Katie Hawkins, project co-ordinator for the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS), based at the University of Strathclyde said: “The Chinese Bridge Summer Camp offers a unique and exciting opportunity for Scotland’s young people. In Beijing the pupils met the First Minister and showed her what they had learned. It was a true mix of cultures.”
The Chinese Bridge Summer Camp ran from July 12 to 27 and welcomed young people from all over the UK. The programme offers young people the opportunity to immerse themselves in Chinese culture whilst learning Mandarin. CISS worked with schools around Scotland to put forward Scottish pupils for this opportunity.
Over the past decade, Lasswade High has been working to develop educational links with China and earlier this year the Midlothian Confucious Hub was opened at the school.
There are 16 hubs across Scotland promoting joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.