The ISP Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme (VBEP) was first launched in May 2020, because of the postponement of our International Learning Opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the incredible success of the ISP Buddy Exchange Programme.
During the difficult and constantly changing times and the restrictions in place because of the pandemic, the programme gave our students aged 14 – 17 years of age the opportunity to reach out beyond their own school community and meet other ISP students from all over the world. The programme offered a unique international and cultural distance learning experience in a safe and secure online environment. Through the supervised weekly video calls, students practised their language, presentation and personal skills in English and continued their amazing learning journeys at home whilst also building life-long friendships.
The programme was a huge success in terms of popularity and obtaining its key outcomes: knowing more about different cultures, building language skills and developing understanding of students’ own strengths and areas for getting better. By the end of the programme it connected 72 students, across 27 schools in 11 countries and there was a grand total of 135 hours of amazing virtual learning during the programme!
We are delighted that the ISP Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme continues as a core part of our International Learning Opportunities for Students suite of programme. Each academic year the programme has two intakes and is available to Junior students aged 12 and 13 and Senior students from 14 to 17 years of age. This allows even more students across our schools the exciting opportunity to take part in this amazing programme!
Each intake runs for approximately eight weeks consisting of supervised 45-minute weekly video calls in which both students prepare and discuss their own presentation in English are organised around engaging weekly topics including: Music, Film & TV Series, Sports and A tour of your city or country and many more. The final three topics of each intake are decided by the students themselves via an online poll and there is also a final learning reflection task. The structured video calls facilitated by school Virtual Buddy Exchange Coordinators help students to build their confidence, improve their presentation skills, widen their knowledge on specific topics and most importantly have fun while doing so!
Communicating in English with other ISP students and colleagues is a valuable way to meet new people and practise fluency, and although at times this can be challenging, it is a good struggle providing students with the chance to improve language skills, grow in self-confidence and raise cultural awareness.
To find out more about the experiences of two of our former VBEP students Minalee and Alejandra and why you should apply read their blog – “The ISP Virtual Buddy Exchange- Student Takeover“.
To hear more about the benefits of the programme from a Virtual Buddy Exchange Coordinators perspective, read this piece by Alice Pallarés from Colegio Internacional Aravaca in Spain and Brandon Lewis from Nibras International School in Dubai.
The Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme in numbers
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