For students keen to embark on an international adventure, institutional exchanges and educational conferences are the perfect opportunity for young people to immerse themselves in new environments and cultures, expand their knowledge, and enhance their self-esteem and self-confidence. Keystone students have embarked on a number of international exchanges and conferences throughout the years and have returned to campus not only with new experiences, but also with a heightened sense of self. In return, the Academy has hosted students from afar and continues to do so currently.
Educators around the world can attest that the merits of institutional exchange programs are plenty, and for students who are brave and adventurous enough to step out of their comfort zones, the rewards are endless. Students get to experience life in another country, improve their foreign language skills, and boost their self-confidence and while viewing the world through a completely different perspective.
As a member of the Roundsquare Organization, an international network of 200 liked mind educational institutions in 50 countries, Keystone students have the privilege of attending conferences and participating in institutional exchange programs around the world. During these programs, students exchange ideas, share their passion for learning, and meet and collaborate with their global peers, amongst other benefits of being a member of this unique organization.
Dr. Juli James, Dean of Residential Life and Global and Service Initiatives at the Academy, organizes and leads delegations of students under the Roundsquare umbrella to other member schools and for institutional exchanges and educational conferences. From Ireland to Indonesia, students immerse themselves in these exchange programs and conferences during their stay in various host countries.
“Beginning in Grade 5, there is something for every grade level and student in the Roundsquare Organization,” stated Dr. James. “Every fall, we send Grade 11 and 12 students to international educational conferences. This year we sent a delegation of students to Canada, and later we will send students to India. This is one major benefit of being part of Roundsquare.”
Another unique advantage of being a member of the Roundsquare Organization means that Keystone students are allowed to participate in longer term institutional exchange programs with other accredited Roundsquare schools.
“Roundsquare has developed a set of protocols for exchanges so that when students go to a Roundsquare school, or when they come to Keystone, the parents and teachers know that these are safe, accredited, healthy programs and that students will get a lot out of it,” remarked Dr. James. “When we bring students to Keystone, they are coming to Keystone because they elected to come to China and they want to experience life here. They attend our classes, they live in our dormitories, and they even learn Chinese. During the weekends, students explore China with their host families and participate in service programs as part of Keystone’s Weekend Exploration Series.”
This year, Keystone hosted students from The Hotchkiss School in the United States, The Doon School in India, and The United World College of South East Asia in Singapore. For these students, their China experience has been marked by a warm welcome by all members of the community keen to embody the ideals of inclusivity that the Academy holds.
Keystone students have also had the honor of participating in institutional exchanges during the 2018-2019 academic year. Students completed exchanges at Lower Canada College in Canada, Colegio Los Nogales in Colombia, St. Philip’s College in Australia, and The United World College of South East Asia in Singapore.
“Our students have some of the most transformative experiences of their lives during these exchanges,” said Dr. James enthusiastically. “All of our students give very positive feedback when they return from their exchanges. It’s important for us as a school to not only educate our students in the classroom, but encourage them to explore the world beyond our gates. The classroom is not contained within the walls of Keystone Academy, the world is our classroom.”