Damian Hinds, Education Secretary in the UK, announced a new scheme on January 19th 2019, whereby school children aged 11 and above are going to be given greater opportunity to explore the world and all its different cultures.
With an investment of £2.5million, thousands of young people will be able to take part in international exchanges and visits across the globe. Giving these young people a chance to experience different cultures, this scheme will allow schools to apply for grants to take them to visit partner schools around the world. The British Council - the UK’s organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities - found that only 39% of British state schools run international exchange programmes, in comparison to independent schools where the figure sits at 77%. We believe that everyone deserves to be treated as equal, and with this announcement, it’s fantastic to see that those from all socioeconomic backgrounds are getting the opportunity to explore and discover the world too.
“I want every child to have a world-class education, and that includes the opportunity to experience other cultures and go to places they wouldn’t normally visit - whether that’s practising their Mandarin in China or learning about American history in the US.”
Have you ever had the opportunity to go on a school exchange?
Whilst it can be scary because it’s a whole new environment, exchange programmes can provide massive value and benefit to young people. For example, by visiting a new country, they can immerse themselves in other cultures and they have the opportunity to learn about international history. There’s no time like the present for us to be grabbing every opportunity with both hands to travel internationally, and ensuring that our young people have a global outlook. Did you know that two-thirds of university students were inspired to do a language degree from completing an exchange programme? It goes to show the value of travelling abroad, as young people begin to find themselves and understand foreign cultures and languages.
There are plenty of benefits that come from going on an exchange, and it’s no secret that these types of programmes do the world of good for young people when it comes to their self-confidence. Taking the plunge and leaving your home comforts to venture to an unknown land is extremely brave, and so, by pupils having the opportunity to develop their personalities, they become a more confident and courageous version of themselves. As explained by Sir Ciaran Devane (Chief Executive of the British Council):
“It encourages children to think about working and studying overseas and sows the seed of international cooperation that we encourage in young people all around the world.”
Exploring the world and seeing other cultures is a highlight in most people’s lives. Travel means something different to us all but, ultimately, it gives us time to re-energise and explore new and different things! We believe that everyone deserves the same opportunities in life, regardless of their background. Giving young people the chance to discover the world, to flourish as a person, is almost the best education they could ask for! At myAko, our mission is to support dedicated educators across the globe and to make their lives easier, as they play such an essential role in our lives. We passionately believe that everyone deserves a voice, which is why we are bringing to life the stories and voices from those in education. Come and take a look at our CARE stories, where we share the best stories from teachers and educators globally!