Rural kids receive international cultural language exchange from home

Published 13 March 2015

Cultural exchange 6 copySchool children from regional areas who don’t have the opportunity to travel overseas are benefitting from the Asia ConneXions program at the University of New England.

The Asia ConneXions program connects Australian schools with schools in Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia, and India through high definition videoconferencing for developing Asian language skills and understanding of Asian cultures.

Program Director Dr Myung-Sook Auh says three thousand students from seventy Australian and sixty Asian schools are participating in the Asia ConneXions program.

“Students from Australia are developing their Asian language skills through real time conversation with Asian students.  A lot of rural students don’t get to travel so meeting Asian students of a similar age is an exciting opportunity,” said Dr Myung-sook Auh.

Under the program, primary students connect via videoconferencing technology with their Asian counterparts about twenty times a year.

Athol Road Primary School teacher Ilknur Moore says the partnership with a Korean school has provided global connections for Athol students.

“The students develop confidence in public speaking, inquiry-based learning skills and intercultural understanding of different cultures.”

Dr Myung-sook Auh said Australian students’ videoconferencing with Asian students develop global thinking by thinking beyond their comfort zones and putting themselves in the global context, and developing confidence in public speaking.

“When Australian students grow up learning about Asian cultures and languages, they are likely to be better prepared for job opportunities in Asia-related companies in Australia and in Asia.”

The vision of the Asian ConneXions project is to develop Global ConneXions for schools to provide global education opportunities for rural and regional students in Australia.