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Global Citizens in Action: INTL Travels to Kenya

Global Citizens in Action: INTL Travels to Kenya

In early April, six 11th Grade students from Silicon Valley International School (INTL) headed halfway around the world to the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, to attend a Round Square International Conference. Hosted by Starehe Boys’ Center and School, the conference was themed "Internationalism: Global Citizens Tackling Global Challenges." The six-day program was packed with experiential learning, cultural exchanges, and exploring the beautiful landscapes of Kenya.

Students sitting in breakout groups discussing Global Challenges.

“We have been given the opportunity to participate in conferences with many other students from different countries,” said Cevan O., 11th Grade. “We have tackled the issues of climate change, world peace, and global citizenship. And, as students, we have come together to discuss these issues or the issues surrounding these topics. We've also been blessed with many keynote speakers who really understand these issues and as students we have discussed how we can contribute to these solutions.”

The six juniors from INTL standing out of the top of the game viewing vehicle during their safari.

The conference kicked off with a series of welcoming activities, including an impressive opening ceremony followed by the first keynote address, setting the tone for the theme of global challenges. Students visited the Limuru Tea Factory, providing a firsthand look at local industry and sustainable practices. The students also enjoyed further keynote addresses and a tour of the school hosting the conference, gaining insights into the educational environment in Kenya.

Two INTL juniors posing in front of a baby elephant at the elephant orphanage center.

Midweek, the focus shifted towards experiencing Kenya’s rich natural heritage with a game drive in the national park and visits to an elephant orphanage and the Giraffe Centre. These experiences not only brought our students closer to nature but also highlighted the importance of conservation efforts.

INTL student getting kissed on the neck by a giraffe.

A highlight was the trip to Lake Naivasha, where students attended the fourth keynote address and engaged in barazas – small groups that encouraged deep discussions and personal reflections on the topics covered. The conference concluded with a final plenary session and a vibrant Kenyan cultural night, where students enjoyed local cuisine and performances, celebrating the diverse cultural tapestry of Kenya.

Baby elephants feeding from a bottle at the elephant orphanage center.

As a chaperone on the trip, Assistant Head of School Jacqueline Cody recalled upon the group's return, "I've been reminded of the transformative value in such experiences by French Geography teacher Anne-Céline who has shared how the students have made connections with their units of study upon return to school. For example, during the unit on climate change students introduced new perspectives on climate refugees while others enhanced the classes learning on the unit on human development and diversity by speaking about entrepreneurship, corruption and globalization citing their experiences in Kenya. Furthermore, students have chosen to use this hands-on, real-world learning in their summative assessments and also their economic assessments, brilliantly exemplifying the power of such global exchanges." 

Students returned with not only enhanced knowledge of global issues but also a renewed commitment to act as informed global citizens. This trip was a testament to the power of internationalism and the role it plays in enriching our students' educational journeys. In addition to Kenya, INTL students will take part in other global Round Square conferences in both Spain and England in the spring of 2024.

Closing out the trip, Jacqueline stated, "as a proud member of Round Square, these trips provide invaluable opportunities for students to challenge their thinking, expand their perspectives and to engage in rich debate and dialogue with students from around the world." 


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