KENT's Global Immersion
By Nicole Marvin, Courtesy of Kent News
A delegation of twelve French students and three teachers recently represented Kent School, as well as the United States of America, at an international congress held at Collège Sainte-Anne in Montreal, Quebec. Kent usually participates in a small annual student exchange program with Sainte-Anne’s, but this year, in celebration of its 150th anniversary, Sainte-Anne’s invited schools from around the world to send delegations to this cultural sharing experience. In total, over 150 students from five continents were in attendance for the five-day congress.
The congress provided ample learning opportunities for our Kent representatives. Since Sainte-Anne’s is a French-speaking school, the Kent students worked throughout their stay to improve their French-speaking skills. While regularly scheduled classes met, the international students participated in activities including a leadership seminar, a Model United Nations simulation, musical presentations, and sightseeing. On the opening day, ice-breaking activities helped form the beginnings of friendships. As the week progressed, the students began work preparing for a Model UN activity. The research efforts culminated in a simulation of a UN congress, whose procedures for presenting each country’s position and proposing amendments gave students an idea about how real UN meetings operate. The simulation illustrated the difficulties of achieving international cooperation. Ebob Besong ’12 explains that she was “impressed with the diversity” and enjoyed interacting with students from different schools.
The Kent delegates agreed that the presentation by guest speaker, Craig Kielburger, was a trip highlight. Kielburger is the founder of Free the Children, an organization with goals of ending child slavery and providing education to people in poverty worldwide in order to achieve sustainable relief. His inspirational tale of how he started making a difference in the world at the young age of twelve moved the audience and earned him a standing ovation. In continuation of the theme of service, the students engaged in a leadership seminar in which they discussed causes they were passionate about and developed plans to support those causes that they would implement at their own schools.
Sainte-Anne’s also provided our Kent delegates with an afternoon of sightseein,- a tour of Montreal covered downtown, the business district, and Old Montreal. The delegates also sampled traditional Quebec fare at a sugar shack outside the city. The multi-course, family-style meal included soup, several meats, an omelet and dessert. Everything was served with maple syrup, and everyone agreed the food was delicious.
The immersion in Quebec culture also included a home stay. Each Kent student was paired with a host student from Sainte-Anne’s and stayed with his or her family for the entirety of the trip. After spending the school day at Sainte-Anne’s, the Kent students left with their host students. The hosts were generous and welcoming and had planned their own excursions to further allow their guests to enjoy Montreal. Some students went downtown to experience the city’s nightlife. Others watched their hosts compete in sporting events, and a few even attended a professional hockey game. “My host was amazing," says Ally Eiger ’11. "We really bonded and learned a lot about the Quebecois culture.”
The successes of the conference included breaking down language barriers and discovering the similarities Kent shares with other schools. Ms. Thomsen explains that her time was well-spent “finding ways to continue these exchanges” beyond the one week of the conference. Perhaps the best measure of success is the fact that students and teachers alike bonded with delegates from around the world.
Updates from Mrs. Benjamin while in Montreal
Bonjour! Our students settled in yesterday with their host families, and have been treated very well; some even had chocolates on their pillows and baskets of toiletries and snacks in their room! Wilson Ho went skating with his host, even though he's really never been skating, and Ally Eiger went out for smoked meat, which is an essential thing to do in Montreal. The conference today was very impressive, starting with a parade of all of the visiting schools throughout the College Ste. Anne--with 1700 students, they were all seated in three gyms and an auditorium, with telecasting of the auditorium's presentations to each area. An amazing feat of organization, sort of like getting the whole town of Kent and Kent School to all sit down and be quiet at the same time.
Today we saw an art exhibit by Ste. Anne students and heard a presentation about using technology, such as Skype and Via, in the classroom. Our afternoon activity was "Speed Networking." It was a chance to rotate and talk to the teachers from the different delegations. We had some fascinating conversations with the Belgians, Senegalese, Australians, and others. Emily Yeterian's host family is taking her to a Canadiens hockey game tonight. We didn't run into our students as much today, but they all seemed happy when we saw them at breakfast!
Day Three and Four
Well, we're still working hard, but today we got to get out with our students and their Ste. Anne hosts to explore the city a bit. We were able to visit the Belvedere in the Parc Mont-Royal. The students also participated in a Model UN activity today. Tomorrow there will be a Closing Ceremony with brief remarks by one teacher and one student from each school; we have chosen Emily Yeterian as the student. It's been a great experience!
KENT's Global Immersion Photo Gallery KENT's Global Immersion Photo Gallery KENT's Global Immersion Photo Gallery KENT's Global Immersion Photo Gallery KENT's Global Immersion Photo Gallery KENT's Global Immersion Photo Gallery