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Spice boys bond in style

- Taste of all things Indian for Chinese students

Hot and fluffy luchis for breakfast, spices from New Market to take home — 10 students from a Kunming school bonded with St. Xavier’s boys over food and more.

The group of 10 from Shida Fuzhong High School was the third batch of Chinese students to visit the city in as many years as part of an exchange programme with St. Xavier’s Collegiate School.

During their week-long stay in the city, the boys from China were hosted by Class XI students of St. Xavier’s school at their homes to give the visitors a taste of the Indian way of life.

“My brother ended up liking our spicy food so much that he bought 80 packets of spices from the local markets,” said Zahid Khan of Xavier’s.

For Yu Chengze or Robin (every Chinese boy was given an easier Christian name) having luchi was the best treat. “I loved them. I also bought wooden idols from New Market,” he said in broken English.

Communication was a problem initially but the language of love brought the Indian and Chinese boys together. “Both me and my brother Rohan are very outgoing. So we would enjoy going out together as well as helping each other out in studies,” chipped in Wang Zicheng or Homer.

The boys also visited the Missionaries of Charity, Jorasanko, Belur Math and Science City besides spending a day at Tajpur. “We took part in adventure sports and participated in many bonding activities,” said Siddharta Das, one of the teachers in charge of the Chinese exchange programme.

“It was a wonderful experience to go around Calcutta. It is very different from our country,” said English teacher Alisha, who along with three of her colleagues had accompanied the boys.

The boys also attended school with their Indian brothers. “The school timings are shorter here but the lectures are not very easy. Everybody speaks such good English in Calcutta,” said Que Iunyi or Ian.

The visitors were given a grand farewell by the St. Xavier’s boys last weekend. The Chinese boys matched steps with the Xaverians to the tune of Dhitang dhitang bole.

If cultural exchange was the focus of the Chinese boys’ visit, 15 Irish students hosted by St. Xavier’s have their heart in social services.

The 18th batch of Irish students are here as part of an exchange programme with Belvedere College, Dublin. From visiting rural Bengal to helping out at a drug rehabilitation centre, soup kitchens and primary schools, these boys have done it all. They are also accompanied by four teachers.