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'Pigeons not lions!'

Trent College South Africa exchange proves eye opener for students experiencing education abroad

Posted by Stephanie Broad | November 06, 2015 | International

Trent College, exchange programmes, education, international , South Africa, independent schools

Four South African students recently enjoyed a three-week exchange studying at Trent College. 

The visit was part of a new cultural exchange programme between Trent College and Crawford College, La Lucia in Durban, for participating students to sample school life and education in another country while experiencing differences and similarities in family life, language, lifestyle and surroundings. Four Trent College students completed their exchange visit to Durban during the summer holidays. 

While boarding was something new to the South African students, the young visitors experienced other significant differences too - not least in the respective histories of the two countries but also subjects studied, such as Psychology and Spanish, sports played, like badminton, and the local wildlife with pigeons in contrast to lions.

Yet the ‘home away from home’ feeling was never far away, and the South Africans all described their exchange as ‘life changing’. 

Student Georgia Fritsch said: “An exchange is a great way of testing your independence and you should be flexible and confident to understand how different schooling systems work and how different people live. I’ve grown and learnt so much about myself.”

Kiera Lander continued: “I’m leaving with not just an education, but a soul change. There were so many differences, but not in the way I’d assumed. I truly understood what unique really meant as I realised that even in two countries so different to each other, people are people, no matter where you go." 

Trent College pupils, Will Garner, Rudi Reed, Pip Ryder and Romani Kakad with teacher Mr Keri Price, spent three weeks at Crawford La Lucia. Their in-school highlights included trying languages such as Zulu and Afrikaans and discovering new literature, like South African playwright and novelist Athol Fugard’s ‘Hello and Goodbye’.

The students stayed with families and got to experience local life around Durban on South Africa’s east coast, taking in the big game safari and visiting a crocodile farm.

Will said: “My experience in South Africa met and vastly exceeded my expectations. We had free choice about what we did during the school day. I decided to try out some of the classes and it proved a great way to make new friends and enjoy new experiences. We also frequently received sympathy about the ‘cold Durban winter’, but I had a tip for our visitors before heading to England in September - bring a lot of coats!" 

Mr Paul Taylor, Deputy Head (Academic) at Trent College, established the exchange. He believes it has shown real value in its first year, saying: “I hope 2015 marks the beginning of a strong and long-lasting relationship with our new friends at Crawford College. The chance to live and study in a different culture can be life changing for pupils on both sides. We look forward to selecting our 2016 exchange pupils shortly.”    

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