On Saturday 10th September, St. Francis’ College welcomed a delegation of 16 pupils and 2 teachers from their partner school in India, Unison World School. This is the fourth year that St. Francis’ has welcomed a group from the school located in the Dehradun region of India; girls and staff from St. Francis’ also have the opportunity to take return trips to the school in India and participate in joint classroom activities across the continents thanks to modern technology.
The group stayed at the College for three weeks. During this time, the visitors lived in the boarding accommodation of the College and each girl had an English buddy who helped look after her during her time in Letchworth. While here the group attended lessons and workshops in the College to experience English education and culture. To name but a few, these included a dance workshop, Forensic experiments, an Ethics and Philosophy debate, English ‘Matilda-themed Workshop’ finishing with a visit to the West End with Year 7; the visitors also visited the Letchworth Gallery, coming back to College to work with dried and fresh flowers.
The visitors also took in the sights and learnt about British history by spending time at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, York Minster and Kings Chapel, Cambridge, where they also experienced the English tradition of punting and afternoon tea.
In return, the Unison girls educated the St. Francis’ girls about their own culture. They performed traditional and modern Indian dance in assemblies and gave Hindu lessons. The Unison World School staff have shared Indian cooking tips with our staff and enjoyed several meals together at the St. Francis’ College teachers’ own homes.
Upon talking to the Unison World School girls on their departure, they all said how much they had enjoyed their time in Letchworth and how welcomed they had felt. They spoke about the experience of attending lessons in an English school being very different to their own lessons in India, and being ‘wowed’ by the rich history and beautiful historic houses. There were many comments about how they enjoyed the food, especially baking scones and making jam!
Their English buddies also learnt much from their visit. They really enjoyed the Hindu lessons and felt that they were able to gain an insight and understanding into Indian culture. The St. Francis’ girls have formed friendships which will continue to flourish across the continents.
Girls and staff from St. Francis’ College are looking forward to a return visit in 2017 to experience further the vast culture India has to offer.