Cultural exchange programmes expose students to people from different cultural, religious, geographic and socio-economic backgrounds and in so doing provide the opportunity for students to develop a greater understanding of diversity.
GIIS Whitefield, Bangalore joined the Global Citizenship Project started by The Swedish Council for Higher Education, towards building a ‘global community’. The Exchange programme between GIIS Whitefield, Bangalore campus and Rålambshovsskolan, Stockholm was one such remarkable experience of cross-cultural learning. The purpose of the exchange programme was to provide an opportunity to students to develop a global outlook, and for the teachers, it served as a platform to share and exchange ideas on improving classroom delivery.
The students of GIIS attended classroom sessions with the Swedish fellow-students and were exposed to the Swedish culture and heritage through interaction and group learning at the Rålambshovsskolan campus. It was a great learning for the students as they understood the importance of discipline and a sense of commitment that they observed in their counterparts in their school environment.
Cultural exchange bonded the two schools instantly. While the students of GIIS presented a fusion of Indian dances, songs and yoga, the Swedish children introduced them to cuisines, dance styles and glimpses of their culture. The students of Rålambshovsskolan watched with theirs eyes wide open the colourful cultural presentation. The cooking classes and handicrafts classes were a source of attraction for GIIS students. They got an opportunity not only to taste the delicious Swedish ‘cinnamon roll’, but also learnt the recipe through a detailed presentation.
Rålambshovsskolan has integrated skill-based learning with classroom studies. Students learn through text books but are also trained on life skills like cooking, handicrafts, woodwork etc. Enthusiastic students of GIIS got an opportunity to experience the joy of cooking with their Swedish peers. They had an experience of their lifetime when they prepared wooden name plates by carving out letters and figures on wood.
The cultural Exchange was carried forward through visits to the heritage monuments of Stockholm comprising ‘The Royal Palace’, and the ‘Skansen Outdoor National Museum’. The royal monument showcased the rich historical heritage of the city and the visit to the Skansen Museum helped in gaining awareness about native animals. The underbridges Stockholm Tour was an insight into the mesmerizing beauty of the town as they took a two-hour trip which passes under 15 bridges and through two locks connecting the Baltic Sea with Lake Mälaren. The students bought souvenirs for their parents, siblings and grandparents as a token of love.
The students of GIIS experienced a great sense of accomplishment as they gathered knowledge of a new language and culture through direct participation. End of the session they made friends with the children of the host school and looked forward to meeting them at the interactive session at Bangalore campus.
Mr. Ganesh Sharma-Principal, Ms. Preetha D@aps@Mello-National Resource Coordinator Pre-Primary Pre-Primary Coordinator, Ms. Amanpreet, Ms. Shilpa and MS. Awasthi-teachers of GIIS Whitefield campus, Bangalore along with Ms. Sunita Jaisingh-National Head Academics, GIIS INDIA looked at the school infrastructure, their laboratories, special rooms and other facilities and the books and notebooks to gain first-hand knowledge of the working of the Swedish school.
Ms. Sunita Jaisingh was a part of the workshop with the maths department and was interviewed by a Swedish magazine on the difference in the way concepts of mathematics are taught in India and Sweden.
Ms. Jaisingh and Mr. Sharma were speakers at a seminar organized by the Swedish Council for Higher Education on the methodologies adopted at GIIS India schools like Noida, Chinchwad and Bangalore campuses.
“It was inspiring to see the amount of detailing and dedication involved in making the exchange a grand success. Every minute detail was taken care of and I am glad to see the impact that they created in our minds. I am happy to see our children absorb everything that they were exposed to”. Said Ms. Jaisingh.
“I am glad to see the confidence and ease of performance that our students exhibited and I am equally impressed by the hospitality extended by the young students of Stockholm to their Indian friends”. Said Mr. Ganesh Sharma, Principal GIIS Whitefield, Bangalore.
Knowledge exchange assists students to develop positive relationships with others, understand a broader range of perspectives, and develop the knowledge and skills needed for participation in our multicultural society.