Thailand trip promotes schools

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St Peter’s College principal Kate Nicholson and Gore High School deputy principal Melanie Hamilton travelled overseas recently to promote Southland as a school exchange destination.

Mrs Nicholson and Mrs Hamilton joined other Southland school teachers on a trip to Thailand.

Mrs Nicholson said St Peter’s College had been working with a school in Chiang Mai for a while now.

“One boy came over for a short exchange and has been here for five years now,” Mrs Nicholson said

St Peter’s college has about 17 international pupils from throughout world.

“We have a limit of 20 to ensure they have a quality time here.”

If there were too many pupils from one country they stayed in a group and do not immerse themselves in New Zealand culture, Mrs Nicholson said.

This year’s trip was about promoting the exchange to schools and agents overseas.

A relationship had already been built up with the schools and agents in earlier years, Mrs Nicholson said.

“This trip was about maintaining the relationships we already have.”

It was good for the pupils at St Peter’s College to meet people from other countries.

“Our students learn about the lives of people from other cultures.

“It also encourages our students to go on trips to other parts of the world,” Mrs Nicholson said.

It was really helpful to have a face-to-face conversation with our overseas partners, she said.

“It was a really good experience.”

She also found it helpful to see how different the schools overseas were.

“There is a lot of rote learning over there.

“I think we are good at teaching our students how to think.”

Mrs Nicholson also went to China and Germany to meet agents.

Mrs Hamilton said she was positive about how the trip went.

“The trip went really well,” Mrs Hamilton said.

The trip helped to establish trust, she said.

“It was really valuable to see the students that are coming over.”