Teen bound for China
This time next week Kirsten Porter will be in the heart of Beijing.
The 16-year-old has been selected as one of only four New Zealanders to attend the 2013 China Global Positioning Summer Programme.
The 12-day course will be an experience of a lifetime for the aspiring law student.
The James Hargest College pupil was encouraged to apply for the trip by her accounting teacher and after an extensive application, including an essay, she was finally interviewed via Skype before finally being offered a position.
About 50 students from the Americas, South East Asia, New Zealand and the United States will take part in the course, with the focus being around China's growth and leadership in the 21st century.
Miss Porter said it would be an educational experience and she was looking forward to it, despite having to prepare a 90-minute presentation on New Zealand's economy.
The course will be based at the the School of Foreign Studies of the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing and the students will rub shoulders with diplomats, journalists and business leaders in the city.
But amongst all the work and learning there was also time for sightseeing, with the students being taken to the Great Wall of China, Olympic Park and the Forbidden City.
Despite not knowing a word of Chinese, the year 12 student is not nervous about her trip and planned to make the most of the opportunity and hopefully lifelong friends.
''It hasn't really seemed real until just recently and I've began counting down the days.''
The Southland Times