A successful exchange program

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Four boys and 11 girls from a Swedish school came to Mauritius on an exchange programme with Le Bocage International school (LBIS). Their main objective was to conduct a survey on the status of children?s rights in Mauritius for the United Nations child convention. But they also wanted to discover our island. To-day they are leaving feeling that their short stay has been an enriching one. Their survey was based on three countries: Ethiopia, Poland and Sweden. But they could not go to a school in Eritrea because of political problems over there. So they chose Mauritius instead. Their teachers established links with staff members of LBIS to arrange the visit. Gifts and stories They arrived in Mauritius on Saturday 11th March and stayed at Emeraude Hotel in Belle-Mare. LBIS was the first part of their programme. The day began with a little ceremony gathering all students and teachers. The national anthems of Mauritius and Sweden were played, followed by an exchange of gifts and souvenirs and little stories about both countries. Then, they visited the school. One of the three Swedish teachers, Per Kalén, described the school as a model one. ?The school is beautiful and very well-equipped. Furthermore it is a school where there is a friendly atmosphere between staff and students. We are very lucky to have been invited by such a great school.? The Swedish students carried out their survey with LBIS students. The next day was a day of rest and fun on the beach of Belle-Mare as Wednesday was going to be a busy but nice day. The students of both Sweden and LBIS were taken to the Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile headquarters in Phoenix to have an idea of how the textile industry operates. Lars Andreasson?s (another Swedish teacher) was ?impressed?. They were highly impressed by the quality of clothes. Their last two major trips were to a home for old people in Mapou on Friday and a boat cruise on Saturday. On this last trip they could see the beauties of our sea. The third teacher accompanying the students, Birgitta Segeman, reacted by saying: ?When I see such things or when I see all the green spaces, I understand why people call it a paradise!? Yesterday, they were back to what they could call their starting point: LBIS to say good-bye and thank their hosts at a little farewell party. More alike than different Kailash Sobha, the teacher at LBIS, who organised the exchange program this year expressed his satisfaction: ?The exchange program brings about ?exchanges? in culture, ideas and smiles. Students learn about life in another part of the world. Some amusing stories, some amazing facts are shared. Students appreciate what the other country has and feel grateful for what their own country has to offer. All this is an immense learning experience. Finally, it makes us realize that we are all more alike than different. I am leaving LBIS in a week and I can say I have grown up professionally. I believe that this experience will help me to perform better.? Birgitta Segeman thinks the time spent in Mauritius allowed them to know the people living here better. Regarding this fact, Shekar Dewoo, the principal believes the whole initiative was essential. ?The world is shrinking. We need to know more about others? cultures. As educators, we really need to exchange knowledge and thoughts!? For David Muddle, headmaster of Le Bocage International School, the exchange program was a success. He explained: ?As an international school, we need activities that will help us internationalize ourselves. It is the second time we are welcoming students from abroad and it will not be the last time! Actually, trying to promote partnerships with schools from abroad and other schools in Mauritius is one of our aims!?
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