Please see the below from Mr Dave Smeath in regards to the GYAP week that took place recently;
The GYAP Experience 7th – 13th July 2019
From Sunday 7th until Saturday 13th July, Stantonbury International School had been hosting 14 children from Zhoucun No 2 Middle School from Shangdong Province, China.
All Chinese students and our Global Youth Ambassadors met for the first time. The rapport and bonding happened instantly between them, with our students welcoming with open arms their buddy for the week. Together, they attended lessons and began the process of getting to know each other. It was truly fantastic to see how a common language was quickly found while our Year 7 MEP students were able to apply their Mandarin skills to teach us, and to introduce themselves to the Chinese students while asking them questions. By the end of the day, friendships had been formed and our Chinese guests had sampled what life is like in a British school.
Having started the morning with tutorial and some lessons, our Chinese guests and our GYA’s showed their creative side by producing some pictures in the style of Picasso. Thank you to Mrs Hodgson for running this, and some great artwork was produced in a style that may not be commonly seen in China.
By the afternoon, the creative spirit was with our group as we took over Mrs Tyrell’s Dance studio. Maggie Kambasha and Listazia Ashitey led, teaching everyone some dance moves. It was a truly wonderful experience to see our students take such a lead to direct others. While shy initially, our Chinese guests got into the swing of things, and by the end were all part of a conga line! An absolute blast and hopefully a lot of great memories made as the group bonded more.
During session 5, there were both Chinese dancing and English dancing. Mr Zhang started with the Chinese dance accompanied by a popular Chinese folk song called 最炫名族风 – the most popular Chinese style. Then the Chinese students also demonstrated the morning exercises that happen every day in the Chinese secondary schools during morning assembly.
This day was an opportunity for us to show case the shopping centre of Milton Keynes. We walked from school into the centre, with our helpful Year 12 students (Laura Evans, Fatema Abbarah, Freya Pollitt, Eamicah Sivathayalan) leading the way.
The walk to and from the Centre MK was the highlight of the week for me. On our journey, I saw our students speaking Mandarin while their Chinese buddy spoke English. The conversations were flowing naturally, and it really highlighted the entire reason why I have involved our school in this adventure. I want our students to become global learners and fulfil our school’s vision to nurture their experience to become global citizens and thrive with a sense of responsibility and leadership.
Of course, the food and entertainment of Centre MK made an exciting time for all!
To celebrate one of our British customs, all Year 10 GYA’s and our Chinese guests enjoyed cream tea together. They made either sweet or savoury scones in our kitchen, under the watchful eye of Mrs Bishop. Cooking has a way of bringing people together, and I know that we introduced a tasty treat to our Chinese guests’ diet as I saw lots of empty plates and satisfied smiles.
After break, we had a session for the Chinese students to teach film subtitles to the British students with support from the teacher. Students, both Chinese and British, were impressed by the film about the secondary school life in China. They not only learned about the differences between the schools and educational situations, but also got to discover the commonalities that are shared in these two different cultures.
Good food was definitely the theme of the day as we shared some traditional dumplings and juice for our lunch. John Rolfe, Head of Education from the British Council was also present to share in this feast. He gave Mrs Underwood a plaque in recognition of her international work with Erasmus, and it was a privilege for us to showcase the collaboration of Great Britain and China as our children learn from each other. Year 7 MEP students impressed us all with their singing of 手牵手 – hand in hand, a testament to the great work that Mr Zhang has done as he had created the lyrics for this special moment of the song being sung in two languages in tandem.
The day of farewells and goodbyes. An emotional day for all as Chinese students and GYA’s shared a song and a tear. Having attended some lessons and listened to our Year 7 MEP students speak about the UK, Mrs Newman came to present certificates and gifts to our Chinese visitors. We had another song from our MEP students and a Chinese speech to go with it. Our GYA’s also exchanged gifts and will hopefully build on this newfound friendship in years to come.
For me personally, this week has reaffirmed why I am an educator. To bring two great nations children together in a place where politics had no place was something special. Every student involved will take something from this week and will probably never forget it. Children are children wherever they are from, and only through meeting and having the chance to get to know each other and our cultures, can they create a peaceful world of understanding that we probably all want to live in.
If you have been involved in the programme in any way, I truly thank you. We have started a new tradition here at Stantonbury International School, something that I hope will grow.