Home' Independence : Independence Vol 36 No 2 Oct 2011 Contents LEARNING & TEACHING
environmental and cultural studies. As
part of our community service program
at Year 10, students have an opportunity
to travel to Laos and work in an
orphanage. Firbank also participates in
the Pilgrimage of Hope to India in the
January holiday period.
· We have a robust exchange program. I
am very encouraging of students taking
advantage of programs run by outside
agencies. We have a good relationship
with several agencies and are willing to
host students at Firbank, particularly
from families where our girls have
One of the benefits of connecting well
beyond the school gates to the wider
world is that we have the opportunity to
welcome students and staff from other
schools. Our sister school in Japan, Kinjo
Gakuin, visited us in July. We have had
this relationship for more than 15 years
and alternate visits between our schools.
Our diverse program is managed
through a collaborative team which
includes the Deputy Principal and Head
of Senior School, Ms Jo Field, Director
of Curriculum, Mrs Wendy Grant, and
Rosalba Genua-Petrovic, Director of
Languages at International Grammar
School offers these tips for cultural
· Carefully select your exchange schools.
IGS selects schools through personal
contacts and builds a relationship
through preliminary visits to the schools.
· Carefully select your own students. The
IGS selection panel knows the students.
We have strict and transparent selection
criteria and points of understanding.
· Reciprocity is essential to the scheme.
Any IGS family wishing their son or
daughter to go on exchange must
reciprocate the hospitality, entertainment
and costs which have been extended to
our students. Make sure host families
are geared up to provide the experience
they would wish for their own child.
· Help students prepare with sessions on
coping strategies. Hold a debrief session
after the exchange.
· Pay attention to logistics – the travel
arrangements, insurance cover and
family contact details at both ends.
· Establish a relationship with one trusted
· Students and their parents need to
show commitment and sign a student
· Provide real support to the students. It can
be scary for them to be overseas without
family, even if they do have good language
skills. Designate a staff member in each
school, here and overseas, to look after
the welfare of the exchange students.
· Set an assignment (in both languages)
asking the students to move beyond
language and cultural differences and
reflect on how their own identity sits in
this new world.
· Make cultural exchange part of the
school’s fabric and timetable. Establish it
so younger students look forward to it,
then there’s no need to find the numbers
or come up with new schools or plans.
SUCCESSFUL CULTURAL EXCHANGE
the appropriate Head of Department
of Language, Music or Sport. A
process exists where a tour is proposed
and approved a full year ahead and
expressions of interest from students
Dr Anne Sarros
Principal, Firbank Grammar School
Highview Christian Community College
is a coeducational day school with 500
students from Years 7 to 12. Principal:
Mrs Julie Baud.
During the 2011 April holidays 15
students and two staff members from
Highview College in central Victoria flew
out of Melbourne to land amid the heat,
chaos and motorbikes of Ho Chi Minh
City in Vietnam. A first for the College,
the trip was organised through i-to-i
Volunteer and Adventure Travel and was
designed to allow students to participate
in voluntary community service work.
The first project students worked on was
a government project just outside the
city of My Tho in Mekong. The project
provides housing for those on a Poverty
Register and who, over time, have
proven themselves to be good citizens.
There was not one piece of modern
equipment on the building site;
everything was achieved with intense
manual labour aided by the creativity
and skills of the local builders. The staff
and students surprised themselves as they
turned their hand to digging, carting,
shovelling, cementing and bricklaying.
After four days of hard work, the
students and staff were able to stand
back and see the beginnings of a home,
satisfied in the knowledge that they had
significantly reduced the construction
time for the house.
The second project involved work at
Dieu Giac Temple Orphanage in Ho
Chi Minh City. There are 150 children
at the orphanage, ranging in age from a
few months to 18 years. Students spent
60 Independence Vol 36 No 2 Oct 11
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