Over the September term break, I was fortunate to join 22 of our students from Years 8, 9 and 10 participating in the China Study Tour with staff members Miss Jennifer Molloy, Mrs Sue Collister and Miss Winnie Xie. The opportunity to view the Chinese culture through the eyes of 14 and 15 year-old girls was both refreshing and invigorating for me. Although I only joined the tour party for the final four days, I enjoyed observing their growing interest in the rich Chinese culture and heritage, together with an understanding of the sheer scale of the Chinese population, escalating economy and global business opportunities. For me, travelling with our girls was quite simply ‘good fun’. I found myself enjoying, laughing with and appreciating the company of my new travel companions and a great reminder of why, as Principal, I went into teaching 30 years ago!

Together, we travelled to the beautiful city of Hangzhou to visit our partner school, the Olive Tree International Academy. As a private school in China, the Olive Tree International Academy is extremely well equipped with an extraordinary list of facilities to accommodate a mostly western based curriculum: Performing Arts, Fencing, Kayaking, Athletics, Ceramics, Squash, Robotics and Botany Studies, to name a few. Our girls also enjoyed reconnecting with students, all well versed with spoken English, who had visited St Catherine’s earlier this year, in July. I am pleased to report on the success of the emerging partnership with the Olive Tree International Academy and the possibilities of future Study Tours and Exchanges for our students and staff that can only enhance our global perspective and understanding. The city of Hangzhou is one of the most renowned and prosperous cities in China, with the beautiful West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its best-known attraction.

The 10-day Study Tour had commenced in Beijing, where the girls had witnessed the historically significant preparations for the forthcoming ceremony and military parade for the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in Tiananmen Square. The Study Tour also included a vigorous hike along The Great Wall of China, a visit to the 14th century palace complex of the Forbidden City and exploration of the Terracotta Warriors in the city of Xi’an. The final days of the Study Tour were spent in the city of Shanghai where the girls loved their exciting evening boat cruise along The Bund and electrifying skyline of the city, visiting the Silk Factory, learning the etiquette for tea ceremonies and, finally, their shopping ventures to the local markets.

I was impressed with how confidently our girls travelled throughout China, embracing the cultural differences with curiosity, interest and respect. I also treasured the girls’ adventurous spirit in tasting new food, at times, more courageous than my somewhat conservative ventures. My joy and pleasure of joining this Study Tour with our younger girls will remain for me a highlight of the year.

The 2020 Study Tours were recently released to our students and their families and I am pleased to showcase the opportunities for our students to enrich and enhance the educational programs at St Catherine’s. This exciting range of opportunities will afford many girls the chance to study abroad in one of our Partner Schools or to strengthen their academic study through adventurous travel as a member of a St Catherine’s School Study Tour to Italy, France, United Kingdom or the United States of America.

As an essential component of the School’s Strategic Intent – Vision 2020, our students are encouraged to contribute to the wider community, explore opportunities and develop a deep understanding of their responsibilities within their local, national and international communities. Developing an understanding of the diversity of cultures that exist today enables girls to place their learning within a global perspective and to effectively move their learning outside of the classroom.

The St Catherine’s Global Programs provide exceptional opportunities for secondary students and aims to:

  • Offer a range of academic and cultural opportunities to place learning within a broader global perspective.
  • Encourage the development of resilience and taking responsibility for one’s actions.
  • The opportunity to experience life in another country and develop an understanding of global citizenship.
  • Promote open-mindedness, leading to new thinking and the desire to effect change.
  • Encourage the development of respectful relationships and to value the diversity of our global network.
  • Nurture an appreciation of, and respect for, social, cultural and religious diversity.
Time Study Program Year Levels

Year 9 Exchange Program

UK, Canada and USA Partner Schools

Year 9, 2020
April 2020

Arts Faculty Program

Italy Arts Study Tour

Years 10-12, 2020
April 2020

Outdoor Education Programs

Duke of Edinburgh Expedition

Years 10 & 11, 2020
Host in March and Travel to USA in April

USA Cultural Experience

(formerly known as Year 10 Exchange)

Year 10, 2020
July 2020

Global Young Leaders Conference

New York

Year 11, 2020
July 2020

Oxbridge Program

Oxford and Cambridge Universities

Year 11, 2020
July/August 2020

Heyington to Highlands Program


Year 9, 2020

Host in Term 3, Travel to France in December/January


Language Faculty Programs

French Language Immersion Exchange

Years 10 & 11, 2020

Host in Term 3, Travel to Japan in December/January


Language Faculty Programs

Japanese Language Immersion Exchange

Years 10 & 11, 2020
Host in Term 3, Travel to China in December/January

Language Faculty Programs

Chinese Language Immersion Exchange

Years 10 & 11, 2020
September 2020

Science Faculty Program

NASA Space Camp

Years 10 & 11, 2020
December 2020

Humanities Faculty Program

Ancient History Study Tour

Years 9 -11, 2020
Michelle Carroll

Mrs Michelle Carroll