The Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) is launching a comprehensive International Exchange Program as part of the district’s effort to boost students’ global and intercultural awareness, curriculum engagement and potential future career opportunities. Collaborations have begun with Anshan, China and Maioli County, Taiwan, with the goal to bring international students to Mt. Vernon Schools next year. The initiative also includes a goal of sending MVCSC students and staff abroad.
The MVCSC English Immersion Exchange Opportunities for international exchange students include different options for potential students: a two week summer camp, a semester experience, or a full year student exchange. Tuition is being developed for each option. Students from abroad will experience the American education system and become immersed in the educational culture. Students will have the opportunity to become involved in a multitude of educational opportunities and student activities.
Later stages of the program would include the development of a dormitory, with the former Fortville Boys & Girls Home as a potential site. MVCSC has identified an independent investor who has expressed an interest in the development of the dormitories. A resident assistant will be housed in between the girls’ wing and boys’ wing of the dormitory.
Dr. Shane Robbins, Superintendent of Schools, states “the international learning opportunities are a significant step for Mt. Vernon students. We will foster the international partnerships in education between Taiwan and China, and provide their students with a safe learning environment and a complete English immersion experience. MVCSC students are encouraged to treasure the opportunity to learn from one another and broaden their horizons by building connections to serve as the foundation of their future networks.”
Recently, MVCSC administrators participated in the Global Forum on Education at Kokomo Schools. Several Chinese and Taiwanese delegates attended the Global Forum on Education for three days, including the Deputy Director of Anshan Bureau of Education and the Director of English Teaching Resource Center at Miaoli County Government in Taiwan.
At the Global Forum on Education, a memorandum of agreement to continue educational collaboration was signed by Superintendent Dr. Robbins and the Deputy Director of Anshan Bureau of Education. The partnership launches MVCSC’s International Exchange program with China for future education exchanges.
Interpreters, including Mt. Vernon High School’s Mandarin Chinese Teacher from Taiwan, aided all four organizations in their education presentations. The conference attendees included many teachers and administrators from Kokomo Schools, MVCSC, China, and Taiwan. Attendees learned about the multitude of similarities and differences between the two educational systems. Representatives from Taiwan were planning to present on Kokomo and Mt. Vernon school educational opportunities and culture when they returned to their homeland.
The education system in China has vast differences in schedule, student responsibilities, culture and curriculum. Chinese and Taiwanese students attend school from approximately 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Students stay in one large classroom for the majority of the day, including lunch, which is then followed by a 30-minute nap on their desk. After the brief nap, students take another 30 minutes to clean their school, which may include the restrooms. The Chinese and Taiwanese students are taught social responsibility and receive practical, real-life experience to aid their futures, such as cultivating rice fields or basket weaving. Their curriculum also includes the English language and generally has less homework with more tests than the American education.
Taiwanese delegates stayed an extra half day to visit Mt. Vernon Middle School and Mt. Vernon High School. The delegates were also given a brief tour of Fortville to experience the safe and friendly culture Hoosiers provide.
Greg Roach, Mt. Vernon High School Principal, states, “We are excited to expand the exposure our students have to the different cultures of the world. The benefits of this program are endless for both our students and staff. I am looking forward to working with our new friends in Taiwan and China to provide an expansive educational experience for all of our students.”
Mt. Vernon is planning for the program to expand to other countries in the future. The MVCSC International Exchange program will be sustained through future fundraisers to support training and operations.
Additional information, including an International Exchange brochure, can be found at www.mvcsc.k12.in.us/International. Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation is proud to bring international partnerships through education to the students and staff. The International Exchange Program will further develop the global perspective and broaden intercultural awareness to MVCSC, Fortville and Indiana.