25 August 2022 at 12:00 pm

New Zealand – Korea digital student exchange

Global citizenship, cross-cultural relationships, and language skills are among the key benefits for students in 28 South Korean and New Zealand schools from this year’s digital exchange programme, held from May to July 2022.

NZ Korea digital exchange

Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ) again worked in partnership with two education organisations in South Korea – Gangwon International Education Institute and Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education – as well as with NZ-based Learn English Live, to deliver the programme. 

The programme offers opportunities for Korean 12–14-year-olds, and for New Zealand students, many from low-decile schools, to develop their language skills and engage in cross-cultural relationships with their international peers. This is done through Zoom sessions using quizzes and other interactive activities, where students can share aspects of their life. Facilitated, student-led discussions in small groups are another key feature of the programme. 

In all, 654 students from 12 New Zealand schools and 16 South Korean schools participated in the programme, attending sessions once a week for seven weeks – 102 sessions in total. 

Students who participated in the programme represented the following schools across New Zealand: 

Sylvia Park School, Rotorua Intermediate, Raumati Beach School, Finlayson Park School, Tauranga Boys College, Taupo Intermediate, Cambridge High School, Waimea Intermediate, Tokoroa Intermediate, Solway College, Rowandale Intermediate, Auckland Grammar.  

Each school assigned at least one of their classes to take part in this programme, with teachers recommending the initiative to their colleagues for future sessions.  

Within the Seoul and Gangwon regions in South Korea the following schools took part:  

Seoul Schools: Dongguk Middle School, Wonmyoung Elementary School, Nonhyun Elementary School, Sinseo Middle School, Soongeui Elementary School, Topsan Elementary School, Gajaeul Elementary School, Seoul Kyodong Elementary School, Hansan Elementary School, Seoul Anpyeong Elementary School, Singa Elementary School, Buksung Elementary School, Songwon Elementary School.  

Gangwon Schools: Gangreung Haeram Middle School Buron Middle School Namchuncheon Girls' Middle School.  

A total of 339 children from South Korea were digitally connected with children in New Zealand. 

The 2022 programme has provided many positive benefits for schools, teachers, children, and the wider community both in New Zealand and South Korea. In a world where in-person exchange and cultural opportunities remain constrained, the programme has continued to enable school children to connect with their international peers and develop long-term connections.  

Feedback from teachers in New Zealand highlighted the enthusiasm that children in the classroom showed towards the programme.  

The incorporation of a hybrid STEM-based and cultural-based exchange model was especially welcomed and enabled the promotion of unique aspects of Māori culture, in a modern format, on the international education stage.  

New Zealand teachers also gave the programme the thumbs up. Given their high workloads, they appreciated that they did not have to organise the content or facilitate the sessions, as this was taken care of by the Learn English Live (LEL) team.  

The programme provided the opportunity to indirectly promote a New Zealand school education to a South Korean audience. Students there were reported to be highly engaged throughout the exchange. The ENZ team will give a presentation on the programme at the Australia International Education Conference (AIEC) in October 2022: The session will explain the programme evaluation and survey methodology and how the results are being used by ENZ and LEL to continue to enhance the digital exchange to benefit students. The presenters will also discuss how they overcame challenges relating to language barriers, as one of the main goals of the exchange is to support Korean students with learning and practising English. 

Contacts for more information 

New Zealand representatives attending AIEC can attend the ENZ session or contact our South Korea team to receive a copy of the presentation slides after the conference (Alanna Dick) 

Know of a New Zealand school interested in the next round of NZ-Korea digital student exchange? Please contact Learn English Live (William Clarke).

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