PUPILS got a taste of China when they travelled thousands of miles on a cultural exchange trip.

A group of 26 youngsters and three staff from Whitworth Park School and Sixth Form College, in Spennymoor, visited their partner school in Shijiazhuang, near Beijing, during the Easter break.

They observed lessons, joined their Chinese counterparts for tea in their family homes and visited some of the country’s most iconic landmarks including the Great Wall of China, The Emperor’s Summer Palace and Beihai Park.

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They also sampled traditional cuisine from a refined tea tasting ceremony to questionable delicacies served up at night markets.

Owen Ellis, 13, was one of those who stepped up to test his taste-buds by eating a scorpion.

He said: “I ate it because my dad said he would pay me a tenner to eat one so I did.

“It was by far the most interesting place I’ve been.”

Charlotte Major, 13, added: “The Chinese people were very excited to see us, they were very nice, welcoming and generous.”

Teacher Stan Bedwell said that the trip, along with hosting 52 children from Shijiazhuang’s School 41 in July, will enrich and expand pupils’s cultural horizons and break down barriers.

He said: “We can learn a lot from the Chinese people, they are very courteous and welcoming and they tend to be healthy.

“Our education systems are different, we can learn a lot from each other.

“It is important to break down barriers for the next generation.”