Coming face to face with a Komodo dragon, teaching students a new game in an orphanage in West Timor, staying with a family for three weeks on the shores of Lake Geneva and living in a Chinese boarding school in Shanghai. These are some of the opportunities that Wesley students have as Languages students!
Languages learning enables our students to connect across borders, across cultures and across families. When we really know someone, through speaking their language and being able to learn more about them, we begin to care more about them. Enabling our students to speak other languages affords our students the opportunity to really know and care about other people and other lives in the world and to feel connected to a much bigger community. It opens doors to other ways of knowing, being and living and for our students to learn the vital skills of empathy and intercultural understanding. We know that our students will need these skills to work (virtually and physically) and live alongside friends and colleagues who don’t have the same cultural background as them.
We also know that, ‘complex global issues like climate change, economic inequality or urban poverty are not going to be resolved with technical fixes or individuals working in isolation; they require new ways of thinking and acting and leading’1. Wesley Languages students are well placed to do the thinking, acting and leading required for the future.
Over the past year, our students have had the opportunity of participating in the China immersion and home stay experience, the France/Switzerland exchange program and the Service Learning and Languages tour to Indonesia. These experiences are part of the fabric of the College. We also receive students, particularly from France who are, in turn, on exchange with students in our school. Robyn Landau (Year 11 Noah’s mother) said, ‘I never would have imagined how wonderful this experience would be for us all. The boys have made friends for life but in Noah’s case, in his words, he has a new brother and is definitely counting down to the next part of the adventure- the trip to France’.
It is imperative to connect school communities globally to ensure students can see they are part of a global community. At Wesley College we have taken this to heart.
1. Educating for Global Leadership; A North- South Collaboration. 2015 Nicholas V.Longo and Janice McMillan
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