RS Reporters Blog

Ermitage Student Ambassadors at RSIC 2016 Louisenlund!

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!
Posted by katie in Exchanges, Conferences, Cultural Trips, Democracy on Thursday October 13, 2016
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Ermitage hosts RS Pre-Conference!

Ermitage hosted a week long Pre-Conference in Paris in advance of the Round Square International Conference 2016 being held at Stiftung Louisenlund, Germany and Aiglon College, Switzerland. Ermitage welcomed over 40 students and staff from Round Square partner schools including Bayview Glenn (CAN), Billhook College (AUS), Scindia (IND), the Punjab Public School (IND), the Doon School (IND) and Saint Andrew's School (USA).

The week included an enriching discovery of Paris and northern France. Highlights of the experience included visits to the Louvre, Notre Dame and Montmartre, just to name a few, with an exciting celebration on the final evening where the group enjoyed dinner atop the Eiffel Tower and a dance party bus tour around the city of lights! For a little rest and relaxation, the group concluded their week with a 2-day cultural excursion and invigorating 70 kilometers bike tour of Normandy.

What a trip - more photos en route!




Posted by katie in Conferences, Cultural Trips, Democracy on Wednesday October 12, 2016
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Student Reflection from RSIC 2016 Keynote

On the third day of the Germany conference, we attended the speech of Professor Manfred Spitzer, who studied medicine, philosophy, and psychology at the University of Freiburg in Southern Germany. In Harvard university, he accomplished three research fellowships in Neurobiology, Psychology, and Psychiatry. He is a regarded speaker in both German and English, as well as being vastly published for his works in psychiatry, learning, and neuroscience.

He began his speech by showing us an image, representing the same neuron of a dog over a period of time, in three pictures. He asked us what we saw. I was not sure what he meant, because I had perhaps seen this once or twice in my life, however he then added red and blue arrows to the image, showing changes in the neuron. He explained to us that the red arrows represented the synapses that were gone, while the blue ones pointed the new ones, also referred to as connections. In consequence, he said that if the existing connections were not used, and trained, they would disappear. From what I understood, an example which would fit this case, is the learning of a new language, because as you learn, new connections form in the neurons.

“You don’t have a brain, you are your brain,” is what Professor Spitzer explained when speaking about it. He further explained himself, by saying that you can get transplant of a heart, kidney, or even a liver, and it won’t change you. You will have another person’s organ functioning in your body, however your self will not be changed. However, the brain is everything that makes you, and so that it why he considers it as a person being its own brain. He explained that the way the brain learns the most, is by itself, for instance when a baby learns to walk, or speak. The major things you know have been self-taught. In addition, he added that the brain learns best at an early age, due to the fact that it is extremely fast at the youngest ages. He explained that the brain was so efficient at the early age, that it could rewire itself to adapt. He talked about the case study of a young girl, who had half of her brain removed. Her brain rewired itself, and adapted to the case, and she did not even see the difference. Although her language sensor was gone, she could speak two languages fluently. The speaker said that the myth of having a brain without space for more storage anymore was nonsense. When speaking of the brain adapting, he said that if a young child were to have eye sight problems, the parents should patch his weak eye an hour a day until age five, to ensure that the brain uses the eye, and does not ignore it.  He accentuated the fact that the more you learn, the more you will be able to learn. However, he did say that if you do not learn much by the age of 25, such as a second language, you are more likely to fall in dementia.

He spoke a lot about stress and the causes of it. He defined stress as being a subjective feeling which you cannot do anything about, because of total lack of control. Not knowing what stresses you, is the very source of that stress. When “multitasking,” which is actually impossible, you become less effective and so your stress level rises. True multitasking would be the action of “following two strings of information” at once. For instance, listening to two people speaking, reading two books, or watching two films. The speaker said that “company buffers stress,” and so being with family, friends or other people can reduce it. Stress can be accentuated with loneliness. In fact, the greatest killer, is loneliness. 

He explained that as humans, we were meant to live together, in company, which explains why being alone is a cause of stress. There are colors associated with stress, and also with creativity. Red is associated with anxiousness, and blue or green is associated with creativity. When anxious, you are more attentive to small details, you pay more attention. Which makes sense because stress is like a button, as explained by the professor, which maxes out energy, cardio, and brain. While it decreases digestion, growth, immune defense, and reproduction. In fact, he said that every time he takes the plan, he wishes the pilot is in depression and has anxiety, as he will be more likely to be careful with small details. On the other hand, a study was made which was meant to see the effect of nature on creativity. The outcome of it, was that people who had been walking in nature, were much more creative than those who had walked indoors. In fact, nature decreases stress levels. 

