A training programme has enabled a group of teenagers to become more aware of their shortcomings and improved their self-confidence and communication skills. Thirty students from seven secondary schools took part in the six-day programme, organised by the Boys' and Girls' Club Association of Hong Kong, to Qingdao in the mainland. May Chan Siu-mei, school social worker for the association, said the aim of the activity was to enhance the self-confidence of the teenagers who were either having problems with their studies, behaviour, family relationships or emotions. 'In fact, these students would not be normally chosen by schools to go on such trips be cause of their lesser abilities. This is a valuable opportunity for them to get exposure to the outside world and prove that the others are wrong,' she said. Second former Ho Sai-bo, 14, from Liu Po Shan Memorial College, said: 'I became more active and brave after the trip because I realised that I am as good as the others.' Sai-bo, who was shy especially in front of a crowd, said he was no longer an introverted character. 'Now I can stand up and speak loudly. I will take more extra-curricular activities which I had skipped earlier.' Yip Ming-ming, 16, a fourth former from TWGHs S C Gaw Memorial College who acted as a volunteer during the trip, said she was happy to live and work together with fellow students who had various problems. 'It was a challenge for me to communicate and share my experiences with them,' Ming-ming said. The youths had attended Putonghua lessons and honed their organisational skills prior to the visit. In Qingdao, they visited an orphanage, an industrial estate and educational institutions, and learned farming techniques from residents. Group leader Lai Chui-ling, a sixth former from Ho Lap College, said: 'We not only unearthed the customs of Qingdao, but also our potential.' Terence Chow Yin-yan, 17, a Form Five student at Po Leung Kuk 1983 Board of Directors' College, said he had wonderful memories of the visit. 'I had emotional problems before, but now I have learned how to communicate with others as well as built up my self-confidence.' Yin-yan said he enjoyed painting in the city square, and tried to observe people's activities and what they needed. The students will hold a joint exhibition comprising paintings, photographs, videos, essays and other presentations of their visit to the mainland.