Im­pact­ful cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - BRIGHT KIDS -

SUN­WAY In­ter­na­tional School ( SIS) reg­u­larly en­cour­ages learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties be­yond the class­room.

In De­cem­ber 2015, this idea took flight when SIS brought a group of stu­dents and staff to South Korea last year to launch its flag­ship SIS Abroad pro­gramme.

Es­sen­tially a stu­dent cul­tural ex­change pro­gramme, SIS Abroad is a two- week study abroad pro­gramme de­vel­oped by Sun­way In­ter­na­tional School to pro­vide in­ter­na­tional learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for its stu­dents in three key ar­eas – col­lege- readi­ness, cul­ture and cit­i­zen­ship.

The SIS Abroad ex­change pro­gramme con­sisted of en­gag­ing on- site learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, com­bined with Korean lan­guage classes at Kyunghwa Girls’ High School and English Busi­ness High School, cul­tural tours of his­tor­i­cal sites, nat­u­ral at­trac­tions and Seoul city, as well as spend­ing an un­for­get­table Christ­mas at a Korean home­s­tay for an au­then­tic lo­cal ex­pe­ri­ence.

In pi­lot­ing this in­au­gu­ral study abroad ses­sion, SIS teach­ers had a say over the ed­u­ca­tional con­tent and cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences that stu­dents were ex­posed to, en­sur­ing a well- rounded and holis­tic bal­ance of dis­cov­ery and so­cial­i­sa­tion.

Hence, par­tic­i­pants were pre­sented with a pro­gramme that in­cluded class­room ses­sions in Korean ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions for in­tro­duc­tory lessons in the Korean lan­guage, ex­ploratory ex­cur­sions to cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal sites to fully ab­sorb and ap­pre­ci­ate their sig­nif­i­cance, and small group dis­cus­sions to en­hance stu­dents’ in­ter­cul­tural knowl­edge and aware­ness of global con­cerns.

Stu­dents also had the op­por­tu­nity to visit a pop­u­lar amuse­ment park and spend the Christ­mas hol­i­days with their Korean home­s­tay hosts.

“Ul­ti­mately, we want our stu­dents to im­merse them­selves in an­other cul­ture. Through liv­ing with their host fam­i­lies, they get ac­quainted with, un­der­stand and fully ap­pre­ci­ate the norms and unique­ness of Korean cul­ture,” says Vanessa Yates, one of the teacher fa­cil­i­ta­tors who su­per­vised the trip.

SIS Abroad al­lows stu­dents to learn about them­selves and the world and what it means to be a global ci­ti­zen.

Par­tic­i­pants in the pro­gramme gain many pow­er­ful lessons through­out the ex­change, which pave the first steps to learn­ing about cit­i­zen­ship.

“What cap­tured my at­ten­tion most through­out the trip was how ev­ery­one we met were af­fec­tion­ate, ac­cept­ing and warm, each shar­ing with us parts of their iden­tity. The cul­ture has grown to be­come glob­ally recog­nised and more ad­vanced in tech­nol­ogy than many other coun­tries around the world. I thor­oughly en­joyed the whole­heart­ed­ness of the staff and stu­dents at Kyunghwa School, the tra­di­tional games, short Korean phrases and wheat- in­fused food. It is an ex­pe­ri­ence I’ll never for­get,” shares Grade 11 par­tic­i­pant Hay­ley Lee Sue Jean.

The learn­ing the stu­dents take away with them from SIS Abroad en­dows them with a sense of ap­pre­ci­a­tion and ac­cep­tance for their dif­fer­ences, and find­ing traits in com­mon to unite and learn in har­mony and mu­tual re­spect.

SIS as­pires to have stu­dents who can iden­tify with be­ing part of an emerg­ing bor­der­less world, who can eas­ily adapt and as­sim­i­late into a wider com­mu­nity and whose ac­tions con­trib­ute to en­rich­ing the com­mu­nity’s val­ues and prac­tices.

By re­spect­ing oth­ers, valu­ing them­selves and hon­our­ing ideas and opin­ions, th­ese stu­dents are walk­ing ex­am­ples of the school’s val­ues and cre­ate a learn­ing com­mu­nity that is re­spect­ful, car­ing and in­clu­sive.

Learn how your child can be part of SIS’ in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity by vis­it­ing the SIS Par­ent Info Ses­sion from March 5 to 19 from 10am on­wards.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit sis. sun­way. edu. my/ PIS or call 03- 7491 8070.

Stu­dents trav­elled to South Korea un­der the SIS Abroad ex­change pro­gramme.

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