Students in Shanghai devote a lot more time to their studies than pupils in Hong Kong, say a group of youngsters who visited the mainland city recently on a study trip. The cultural exchange programme between China and the territory was one of the summer activities organised by the Student Council of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians Siu Ming Catholic Secondary School. Seventeen students and three teachers travelled to Shanghai. The students said they chose Shanghai because 'it is a big city, and also safer than other, rural, parts of China'. They wanted a glimpse of the 'more prosperous side of China', after reading in the newspapers about so much poverty and suffering following earthquakes and floods. 'Nanjing Road in Shanghai is just like Causeway Bay in Hong Kong,' said one of the students. 'There are plenty of fashion boutiques and shops along the boulevard selling all kinds of trendy products.' The visitors discovered that although Shanghai had much in common with Hong Kong - both being bustling, prosperous cities - there were also big differences, such as the attitude to studies found among youngsters. During a visit to a high school the Hong Kong students noted that the young Shanghainese seemed 'innocent, and lived a simple life'. 'They are very dedicated to their school life and studies seem to be the most important thing in their lives,' said one of the girls. 'They don't have extra-curricular activities as we do in Hong Kong. They don't even go shopping on Nanjing Road.' The Siu Ming students said the young Shanghainese spend most of their time at home, either reading or practising music. 'They are very musical-minded over there, and many of them learn to play musical instruments.' Asked if students in Hong Kong enjoyed a better life here with so much in the way of entertainment and other opportunities, the Siu Ming girls said they thought Shanghai had a superior quality of life. Another student said that thanks to the Chinese Government's one-child policy, mainland youngsters had a good, secure family life and enjoyed their parents' full attention and care. Although the young Shanghainese seemed to have some advantages, they still lacked a balance in their lives, the Hong Kong students said. Studying should be only a part of life, they said and pointed out that Hong Kong students took part in various extra-curricular activities that helped them discover new things and enhanced their all-round development. The students said they learned a lot from the trip and it changed their perception of China.