Go Beyond. Expand your Horizons.
The ISP International Learning Opportunities for Students

At the International Schools Partnership (ISP), learning is at the heart of everything we do, and we want to continually provide the best learning opportunities possible for our students and their families. We believe that as part of our students’ learning journey it is important that they have the chance to experience learning outside of the classroom and connect with other ISP students from around the world. This news article talks about the development of the International Learning Opportunities for Students (ILOS) over the last few years and what students, staff and families can expect for this year’s wide variety of programmes.


What they say

Over the last few years students, staff and families have consistently fed back on just how valuable they have found our ILOS programmes and why they have such a tangible learning benefit for ISP students who take part. You can read some of their testimonials below:

I have really valued the experience and it was all new for me. I think these activities change the way students perceive education. It is definitely an innovative way to teach and change education as we know it.

I think the VBEP has been going really well and I have already made two new friends. I enjoyed meeting new people and learning about their interests and culture. It was a unique experience and I look forward for our next video calls.

It’s an experience that will change your life, from debating with other countries to making long-lasting Friendships.


I wanted to take part because I saw it as an opportunity to learn new cultures, meet new people and get to know about different schools.

Students learn a new way to live. From a personal point of view, it’s a really amazing way to grow, because they experience being away from home, in a different culture, and obviously it enhances their language skills.

From small beginnings

The chance for students to experience learning outside of the classroom and connect with other ISP students from other schools around the world was and still is a key pillar of ISP. Given that goal and ambition for our students, we launched three founding programmes – The ISP Buddy Exchange Programme, the ISP MUN and the ISP International Summer Camp. These international programmes gave students the opportunity to learn about new cultures and experiences that would open their minds to different ways of thinking and being. Importantly, through our global learning community, students were able to travel, meet in person, see historical and cultural sites in foreign countries, take part in the programmes and learn from each other. Through those connections many students created close bonds with each other. Close bonds that became friendships that remain in place today.


Pandemic struggles bring more learning opportunities

These in-person, travel-based programmes were challenged by the pandemic in 2020 through the restrictions put in place by countries around the world. In-person programmes that had long been planned were abruptly cancelled with the safety of our students and staff being our top priority. However, that didn’t stop our ambition for students to continue their international learning journeys – particularly at a time when connection, empathy and global awareness were needed more than ever. Together, teachers, staff and students quickly adapted to virtual international learning opportunities with the Buddy Exchange Programme temporarily giving way to the new Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme (in fact these are now too distinct cornerstone programmes due to the popularity of both) as well as virtual versions of the ISP MUN, a pilot online ISP Chess Competition and a host of new virtual programmes for the 2020-21 academic year.


2020-21 – More programmes, more diversity, more global learning

Last academic year, thousands of ISP students from fifteen different countries connected not only through those three programmes but many new ones that were designed to diversify our offering to students and across a wider age range. Our new programmes for 2020-21 included:

  • The new Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme (after a very successful pilot programme) that enabled more students from more schools to connect across cultures and countries through virtual meet-ups and learning projects guided by school Virtual Buddy Exchange Coordinators. Between April and June 130 students from 39 schools in 12 countries took part.
  • The very popular ISP Maths Challenge that saw almost 9,500 students from 46 schools take part in a competition with prizes, creating a real buzz not only through the activities and challenges on the online Mathletics platform but also through a competition-linked social media contest.
  • The uniquely creative and engaging ISP Film Festival that showcased the many talents of our budding student filmmakers. 222 students from 32 schools made 33 films and the programme was rounded off by an online awards ceremony in recognition of students’ film-making achievements.
  • The return of the ISP MUN in a virtual format that included 231 student delegates from 40 schools who honed their debate and diplomatic skills. Students benefited from the added learning experience of UN staff, NGO leaders and top university researchers visiting each committee to answer their questions.
  • The I am an ISP Scientist programme that partnered with Ellipsis Earth to allow students to become part of a real-world STEM research project mapping the journey of missing plastic waste. 476 students from 41 schools in 12 countries were able to map over 35,000 pieces of litter combined as part of the project.
  • The ISP Futures, a programme extremely relevant to our times, that supports students to act towards becoming more environmentally minded and sustainable. ISP also launched an ambitious tree reforestation project with Tree Nation, which will grow from 100,000 trees in 2021 to 1,000,000 by 2026, and enable ISP students to visit planting sites when it is safe to travel again.
  • The fast-paced and exciting ISP Chess Tournament where 952 students from 43 schools played in an online transnational tournament of fast chess competing in regional heats and finals.

ISP students and staff were also able to continue their engagement with Street Child United (SCU), campaigning for the rights and protection of street-connected young people, through virtual school visits and workshops carried out by SCU staff and young leaders.


2021-22 – A new academic year packed with even more learning opportunities

Now, in 2021-22 the ILOS programmes are back again with even more programmes (such as the ISP Big Read) available to even more of our students across a wide range of ages. Some projects will take place online, others in school, and many will include in-person experiences abroad once it is safe to travel internationally again. One thing is for sure, there is something for every student, no matter what their passions and interests are.

Be sure to watch the video and read about the detail of each programme through the links provided in the table below.

ISP – putting learners and learning first

Each of our International Learning Opportunities for Students develops a range of life competencies that help students to success now, and in the future. Each programme has been designed around a set of core learning outcomes, helping us to track and measure both the visibility and the impact of the learning taking place.

Through this year’s programmes students will actively get better by:

  • Developing their language and communication skills
  • Connecting and sharing with other ISP students from other countries, and building friendships
  • Experiencing and learning about different cultures and traditions
  • Using and applying their skills across a range of new contexts
  • Developing transferable skills including critical thinking, confidence, teamwork, and leadership.
  • Developing self-awareness and understanding of their capabilities, strengths, and areas for growth
  • Becoming more responsible global citizens.

This year promises to be the best yet as our programmes are continually developed and enhanced with more international learning opportunities for more students. ILOS coordinators in each of our schools and the ILOS team at ISP look forward to another inspiring year of helping students to go beyond and expand their horizons as we continue to get better, together.

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