We launched the ISP Buddy Exchange Programme (BEP) in autumn 2018 with the first student exchanges taking place from February 2019 onwards.
The programme quickly defined itself as our flagship programme for our students’ international learning opportunities and some of the words used by our students to describe their experience of the programme include: “Life-changing”; “Educational”; “Unique”; “Unforgettable”; “Enjoyable”; and “Amazing”.
The BEP enables reciprocal learning exchanges between ISP schools for a period of one month for students aged between 14 –17 years of age. It gives our students the unique opportunity to connect with other people, other cultures and other countries and provide another truly collaborative learning experience.
The programme offers our students amazing and diverse learning opportunities within a safe and secure environment. Buddy exchange students gain real-world learning skills and greater independence. They plan and prepare for a trip across the world, live in a new home with a new, supportive family, have the chance to thrive in a new learning environment with projects and assignments aimed at the student’s level of learning and understanding and they receive daily support and guidance from colleagues and other students in their new school. Students enjoy a memorable international and cultural learning experience to develop their language skills, communicate ideas in a different way, share good practice and create long-term friendships across the world.
Due to the postponement of all of our International Learning Opportunities because of the COVID -19 outbreak, we are excited to be able to launch the ISP Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme (VBEP).
Despite the temporary closure of our school buildings and the current restrictions in place around the world due to COVID-19, learning and teaching continues through our distance learning approaches across ISP. The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and families remains our top priority and with both these factors in mind, we decided to launch the new virtual programme for our students. This programme is a follow on to the ISP Buddy Exchange Programme (BEP) which had to be postponed.
The Virtual Buddy Exchange enables ISP students who were originally signed up for the 2019/20 Buddy Exchange Programme to come together and connect despite the current situation and the restrictions on travel. To continue building relationships throughout our ISP schools the programme is open to four students per school, aged between 14 – 17 years of age. The Virtual Buddy Exchange provides an eight-week programme of weekly video calls from May to June 2020, so that students can continue to benefit from an international learning opportunity and potentially build lifelong friendships. The hope is students will then one day be able to meet in person. Students will now still have the opportunity to get to know other students from around the world and improve their language and communication skills, whilst discovering new cultures and topics. Following on from the previous success of the ISP Buddy Exchange Programme, now “The show must go on” as the ISP Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme (VBEP).
To ensure that students get the most out of the programme, each student will be paired in advance. Students who were previously due to participate in the postponed 2019/2020 ISP BEP will continue to be paired with their buddy. This will help them to build their interactions and bond until they can physically take part in the BEP. For students commencing the programme this year, they will be randomly paired with a different student each week, giving them the unique opportunity to meet eight different students from all around the world.
The programme of weekly video calls for students will take place with their designated VBEP buddies, arranged and supervised by their Buddy Exchange Coordinators. The calls will be built on weekly topics from which both students will prepare and discuss their own presentation. Topics for the programme include: Being a teenager during the lockdown, Music, Film & TV, Sports and a tour of your city or country and will include a final learning reflection task. The video calls are an amazing opportunity for students to meet other students from all over the world, build their confidence, improve their presentation skills and widen their knowledge of certain topics.
The Virtual Buddy Exchange will enable students to broaden their horizons and give them some much needed human interaction across international borders, and beyond that of their distance learning classroom and school.
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