The doctor spoke of the effect of technology on the learning outcome for students. The more sophisticated a textbook is, the less likely the student is to remember the content. He explained that the use of technology in class considerably decreased the effectiveness and success of students. In addition, he mentioned that typing your notes, was not as well remembered by the brain as hand writing it. Making the physical effort to write, helps the brain learn better.

In summary, the speech was about the learning process of the brain, the outcomes of stress with the way to reduce it, and the effect of technology on learning. When talking with many people during the conference, they said they had not enjoyed it much, however, I thought it was such an amazing talk, which taught me so much in such little amount of time. It truly made me think about it, and I now feel more aware and keen about psychology.

Raphael A, IB1

Posted by katie in Conferences, Democracy on Tuesday October 11, 2016
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ICU2 2016... Apply today!

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
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
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Round Square International Conference 2015 in Singapore!

A delegation of students participated in the Round Square International Conference 2015 hosted by United World College Singapore. Our school was proudly represented by the following students: Margot FND5, Cedric FND5 , Ajoa IB1 and Daphné 2nde. Under the theme Act Now-Change Tomorrow, over 1000 student delegates from around 150 schools from all continents converged to display their talents and creativity. Students were pushed out of their comfort zones, made new connections, discussed current issues, collaborated, visited interesting cultural sites and enjoyed the many tastes of Singapore. Welcome back travelers!
Posted by katie in Conferences, Democracy on Friday October 9, 2015
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Student benefit presentations for Nepal

On Tuesday evening, June 2nd, parents, students and alumni gathered together to support relief efforts in Nepal. The program included a variety of inspiring presentations and reflections to build awareness about humanitarian efforts abroad.

The program began with a series of thoughtful reflections from IB1 students who participated in the India trip in February 2015, including Nina S, Franck V, Bart C, Nathan B, Oliver V, Franco P, Farah V, Laetitia L and Gauthier L. Themes included perseverance, empowerment, faith, contrast, perspective, chaos, sharing and the aromas. Students work tirelessly throughout the year to promote their efforts in India, and then have the opportunity to travel there to see the projects through. These experiences leave lasting impressions, which the students carry forward with them not only in their studies, but in their personal lives as well.

We were proud to have IB 2014 alum, Marine Vasseur, present on her recent volunteer experiences in Nepal, where she had been spending part of her gap year when the devastating earth quake hit in April 2015. Marine quickly went to work with other volunteers to prepare care packages for rural communities that did not have access to aid and resources necessary to protect their families. This care was so needed and appreciated by those who were coming to terms with the enormous impact the earthquake has had on their lives, but it is just the beginning.

There is much work to continue in the effort to rebuild the areas impacted by the earthquake. Should you wish to participate, donations can be made through Global Giving

Mr Tony Hyde, Honorary Member of Round Square and Former Round Square Representative for Europe, later presented his challenging trek through the Himalayas. This trek embraces the Round Square Ideals in the spirit of adventure and cultural understanding. Mr. Hyde describes the trek below: 

"In winter, the kingdom of Zanskar, in the heart of the Himalayas, is cut off from the rest of the world since all the walking trails and roads are covered and blocked by snow.  Avalanche dangers are also contributory to this situation.  However, what is a raging grade 7 rafting river. running through deep sided gorges cutting through the 6000+m mountains in the summer, is frozen in the winter and provides a spectacular passage, which the locals and intrepid trekkers alike can use.  

For the local school kids in boarding schools in Leh, the Ladakhi capital with access to the outside world in winter because of its airport, it is as the "School Run" and what a "Run" it is!!!!  

The Tchadar (the Blanket) is the name of this venture and requires not only rigorous preparation but also fortitude and equipment to withstand the temperatures on the scale between Baltic to Siberian."

These efforts are remarkable and we are proud of all students, alumni and friends who continue to help others, explore and connect globally in the spirit of Round Square.

Posted by katie in Gap Students, Democracy, Service Projects on Monday June 1, 2015
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Exchange Student Huw, our Australian from Down Under!

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.

Thibaud K, IB1, Belgian

Denis Z, IB1, Russian

Posted by katie in Exchanges, Democracy on Sunday March 1, 2015
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Exchange Student Cesar, Master of the Ukulele!

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!

Thibaud K, IB1, Belgian

Denis Z, IB1, Russian

Posted by katie in Exchanges, Democracy on Sunday March 1, 2015
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Cobham Hall Young Round Square Conference 2015

Ermitage was proud to have FND3 students Quentin B & Ayila H represent our school as ambassadors at the Cobham Hall Young Round Square Conference from January 23 - 25, 2015. 


Posted by katie in Conferences, Cultural Trips, Democracy on Tuesday January 27, 2015
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Video released from 2014 Jordan conference!

A delegation of students participated in the King's Academy Round Square International Conference 2014 in Jordan. Learn about their experience here!

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