Following the week long Pre-Conference in Paris hosted by Ermitage, a delegation of Ermitage Upper School students represented our school at the Round Square International Conference 2017 Louisenlund. The Ermitage delegation included: Lena D (IB2), Sarah B, Hayden P and Raphael A (IB1).
Based on the theme "The Journey That Makes Us," delegates connected with over 600 students and adults representing over 80 schools around the world. Students enjoyed a range of engaging keynote presentations followed by in-depth discussions and debates with their international counterparts. Students also spent a day in the community working on service projects as well as an adventure outing where they sailed on the Baltic sea.
Being an Ermitage ambassador at a RSIC is a wonderful achievement, where students are able to enhance their global perspectives, while expanding their networks as well. Bravo to all who participated!
In May 2016, Ermitage Foundation 3 students Marc B, Miguel S, Natalia C, and Amber W visited the Herlufsholm Skole in Naestved Denmark for a 5-day student exchange experience. This exchange has continued between Ermitage and Herlufsholm and has become a highlight for our Middle School students.
While in Denmark, the group visited the 450 year old school, Copenhagen, the Rosenburg Castle, saw the crown jewels, visited the Tivoli Amusement park which was where Walt Disney got his inspiration for Disneyland, and Mons Klint which is a beautiful limestone cliff on the eastern edge of Denmark. During this time, the Ermitage students were housed by their Danish friends so that they could have a taste for home life.
To continue the exchange, in September 2016, Ermitage welcomed the 4 Danish students where they explored the château of Maisons-Laffitte, hiked up to second floor of the Eiffel Tower (all 669 steps), visited the Musée D'Orsay, took a canal tour on the Seine, and ate some delicious crêpes in St. Germain-en-Laye. Ermitage students welcomed their Danish friends into their homes as well to further introduce them to French culture.
As a parting gift, in celebration of International Peace Day on September 21st, Herlufsholm passed along "Gilley the Peace Bear". As guardians of Gilley, Ermitage students are to write their reflections on peace within an accompanying book, which will later be shared internationally as Gilley continues his journey to other Round Square schools... next stop, the Felsted School, United Kingdom!
Applications now available for ICU2 2016! Learn about past trips under the ICU2 tab of this blog... will you be part of the 2016 team? Applications due November 25th to firstname.lastname@example.org
Les inscriptions sont maintenant ouvertes pour ICU2 2016! Plus d'informations pour tous nos voyages sous l'onglet "ICU2"... N'attends pas, rejoint l'équipe ICU2 2016? Date limite pour les inscriptions le 25 novembre à email@example.com
We were happy to continue our annual group exchange with the Herlufsholm Skole Denmark. Ermitage students visited Herlufsholm in spring 2015 and have now hosted their Danish friends for a 3 day exploration of Paris and Maisons-Laffitte this fall, including cultural visits, favorite French foods, and even sitting in on some of our classes. Looking forward to the next exchange!
"There is one thing that I love doing, and that’s going on trips. When it was clear that I had this chance I went for it. The moment I realized I was going to Japan was when I was walking into the plane, a huge grin on my face, nothing can compare with this moment of bliss, mixed with nervous anxiety. That’s the thing when you go to a complete different country, where you know no one, you don’t understand the language and traditions. You feel like a baby, that needs to be reassured, cradled, but you also have this furious thirst for adventure, knowledge, this desire to pushes your limits.
Japan has taught me oh so many things: to be humble, respectful and selfless. The more I see, the more I discover, the more you realise, you are part of a whole, and it will keep getting bigger and bigger. The more people you meet, the more you learn, the smaller, more insignificant you become and the less you realise you actually know. For me those are the basics of going on an adventure: losing yourself in others. If there is one thing that I must choose to represent Japan in its whole, with all its complexity it would be without doubt the people I met during my stay. Each and every one of them is, to me, what made this trip truly exceptional. Each and every person that you will meet will be unique, and you should treasure those precious moments.
I already went on several exchanges before, in the USA, in, India, but it was always with other students. Organising my own trip and going on my own, truly gave me a sense of independence. Representing my school for the first time, in this unknown school was such an exceptional experience. I can’t be grateful enough to the people that helped me before and during my stay. I had to resume what this country and its people gave me I would compare it to meeting a 35 year old adult with two very different personalities. One side of him is passionate, innovative, hard-working and excels in everything he does. The other is calm, conservative, well-assured and stubborn. When going to Japan I was faced with the two sides of his persona, both striking and inspiring they have left in me a powerful desire to aspire for great things, and to do so with confidence in who I am and what I am capable of doing. If there was one thing that I want to say to anyone that wants to go on an exchange, at the other end of the world, next door, for a week, or months: just go for it, go share your awesomeness!"
April vacation seems like it was a long time ago for most of us but for the 14 students and 3 staff who visited the Bement school in Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts the morning chill and genuine warmth of our friends from across the Atlantic still lingers. For over 16 years Ermitage has had an exchange with the Bement school and for those 16 years our mutual appreciation has crystallised into a magnificent friendship.
For those that haven’t yet visited this quiet town it is one of the oldest settlements in all of New England. Incorporated almost 100 years before the Declaration of Independence Deerfield has a long history (by American standards at least). I won’t go any further into the historical background of the town and leave the rest of your curiosities to be answered by wikipedia and move on to the trip itself.
The majority of the trip was spent immersing ourselves into the lives of our American friends at school and at home.
We went to class and played sports…. And, of course, the worm...
Halfway through our trip we took a bus 2 hours south to Mystic Connecticut to the worlds largest maritime museum called….Mystic Seaport. But, this was no ordinary museum as we were traveling with no ordinary group of students. We were traveling with protegé whale hunters and as such we had to hone our skills and understanding of the business.
To begin, our guide explained what the whaling industry was and why Mystic became so big. Then it was time for our fitness/accuracy test…. Jade, clearly, was a natural…. After all the students and staff successfully threw the harpoon into the water (pointy end first) it was time to explore the hunting vessels.
We first explored one of the longships that would be sent out to actually hunt with 4-6 men in each. Once the whale was harpooned the men and the boat would go on a “Nantucket sleigh ride” for as long as several hours where the angry and injured animal would tow them all over the open ocean. Once the whale had exhausted itself the men in the boat would then have to tow it back to the main ship for processing. Sometimes the return tow could take an entire day.
The second part of the visit was aboard the Charles W. Morgan, one of the world’s last wind powered whaling vessels, used just until the US transitioned to petroleum based oils in 1845. Holding around 33 sailors it made it’s trip from the coast of Connecticut to oceans all over the world but primarily hunted off the coast of California by way of Cape Horn. Trips lasted from 9 months to 5 years.
After another very short week it was time to say “see you in June” to our Bement friends and hello to Boston! We left our mark… Saw some old stuff…Got a little silly. Had some pizza for dinner and went bowling...
Sunday we started off with a breakfast of pancakes at the South Street Diner before heading off for our Ducktour of Boston. Students visited the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the inhabitants of Boston and also where Boston gave Queen Elizabeth a check for $1,300 to settle the debt of all the tea that was thrown into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party.
These pictures are only a small fraction of the trip and it is only a teacher’s view of it. For the students, ours and those at Bement, individually and collectively, there is so much more to tell. The exchange program at Ermitage is not only an essential part of the Round Square mission but also an innate curiosity within each and everyone of us. The desire to explore new corners of the world and the people within them is one of the greatest lessons learned outside the classroom and ultimately teaches us all more about ourselves and where we are in life and the world. They help enlighten and remind us that for any lasting relationship one must give and take, be a guest and a host, be a follower and a leader so that in the end the group is stronger because each individual within it is too.
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.