26 January 2022 at 9:30 am

New Zealand – South Korea digital student exchange

More than 1,000 Kiwi and Korean school students recently took part in a digital student exchange programme as part of a broader initiative to develop global citizens.

Culture exchange

From September to December 2021 more than 300 New Zealand students from a range of primary, intermediate and secondary schools joined with more than 700 students from elementary and middle schools in Seoul and Gangwon in digital classroom cultural exchanges.  

Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao 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 sessions included conversation in English, peer-to-peer teaching and learning, cultural learnings and sharing, and interactive games.  Student responses to the programme across both countries highlighted how much they enjoyed meeting people from different cultures and learning to respect different views. Around 70% of New Zealand students said they made a South Korean friend through the digital exchange forums while South Korean students highlighted the improvement in their English language skills, with 70% saying they would like to come to New Zealand. 

Parents and teachers also shared heart-warming comments about the how the programme had built their child’s confidence and given them a leadership opportunity. In a survey conducted at the completion of the programme, parents of Lara, a nine-year old New Zealand girl, shared their experience. “It’s been excellent to observe Lara’s leadership ability shine through. I never realised how confident she is and her ability to teach and interact with kids from a different culture…  Lara has become more aware of other cultures and appreciates the diversity around her.”

Teachers were also impressed, with one from Manurewa Intermediate commenting, "I want my students to be a part of this programme because it teaches them so many skills."

Following the success of the initial programme, the digital student exchange is set to continue in 2022, expanding to more New Zealand schools and implementing new ideas from students to meet their growing interest in other cultures and languages.  New Zealand schools interested in joining the 2022 digital culture exchange can contact William Clarke at Learn English Live: William.h.clarke@hotmail.com

Education cooperation initiatives with ENZ, such as the Global Competence Certificate and this programme of digital culture exchanges are supported by the Arrangement on Education Cooperation that was signed by ENZ and Gangwon International Education Institute in November 2021.  A similar agreement was reached with Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education last March.  

The digital student exchange programme is in line with ENZ’s goal to develop global citizens as part of the New Zealand International Education Strategy 2018-2030.

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