Round Square (RS) Schools Pursue Virtual Exchanges between Students

As physical exchanges among Round Square (RS) schools have stopped temporarily, ICS, like many RS schools around the world, is embracing "virtual exchanges" between students.

Round Square (RS) Schools Pursue Virtual Exchanges between StudentsICS is proud to be the only Round Square (RS) school in Zurich. Our membership in this prestigious global organization benefits students in numerous ways and over 100 RS schools worldwide are committed to encouraging students' development both in and beyond the classroom. RS schools promote six IDEALS of global citizenship: International Understanding, Democracy, Environmental Awareness, Adventure, Leadership and Service.

Participating in the new Virtual Exchanges between Round Square schools, ICS Grade 8 student Annabelle M connected with an Indian RS exchange student, Aanya, last week and the two girls began getting to know each other over the weekend. Aanya attends the Vidya Devi Jindal School (VDJS) boarding school for girls, located in Hisar Haryana India. Like millions of students around the world whose education has been affected by the pandemic, Aanya has been learning from home in Mumbai, but is looking forward to returning to school very soon.

In response to the new student exchange situation, guidelines have been established to provide support for students interested in participating in an international online virtual exchange. The RS Virtual Exchange is more than a one-off conversation or email exchange. It takes place over a minimum of 4-6 weeks, during which time the students interact and get to know one another through online video and audio calls (e.g. zoom, facetime, skype), email exchanges and by connecting on social media.

Although students remain at their home school, they also become part of their host's school student body and the school's code of conduct applies to them for the duration of their online exchange. Following initial introductory emails and video chats, the students have 3-4 days at the beginning of the exchange to discover each other's interests and hobbies. They begin to share written accounts or short films focusing on a day or week in their lives, interview each other, and write each other's short biography or life story.

Writing, swapping and answering 20 questions about one another, creating and exchanging a quiz about their country or local area, or sharing activities such as reading the same book and discussing it afterwards, as well as learning and playing/singing music together, are also part of the RS virtual exchanges.

When the RS Virtual Exchange weeks come to an end, Annabelle here at ICS, and Aanya in India, will be asked to produce a report, a short profile or a biographical narrative of their exchange partners which they will then share with students in their classes.

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