Forget the big B.C. mens provincial championships coming to town next week for a minute — volunteers at Parksville Curling Club were out on the ice on Tuesday introducing the game to a group of enthusiastic Chinese students.
On hand was Ballenas Secondary School (BSS) athletics director John Philip who explained the 25 students and their team leader/teacher Sarah Yang, arrived in the area last Sunday and were booked to spend a week here attending classes at BSS.
This is the first time to Canada for all of them, and Yang said while they had only just arrived, her students “all feel happy here; everyone (is) very friendly.”
“Life is very different here,” she observed. “In China it’s very fast, very busy.”
Curling she says was on their ‘to-do’ list because while her country does compete internationally in the sport, curling is not accessible to the masses.
Back home in China she adds, “we have six working days,” and explains that school there starts at 7 a.m. and runs through to 4 p.m.
That’s school for the younger students. School runs through to 6:20 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. for the older ones.
They did a quick tour of the University of British Columbia before coming to the Island and will hit Simon Fraser University in Burnaby before they head east to spend two days in Montreal and another three days in Toronto.
All the students are in Grade 10 and part of the Canadian Offshore School Progam run out of Changchun Shiyi Secondary School in Changchun, Jilin Province.
That school, Yang said, has an enrolment of around 7,000 students.