The need for Australia’s young people to be globally connected, informed and active has never been greater. The International School-to-School Experience (ISSE) program encourages students to develop an appreciation of and respect for social, cultural and religious diversity, and a sense of global citizenship. Learning while living in another country is one of the most powerful means of international education. The positive impact of learning in another country is profound and we are proud of our long tradition of being an ISSE school.
ISSE is a unique international program for our school that provides for the exchange of thoughts and ideas through face-to-face contact with children from other countries. Our students interact and learn from other children around the world fostering peace, tolerance and understanding on a global basis.
We have been a member of this exciting program for over ten years and during that period we have been fortunate to host students from many countries including Mexico, Peru, Japan, Malaysia, Amercia, India and China. During our membership our year five and six students have had the opportunity to travel to Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Amercia and China.
In 2013 we are again hosting visitors from Mexico. The chaperones and students stay with our families, attend school each day, share their life, culture and they will perform a very colourful and informative cultural show. The students and their hosts visit sights around Melbourne including The Rialto Towers, Queen Victoria Market, Puffing Billy and our Parliament. Many of the host families take the opportunity to show the visitors the Australian landscape, animals and way of life. The program is a wonderful way to bring our community together and ensure our visitors have a rewarding and interesting time in Australia.
A return visit will be scheduled later in the 2013 school year.
These are experiences that students never forget.
ISSE Testimonials from Weeden Heights Host families
“We have hosted 6 students from Japan, Peru, Mexico (*3), and the USA, and have sent 2 of our 4 children to Mexico and the USA. It can be hard work,but like most things in life, the more you put in the more you get out. The benefits of the exchange program far out weigh the effort required. Each of 6 students were different, for some the language barrier was huge, but it is amazing how laughter can get the message across. For others there were no barriers, a good sense of humour and an attitude to make the most of the opportunity make the distance from host to home seem so very small. Before you know it the 3 weeks are up, and the guest is packing their bags. They have become a true part of the family in the short period of time and parting can be a challenge, for the next 2 weeks you will find underpants, shirts and other articles in places you never expected, little tokens of the wonderful time shared with someone so young.
As parents we send our children off into the big wide world, out of the comfort of the bubble we cocoon them in. The apron strings are cut and their little independence allowed to assert itself. Communication may or may not be frequent, it depends on the teachers and the host family, some believe no contact is the right thing, for others frequent contact is the way to go - but can have it's down side. The internet and social networking allows an overview of the experiences, but the return has to be the best part. For some they didn't want to leave and can be a challenge on their return, for others the experience was one to be shared with everyone. I recall the foreign language dictionaries, the laughter, the cultural cringe, the humour, the tears of joy, home sickness, and sadness of the departure, but most of all the friendships made that will endure for a long time to come.” Dudley family
“What an incredible experience it was being a host family. We enjoyed learning about all the similarities and differences in our cultures and ways of life. The ISSE experience gave us the opportunity as a family to share our wonderful city with a child from another country and in turn, we heard some amazing stories about their home and city in Colorado.
Being a part of this program and spending time with other host families was also very rewarding. On many of our group outings there was always a lot of laughter and good times and, we enjoyed each other’s company immensely.
It has now been more than a month since Abby left her ‘second home’ and we still keep in contact via MSN and Skype. I know my daughter Emily thoroughly enjoyed having Abby stay with us as; she quite effortlessly and quickly became a member of our family. We hope this bond will remain for many years to come and hopefully, she took home some wonderful memories of Australia and the time she spent here.”… Hegedis Family