Starting from November, Ermitage has had the privilege of hosting Huw Knox, an Australian student who has become an important factor in our community. Unfortunately, our dearest friend leaves this Friday. That is why I have interviewed him on his thought of his experience.
How has your experience here been for you?
My experience here has been incredible. I never thought that I'd enjoy my time here this much. Everyone here is really warm and welcoming, which definitely enhanced my time here.
How have you enjoyed France?
I've really enjoyed my stay here. Being in the boarding house, surrounded by kids speaking so many different languages and the freedom to go into Paris has all been highlights. Overall, the best thing during my experience here has been the people I’ve been with.
What did you learn from this exchange and would you motivated others to do a similar program?
I've learned many things from being on exchange. It has helped my language skills immensely, and it has shown me a side of the world, which I didn't think I'd get to see for many years to come. I would encourage other to take on any possible opportunity for exchange!
Is there a big contrast between the IB classes and the Australian educational system?
The classes in IB and the classes in Australia are very closely connected, with many of the same things being covered. However, in Australia it is not required of us to do TOK or EE.
We thank you so much for having come to our school and we will miss you as a true friend.
Since the beginning of 2015, we where glad to host Cesar Rios, a Peruvian student who has not only become part of our community, but also a true friend! Unfortunately for us, Cesar is leaving on Friday to rejoin his family in Peru. Luckily I have had the chance to interview Cesar on his experience.
Cesar, welcome and thank you participating in this interview. How has your experience in Ermitage been? I have found my stay here to be very enjoyable. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting the people here and have made many friends. I found the environment to be very cozy and I felt comfortable since the day I came here. In general, I haven’t had any inconveniences besides not being able to go out to Paris as much as I would have liked.
Since you have had both the IBDP classes here and in your school, what can you tell about it? I think the IB is pretty universal, however the way in which each school teaches the IB is different. I find the approach here to be different from my school since my school is stricter in general. I think the way they teach the IB here is a little more enjoyable since you get to do the IB but experience less stress and study in a “nicer” environment.
After staying here in Maisons-Laffitte for 5 weeks, how have you enjoyed France? Maisons-Laffitte has really had an impression on me. I think it is a lovely community and I liked staying here. I find France to be a very interesting country. It is a place full of culture and Paris is a lively and interesting metropolis.
What did you learn from this exchange program and would you motivated others to do a similar program? I believe this experience has been very beneficial for me. This has been an important experience for me not only because I got to travel and know other places but also because I’ve met people that hail from all different kinds of places. I have been studying in what I’d call a truly international school and I have learned so much from the multiculturalism in this school. I would recommend anyone to try and go on an exchange because I can guarantee that you will have an amazing time as well as expanding your horizons and learning about al sorts of places.
We thank you so much and we will miss you so much!
Each year, a group of Ermitage Upper School students venture to rural India to contribute to the community in a positive way and be transformed in the process. This trip is part of a 2-week service learning and exchange program in partnership with fellow Round Square schools the Daly College of Indore and the Dhirubhai Ambani International School of Mumbai.
Hosted by the Daly College during the first week, 23 Ermitage students focused their efforts on women's empowerment and access to education. The 2015 projects included the construction of waterclosets at small village schools. Given the conservative nature of the Indian culture, many young girls actually drop out of school without proper access to toilet facilities. This basic necessity has an important impact on girls' access to education.
Ermitage students enthusiastically constructed waterclosets at two different community schools, collaborating to efficiently prepare the grounds and produce the final structures. While on the project sites, Ermitage students also had the opportunity to interact with children from the local village in their classrooms, transcending cultural boundaries and sharing heartfelt experiences from dancing to language lessons. A particularly touching moment was when Ermitage students were invited to participate in a local wedding ceremony, where a very antimated and international dance party ensued.
Students also explored a women's opportunity center which is dedicated to providing women unique education opportunities as well as sustainable farming practices to bring back to their communities. Similarly, students interacted with women from another empowerment program, where women are able to earn a fulfilling and dignified income through handloom weaving. Both organizations aim to aliviate poverty in unique, sustainable ways.
During the second week, Ermitage students experienced family life in Mumbai, where they were hosted by families of the Ambani School. Their enriching program included a variety of tourism and humanitarian activities, ranging from teaching French to conducting eye exams. Ermitage later welcomed their host students for a visit to France, where they explored Paris and its surrounding communities.
Upon returning from their experience, students have helped the project live on throughout a variety of presentations and events, including the Benefit Presentations in May 2015 to raise funds for relief efforts in Nepal.