The show must go on: ISP launches the Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme
Due to the postponement of our International Learning Opportunities because of the COVID-19 outbreak and taking into consideration the incredible success of the ISP Buddy Exchange Programme (BEP), we are excited to launch the ISP Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme (VBEP) for our students.
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.
The ISP Buddy Exchange Programme (BEP) was first launched in autumn 2018 and enables reciprocal learning exchanges between ISP schools for a period of one month for students aged between 14 –17 years of age. The BEP was an incredible success in its first year, with students describing their experience as: “Life-changing”, “Educational”; “Unique”; “Unforgettable”; “Enjoyable”; and “Amazing”. Now, “The show must go on” as the ISP Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme (VBEP).
Steve Brown, Group Chief Executive Officer of the International Schools Partnership, comments:
“I am delighted that we have launched the ISP Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme as a follow on to the highly successful ISP Buddy Exchange Programme. During these difficult and constantly changing times, the programme will give our students the opportunity to meet other students from all over the world through weekly video calls and help them to continue their amazing learning journeys at home. The Virtual BEP will enable students to broaden their horizons, build confidence and learn about new topics from different perspectives. It will most importantly provide much needed human interaction, enjoyment and socialisation beyond that of their school distance learning schedules.
“The launch of this programme demonstrates another way we are pulling together as a global community to make sure we are providing opportunities and support for our students and families. I want to express my gratitude to everyone involved in setting up the programme. I hope all of our students and schools that take part, thoroughly enjoy their experience.”
The Virtual Buddy Exchange is an eight-week programme running from May to June 2020 and brings ISP students and schools across the world together for a unique international and cultural learning experience. The programme is aimed at those students who were signed up to the 2019/2020 ISP Buddy Exchange Programme, so that they don’t miss out on their unique international learning experience.
To continue building student relationships throughout our ISP schools, the programme is open to four students per school, aged between 14 – 17 years of age. Providing a structured programme of weekly video calls, the programme offers diverse opportunities for amazing learning and lifelong friendships as a follow on to the ISP BEP.
The programme of weekly video calls for students will take place with their designated VBEP buddies, arranged and supervised by their Buddy Exchange Coordinators made up of staff from their respective schools. The calls will be structured around weekly topics from which both students will prepare and discuss their own presentation. Topics for the programme will 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 opportunity for our students to meet other students from all over the world, build their confidence, improve their presentation skills and widen their knowledge on specific topics.
Bruno Ramos, Group Head of International Opportunities at the International Schools Partnership comments:
“The ISP Virtual Buddy Exchange programme provides a unique distance learning opportunity to help foster and encourage positive international social interactions for our students during these different times. It is an opportunity for students to have fun, whilst learning about new topics and cultures in a safe and secure environment. With the support of technology and our Buddy Exchange Coordinators, the programme will provide an amazing experience for students to meet other students from around the world and start building lifelong friendships. I’m pleased that for those students who were due to take part in the postponed Buddy Exchange programme, we can still offer them the chance to continue building bonds with their buddies, until they can take part in their international exchanges in person as originally planned.
“I want to express my thanks to all of my colleagues at ISP and especially the Buddy Exchange Coordinators in each of our schools around the world. Their hard work and the continued support they provide to students and families will enable this programme to become a reality. The most important element is that all our students learn from and enjoy their experience of the Virtual BEP.”
Find out more about the ISP Virtual Buddy Exchange Programme here.
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