19 December 2018

Chilean students and teachers tour New Zealand

A group of twenty-five Chilean students, aged 13 to 17, have spent four weeks in New Zealand as part of “From Barrancas to New Zealand," an intensive English and cultural immersion programme.

Chilean group
The students at the reception in the AFS Wellington office.

The programme aims to broaden access to intercultural learning opportunities for Chilean students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is fully funded by the Chilean Government and administered by AFS Chile and AFS New Zealand.  

The students – from Cerro Navia, Lo Prado, and Pudahuel, three of the lowest income territories in Chile – had never travelled before. In New Zealand, they participated in English language lessons as well as cultural activities in Auckland and Whitianga. This included visiting a Marae and living with local host families to experience family life in New Zealand.

AFS National Director, Doris Cuthell, said it was a privilege to welcome the students to New Zealand.

“The Chilean Government is committed to increasing access to cultural and educational experiences for young people, to help equip them for a more interconnected world,” said Ms Cuthell.

“Our Global Choice programme was a perfect fit for these students, and the experience life-changing.”

The students and their teachers finished their trip at a reception in Wellington on 12 December with Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, the Chilean Ambassador to New Zealand Rodrigo Espinosa and AFS New Zealand. Mr Lester spoke to the students about his own life-changing AFS experience during an exchange to Germany.

“Immersion allows students to experience other cultures and learn English in a way you can’t at home in the classroom,” said Ms Cuthell.

“From Barrancas to New Zealand is a fantastic initiative – we’re very proud to be involved in a programme that is increasing our capacity to broaden access to intercultural learning for more diverse communities.”

The Chilean Government is committed to working with AFS New Zealand through the Global Choice programme and will provide From Barrancas to New Zealand scholarships for the next three years.

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