Successes and Messages for all of us from Falkirk

09 January 2015

ShanghiWhile their former classmates and friends enter the workplace or continue their education, four sixth year students from Falkirk will spend a year in China, learning Mandarin and seeing a new culture.

Sara Cassidy from Falkirk High and Gao Toole, Nicola Ferguson and Gregor McIntyre, all from Larbert High, have won scholarships to study in Tianjin starting next September. With only 16 places available for the whole of Scotland, competition was tough.

All four are learning Mandarin at Confucius Hub classes at Bo'ness Academy and impressed the selection panel with their language skills.

Sara (17), from Reddingmuirhead, already has unconditional offers to study international business and modern language at Edinburgh and Strathclyde Universities when she returns from the Far East. She thinks studying in China will open doors. The school captain said: China is becoming one of the most powerful countries in the world and many businesses look for applicants to speak Mandarin.

Former Larbert pupil Connor Cloughley is currently on the course after winning a scholarship last year and has been filling in this year's winners on what to expect. Gao (17) from Larbert, hopes to become an international events planner after university. Gao said: "Connor is having a great time and we will all catch up with what he is doing on Facebook.

China-Karst-MountainLanguage whizz Gregor McIntyre from Stenhousemuir is studying for a Baccalaureate in Modern Languages as well as Advanced Highers in Spanish and German and has a Higher in French. He hopes to become a translator or interpreter.

Nicola, from Stenhousemuir, who is interested in teaching English as a second language, said: My dad gets teary every time he thinks about me going - Gregor and I will still only be 17 when we go - but he knows it's an amazing opportunity. We'll be immersed in the culture and it will be a life experience.

Congratulations from SCEN to you and to all the senior students from Scotland's schools who will have the enormous benefit of a Gap Year in China!  Do let us know how you get on.