Central to the way Woodbridge pupils learn is by broadening their horizons through international travel and exchanges. The School’s long standing International Programme emphasises linguistic and cultural enrichment and takes children all over the world to countries such as Russia, Japan and China. The memories and experiences from these trips are instantly recalled as major highlights of school life by all those who have experienced them.
From Year 9, pupils are encouraged to take part in these highly stimulating and varied cultural exchange programmes which enable students to both live with and learn from people and lifestyles far removed from Suffolk.
Millie, Upper Sixth
“Having been on quite a few school exchanges over the years we all agree that this was without doubt one of the best, if not the best, exchange that Woodbridge School has. After walking along the beach with friendly deer at the Miyajima shrine, taking the bullet train to Hiroshima and developing an addiction to watermelon soda, we were all sad to leave.
We were welcomed at our sister school, Omi Kyodai, with an opening ceremony which included a traditional Japanese drum display, speeches and introductions in Japanese. Although we then spent the majority of our time with our partners at school or in their homes, we also spent a few days in Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima’s Peace Park, a visit which ended with a spontaneous trip to a karaoke bar. Perhaps most memorable was a soulful rendition of Beyoncé’s ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ from Saffron and Chloe complete with actions and two-part harmonies that led to reactions like ‘I laughed so hard I forgot how to breathe.’
The trip to Miyajima Island in particular was incredible. We spent the day eating green-tea ice cream, watching deer try to get into restaurants and getting stuck in sandbanks when the tide came in. Then we watched the lanterns being lit along the shore from the boat on the way back to Hiroshima.
Overall the trip was very successful. Everyone’s Japanese noticeably improved and we will all have memories that we will treasure for the rest of our lives.
Charlotte, Upper Sixth
When I was first asked to write about China, I was asked “what were your favourite experiences in China?” and it seemed impossible for me to pick just one. After long consideration, I finally realised that while the new experiences in China were so unlike anything I had done before, it was in fact the people of the trip that made the exchange so wonderful. Every student in Taichang School greeted my fellow English students and I with a smile on their face, no matter how jet-lagged and grumpy we were. Always attentive and thoughtful, our exchanges fed us until we couldn’t eat anymore, introduced us to their families and accommodated our every need. The exchange wouldn’t have been so successful if wasn’t for Mr and Mrs Lubbock, who turned every day into an exciting new task and didn’t give any of us the chance to become bored.
Before the trip I didn’t know all of the people coming with me, and was unsure whether we would all get along. Luckily my worries were completely unfounded, as we all became fast friends and got stuck into every activity; including 7am Tai Chi, with the usual Woodbridge Spirit. It is my firm belief the exchange would not have been what it was without my fellow students’ personalities making everyday something different and exciting and just plain brilliant.
The Chinese exchange is something I would strongly suggest to anyone, no matter how out-going or shy, as it is the perfect way to make new friends from both sides of the world and it gave me memories I will be carrying with me for a very long time.