The most exciting exchange visit to date?  What do you think?

Saturday 2nd to 9th November is a time that will be in our memories for many years to come.  HKSSIP ventured into the unknown in some ways with a doubling of our membership from ten to twenty schools, and an exchange visit of over fifty students and school leaders from Hong Kong to tie in with the annual SCEN Student Summit. What a magnificent achievement by our partners schools in Hong Kong and Scotland to bring together so many students/pupils and teachers to share ideas, compare and contrast our cultures, and cultivate lasting friendships.

The overwhelming success of the complex and challenging exchange was due largely to the unstinting and professional leadership in both Hong Kong and Scotland.  Priscilla Koo did a wonderful job in working with her Hong Kong partners in setting up all the arrangements while keeping in ongoing touch with our Edinburgh and Haddington partners. It was special this year to welcome Knox Academy from Eat Lothian to make us truly ‘Scottish’ partnership. Big thanks to our Scottish school leaders for cajoling and persuading host families and friends to look after our Hong Kong students during the week long stay – we owe a large debt to our hosts.  For me, it is the host family experience that makes HKSSIP special.  There is no better way to experience life and work than to live with a local family and attend a local school. It is so enriching the read our Hong Kong students’ daily blogs on our web site, superb insights revealing their thoughts on living in a welcoming and ‘very wet’Scotland! Great photos too with hosts and in-school partners. I urge everyone to study the students’ posters which they created in a very short space of time on Thursday afternoon in the gathering in Boroughmuir High School.

I was very taken by the fact that our group was the largest contingent at the SCEN Summit!  Quite an achievement.   For me the ‘crowning’ moment was the confident, articulate and happy presentation by our students on the big stage of Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Well done!

I am always uneasy about singling out people for special mention but forgive me for saying an extra thanks to just a few people.  Priscilla worked so many hours on our behalf to ensure the success of the visit (and overcoming so many regulations and rules).  Her Principal of Law Ting Pong Secondary School, and our Hong Kong Coordinator, Lancy Tam, has been a great supporter from day one and my thanks to her for the encouragement given to Priscilla (and in previous years to Brian).  Jeff Warden has done a similar job in managing visits to Hong Kong and making sure things work well in Scotland. The two ‘D’s’, Donald and David of James Gillespie’s High School and Boroughmuir High School, have given me unstinting support, and sound advice over the past two to three years in setting up and expanding the partnership.

Let us build on the success of 2019.

Archie McGlynn