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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
The October 6th International Studies Program Assembly was dedicated to current Round Square travel opportunities. Ermitage’s membership in Round Square gives our students a unique opportunity to travel and interact with students from other schools throughout the world. Participation in a Round Square Travel Opportunity will not exempt students from participation in the mandatory school trips for Foundation and IB Programs.
You will find below information concerning trips proposed this year. Other opportunities may become available, as our RS partner schools propose new conferences or exchanges throughout the school year.
Please note the following:
Participation in RS trips is encouraged, but not mandatory
Trips are age-appropriate, as indicated
Trips may be offered to both the International Programs & French collège/lycée
Trips may have a min. or max # of participants
Travel dates are subject to change
Specific details and sign-up info for the following RS Trip Opps will be distributed as they become available:
Cobham Hall (UK) Conference, FND3-4 (13-14 years old) 23 - 25 January 2015. Theme Environment: Planting the Roots of our Future.
Herlufsholm School (Denmark): Basketball Tournament 30 January - 2 February 2015
ICU2 Eye Camps in India, FND4-IB2: February 2015 Break, followed by student exchange.
El Araki, Morocco: Model UN 2nd Edition: 20 - 22 February 2015. Reserved for IB students participating in Model UN.
Young Explorers Costa Rica, FND1-4: 16 - 26 February 2015
El Araki International Festival of Theater, Morocco 2nd Edition: 3-5 April 2015.
Felsted, Essex, UK: Model UN Conference, IB MUN Students. 1 - 2 March 2015.
Language Immersion & Cultural Trip to China, FND4-IB2: April 2015 Break
Transylvania College, Romania, FND1-3, 28 May - 1 June 2015 – Young RS European Regional Conference 2015
Samworth Church, , FND1-3 (12-13 years old), 12-14 June 2015 – Theme Eco Adventure
"In addition to these school-run projects, Round Square itself organises International Service (RSIS) Projects for students from its member schools. These bring together young people from all over the world to work as a truly international team providing much-needed assistance to disadvantaged communities." RSIS trips are offered all around the world at various points throughout the year and typically last 3-weeks.
His Majesty King Constantine of Greece recognized Ermitage students who participated in the ICU2 Eye Camp in India during a special presentation to the Round Square Board of Trustees on Saturday, March 15, 2015. HM King Constantine presided over the annual Round Square Board of Trustees meeting, which was held at Ermitage from March 14 - 16, 2014.
Student leaders presented an overview of their two-week adventure in India to His Majesty and the Round Square Board of Trustees. The students, ranging in nationality from French to Argentinian and Singaporean, took the audience on a journey through their eye camp project, where they successfully screened 9159 patients over a span of four days. The mission of ICU2 is to detect any eye care problems that may exist, ranging from nearsightedness, farsightedness, strabismus, cataract and more.
Of the 9159 patients screened, over 8500 pairs of free glasses were distributed, 325 free cataract surgeries were conducted and 400 doses of free antibiotics administered. The response from the community was overwhelming and the students enjoyed the personal interactions they shared, whether offering water to those waiting in line, receiving a blessing as a sign of gratitude or just sharing a smile. The transformative project challenged students to push themselves beyond their physical and mental limits. Students were equally rewarded by developing a new global perspective and by gaining new connections with international peers and memories that will fill their hearts for a lifetime.
For the past seven years, Ermitage students have been returning to the city of Indore, India in partnership with the Daly College. In recent years, the Choithram Nethralaya Eye Hospital has become a partner, enabling ICU2 to provide free cataract surgeries and follow-up care. This exceptional opportunity is student-led, with students school-wide raising funds throughout the year as well as a variety of different roles throughout the project ranging from campaigning, crowd management, detecting cataracts, conducting eye exams, distributing glasses and more.
His Majesty presented the following students with awards and Round Square badges, including: William Allen, Thomas Bolze, Christine Cobaugh, Axel Farhi, Aswin Sri Kumaran G, Marianne Gazet, Ulysse Ha, Sofia Hardoy, Tyrah van Berge Henegouwen, Alexia Koch, Paloma Labbé, Louise Lalande, Adam Mur, Ophelia Sanderson, Ines Speight, Ines Suarez, and Rowena Waldron.
Two student ambassadors from the Daly College of Indore participated in Saturday’s presentation via Skype. Dr. Sumer Singh, Principal of Daly College, was also in attendance as a member of the Round Square Board of Trustees to recognize the students’ achievements.
Following the ICU2 Eye Camp, Ermitage students continued onto Mumbai where they connected with correspondents at the Dhirubhai Ambani International School and were hosted in families. During their time in Mumbai, students volunteered with various NGO groups, attended classes and explored the city.
Additional guests during Saturday’s event included representatives from the Ermitage Round Square Student Government as well as students from the Dhirubhai Ambani International School, who are participating in the second phase of the exchange and who are currently being hosted by Ermitage students.
Photos of the student presentation to HM King Constantine and the Round Square Board of Trustees can be viewed below
For more media coverage on the annual ICU2 project, please click the photos below:
Half of the Ermitage students were on the site with us two. We were a perfect team withe the doctors, the opticians and especially with the Dalians who taught us everything from the skills to the language so that we could make the best of the day. We all played our part through the different available jobs like pointing, screening, crowd controlling and handing over glasses. Our favorite part of the day was distributing water to the people waiting in line under the heat. I (Marianne) felt amazingly helpful when seeing the women and children smiling endlessly at us. As for me (Paloma) I was especially moved by the people's reactions when getting their own glasses as if it was the biggest turning point of their lives. This experience with people who have almost nothing helped us realize the way we sometimes take things for granted. The feelings we got throughout the day are hard for us to put into words; they are part of a unique experience that should be lived by everyone.
We even got to break the record of registrations in 1 day: a total of 1978!