SMITH'S Hill High School students will take 1000 paper cranes aboard a plane to Japan next week as part of a peace mission.
The students will place the colourful cranes at the foot of a statue in Hiroshima Peace Park which is dedicated to the memory of 12-year-old Japanese girl Sadako Sasaki.
The story of Sadako, who attempted to fold 1000 cranes before she died in 1953 of leukaemia contracted from the World War II bombing of Hiroshima, has inspired children across the globe.
Smith's Hill High School head of language Caroline David said year 10 and 11 students who studied Japanese now made the trip as part of an exchange program each year. This year, 30 students were going.
"Students place the cranes near the statue as a sign of their commitment to world peace," she said.
"Sadako's story engages them with an important global issue, while the trip also allows them to live and breathe the Japanese culture for two weeks."
The students will stay with friends from Smith Hill's sister school - Kitazono High School in Tokyo - who travelled to Wollongong on exchange in August.
Ms David said the senior students were excited about the trip, which would also include visits to other significant sites in Japan such as Himejo Castle and Kinkakuji, a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto.
Year 11 student Mikaela Romelingh said she was looking forward to leaving on Wednesday.
"Hiroshima is such a beautiful place and the idea of world peace that's represented through the cranes is a really beautiful concept," she said. "It's important we show our dedication to world peace."
Ricky Le, in year 11, added: "We've studied the subject for so long so it will be good to embrace the culture by being over there for so long."