This academic year I was fortunate enough to be the Buddy Exchange Program coordinator and Fontenebro International School chose Luna Alonso from 4ºESO to represent our school. Luna participated in a reciprocal exchange in which she spent one month in Abu Dhabi attending Reach British School and her buddy, Rebeca, spent one month here at Fontenebro School. They lived with one another’s families and went to school as any other student would in their host country, attending classes and learning the local lifestyle.
The entire experience from start to finish was beyond enriching for both Luna and myself. Luna came back from Abu Dhabi with a significant increase in independence and appreciation for other cultures and ways of life. She learned how to live in a foreign country with a different family in an entirely different culture, which inherently leads to someone becoming more self-reliant and thus gaining confidence in themselves and their abilities to move through our increasingly globalized world on their own.
Furthermore, and possibly most importantly, Luna has acquired gratitude and respect for different lifestyles and non-Western societies. It is far too easy for teenagers to hold stereotypes and inaccurate perceptions about cultures that are vastly different from their own, and through an incredible experience such as this one, they can learn to dispose of attitudes that are potentially harmful, prejudiced and mistaken. I strongly believe intercultural competence to be one the most important set of skills one can acquire in life as it will help them to become a more internationally minded citizen of the world, and seeing so clearly how Luna has obtained this knowledge has been immensely gratifying on my part.
I thoroughly enjoyed being the coordinator of this program and hope that Fontenebro International School can continue to take part in this enlightening, impactful, and once-in-a-lifetime ISP program.
ESO English Teacher