I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to those of you in the Westminster community I haven’t already met. My name is Julia Chukwuani and I am the Round Square and Exchanges Coordinator at Westminster. I have been working in this role since late 2016 and have had the pleasure of organising many Exchanges, Conferences and other opportunities for our students here at Westminster. Although in the past I have worked primarily in the Senior School, this year I will be branching out to also spend some time with our younger students and guide them in their understanding of Round Square and how they can best utilise the opportunities on offer.
As many of you may already be aware, I have been teaching German at Westminster since the start of 2012. What you may not be aware of is that prior to this, I spent almost four years living and working in Switzerland. I lived in a small town, in close proximity to Lake Constance, directly on the border of Germany and Switzerland. During this time, I was not only able to develop my skills and networks as a language teacher and coordinator, but I was able to see just how important global communication really is. Communicating in several different languages is quite the norm in a place like Switzerland and it is in this I experienced how vital it is for us all to be able to effectively relate to others on an international scale.
Through Round Square, Westminster offers a variety of ‘global’ and ‘local’ opportunities by way of Exchanges, a vast number of Service and Leadership Projects and Experiential Learning. We aim to develop our students’ potential to ensure they will be well-rounded global citizens who contribute positively to our ever-changing world.
I have included some more information below, which explains the ‘Spirit’ of Round Square in more detail. Should you have any questions about Round Square initiatives at Westminster, please feel free to contact me anytime via Email.
I look forward to hearing from you!
For those of you new to Westminster, you may be wondering what exactly is ‘Round Square’? We hear this term thrown about quite a lot but often people don’t fully understand the extent to which this shapes a significant part of our Westminster community.
Round Square owes much to the heritage of Kurt Hahn, who founded two of the original member schools, Schule Schloss Salem (pictured below) in Germany, with Prince Max of Baden, and Gordonstoun in Scotland.
Both schools committed to equipping youth for leadership and service in a democracy by helping them to prepare for life despite hardships, dangers, and emotion of the moment.
A pupil of both schools, Jocelin Winthrop Young, later headmaster of Anavryta School, had an idea to found a permanent association of schools that shared in these beliefs, and whose students were prepared to provide practical support to communities in need, as Salem’s pupils had done after the earthquake at Argostoli in the Ionian Islands in 1954.
In 1966, King Constantine of the Hellenes, a former pupil of Anavryta, chaired a meeting of the first seven schools that would form the association, later named after the Round Square building at Gordonstoun, where the first conference took place in 1967.
Kurt Hahn was a German educator and a key figure in the development of experiential education. To this day his philosophies have far-reaching international influence that has stood the test of time.
Hahn believed that students could only really understand life by experiencing it in many exciting and challenging ways. By testing themselves, students would be able to develop their courage, generosity, imagination, principles and resolution. Ultimately they would develop the skills and abilities to become the guardians and leaders of the future.
He also believed that the greatest thing one could learn – and inspire in others – was compassion. Inspired by this principle, the Round Square network of schools share practical opportunities to guide and support students in becoming courageous and compassionate leaders. Kurt Hahn’s philosophies also founded Outward Bound and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Program.
‘There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less’
Westminster can be very proud to be one of only several schools in Australia (and the only school currently in South Australia) to be part of the international network of schools known as ‘Round Square’.
With over 150 Round Square schools worldwide we are united in a commitment to delivering a genuinely all-round education. ‘Round Square’ schools are of the belief we have a responsibility not just to help students achieve academic success, but also to help them develop into well-rounded individuals who not only possess sound life skills but will make positive and long lasting contributions to our global community.
The ‘Round Square’ approach is underpinned by the IDEALS philosophy:
At Westminster, we try hard to ensure these IDEALS are woven into everything that we do, both curricular and co-curricular. Our student involvement in both ‘Round Square’ Exchanges, Conferences and Service Projects has continued to be high and it is an absolute pleasure to watch how students grow in confidence as they take advantage of the many opportunities on offer to them. For more information on the IDEALS of ‘Round Square’ please go to www.roundsquare.org
Exchanges can take many different forms and some of this depends on what a student is looking to gain from the experience. At Westminster we offer both regional and international exchanges with other Round Square schools, all of varying lengths. We also promote the SA-Bavarian exchange for our students of German (run through Concordia College). Information for this exchange usually comes out around March each year. It is designed mostly for Year 10 students who are currently studying the German language.
The best thing about participating in a student exchange at Westminster is that you can have a great deal of choice about what suits you best, with regard to timing and location. Many students come along/email with just an idea of a country they would like to go to and from there we make contact with other Round Square schools and use these connections to set up valuable experiences for our students. Although there is never an absolute guarantee a placement will be found, we will do our absolute best to try to make it happen!
The majority of international exchanges at Westminster tend to happen around Year 10 and 11 but we have previously organised many regional exchanges for our younger students. I strongly encourage our students to begin the process early though as there is a lot more involved in going on an Exchange than just deciding you want to go!
We are pleased to have two exchange students join us in Term 1 at Westminster in the Senior School. This term our Exchange students both come from Canada, however we will have other students joining us later in the year from several other countries. I will announce these and our Outgoing Exchange students in future eNews articles. Having Exchange students be part of our school and Westminster families, can only serve to enhance our global mindedness and cultural understanding further. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the following students to Westminster:
Some things to keep an eye out for in the coming weeks:
For further information on Round Square and Exchanges, please contact me via Email.
Round Square and Exchanges Coordinator