St Paul's Girls Win Trip of a Lifetime

Students off to Beijing after winning Mandarin Chinese Competition

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Alexandra Dhome-Casanova

St Paul's Girls' School

British Council

Schools in Hamersmith and Fulham

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Seven students from St Paul’s Girls' School in Hammersmith have won the trip of a lifetime to Beijing after coming out top in the national final of the British Council and HSBC’s Mandarin Chinese Speaking Competition.

Poppy Boyd-Taylor, Lisa Ragunathan, Alysa Dhar, Anoushka Patel, Savannah Murphy and Miranda Shaw won the group category after impressing judges with their language skills in the grand final held at the British Museum on February 3.

In a double win for St Paul’s, their fellow student Alexandra Dhome-Casanova also took first prize in the intermediate level of the individual competition, and will join them in China.

The nationwide competition aims to encourage greater interest in Chinese language and culture – which is vital to the UK’s future prosperity.

The competition is aimed at students who are non-native speakers, who have started learning Mandarin Chinese recently. The lucky winners from each category will visit China this Easter, where they will scale China's Great Wall, explore Beijing's Forbidden City, and enjoy cultural activities with Chinese students at local schools.

The British Council and HSBC have worked together to run the competition since 2003. The British Council builds relationships for the UK through English, Education and Culture, and already links around 43,000 pupils and teachers in the UK and China.

HSBC invests in education programmes across the world. They focus on helping young people reach their potential through: access to education; promoting international and cultural understanding; and developing life-skills and entrepreneurship. Since 2000, HSBC has supported more than 1,000 UK schools host teachers from China to help children learn more about the language and Chinese culture.

After receiving her certificate, Alexandra said: " I'm delighted the standard was really high! I can’t wait to go to China – even more so because I’ll be going with fellow students from St Paul’s Girls' school."

Simon Martin, Head of Global Corporate Sustainability at HSBC said: " The competition highlights the importance of cross-cultural understanding and gives young people from the UK an opportunity to develop and improve their Chinese language skills. We are delighted to continue supporting the competition and continue encouraging young people to learn about China."

The team in action during the competition

February 7, 2014