We believe a well-rounded education includes a firm understanding of one’s place and responsibility within the wider world. Our schools work hard to provide a wide range of projects, activities and trips designed to help children and young people understand the impact they can have on making the world a better place.
We also want our students to benefit from being part of an international and growing schools group. Through Cognita ExPro, we provide exchange visits for our students to enjoy the diversity of languages, cultures and values in other countries.
Programmes at Cognita’s schools in Singapore are bringing Nobel laureates, professors and business leaders from around the world into school to lead dialogue and roundtable discussions with students. Stamford American’s Global Mentor Program gives students access to leading global figures in the fields of business, science, social enterprise, athletics and the arts to motivate them to excel in their chosen paths. At the Australian International School, the 2015 events were in partnership with the International Peace Foundation’s (IPF) 5th ASEAN event series, “Bridges – Dialogues Toward a Culture of Peace”. Visiting speakers to AIS have included 2011 Nobel Laureate for Medicine Professor Bruce Beutler and 2005 Nobel Laureate for Peace Dr Mohamed ElBaradei.
AIS Year 12 student Sarah Westvik said Dr ElBaradei’s visit furthered her interests to work for the United Nations upon graduation. “Dr ElBaradei not only provided a different lens with which to view current world issues but imbued me with a sense of an obligation and a desire to make a difference in this world,” Westvik said. “I feel extremely honoured to have had the opportunity to meet such a learned and humble man, whose wise words have helped remind me what really matters in our world."
Each summer, students and staff from Akeley Wood School make a trip to support Volunteer Sri Lanka (VSL), a charity based in the south of the country that carries out sustainable projects to improve the community with the help of overseas volunteers. These have included renovating a school and projects to enhance a street children’s nursery, day care centre, elders’ home, orphanage and community centre, all of which are supported by VSL’s founder, Janaka de Silva. “As the trip organiser, I was really proud of what we achieved,” say Lisa Stone, English Teacher. “Until you have been there, it is so hard to imagine the good that is being done by VSL. As for the student volunteers, perhaps it is a cliché to say that a trip can be life-changing. But I think if you ask them, that is what they will tell you.”
Roxana Sánchez is a student at El Colegio Pumahue Huechuraba, one of Cognita’s nine schools in Chile. She was one of 24 students that took part in a six-week ExPro academic and cultural exchange to the UK and Spain in March 2014. She particularly liked having a British Cognita student as a buddy. “We ended up being very good friends,” says Roxana. “My buddy helped me so much and made sure I never felt lost or alone.” Describing the exchange experience as “excellent, spectacular,” Roxana says: “I loved it all. The place, the weather, the new experience, it was all an adventure. Everything was so different, so beautiful, so new, and the challenge of arriving there and having to speak English…the teachers made me feel accepted. It was not a problem if you failed with some words in English, the important thing for them was that you spoke. What mattered was that you integrated and I loved it.”