Silicon Valley International School (INTL) fosters global connections and cultural understanding through its experiential learning and language exchange programs. Most recently, INTL welcomed a group of 5th through 9th Graders from New Taipei Municipal Tur Ya Kar Elementary & Junior High School (TYK), a sister school from Taiwan, to campus. TYK spent a week on INTL’s Willows Campus, going to classes while also living with INTL students and their families.
This exchange initiative equips students with indispensable skills for success in our interconnected world. Beyond the enriching experiences of immersing themselves in different cultures abroad, students hosting exchange peers also gain fresh perspectives on their own cultural norms.
Reflecting on the positive impact, 10th Grader Owen L. shared, "the exchange has been a really positive experience. I wanted to show my buddy from TYK what students our age do for fun. So, we explored various restaurants and shopping centers. Edward was particularly intrigued by the tech stores, noting differences compared to those back home. Despite the challenges in class exploring complex topics, my buddy actively participated and gained a lot from the immersive experience."
Aside from classroom activities, TYK students enjoyed an educational outing to Tech Interactive. The joint group of INTL and TYK students spent hours exploring exhibits, with highlights including the bio design lab, where they examined their own cells, and the "Solve the Earth" exhibit, addressing issues of urban growth, food supply, sustainability, and environmental protection. The day also featured designing roller coasters and exploring space travel possibilities. In the afternoon, the group explored downtown San Jose and enjoyed the architecture of the art museum, city hall, and SJSU.
These experiences not only broaden horizons, but also create enduring memories and cross-cultural relationships.
Howard from TYK expressed gratitude, saying, "I want to convey my deep appreciation to my host family for their warm welcome. They provided a comfortable living space, and I engaged in activities with my buddy Andrew K. that I wouldn't typically do. The INTL host family exuded care and support."
Echoing Howard's sentiments, Lillian from TYK shared, "my first impression was, wow, everyone's so friendly! The teachers, the students, I feel a great sense of warmth from everyone on campus. We also got to do lots of science experiments, something unique we don't usually experience at our school in Taiwan."
Looking ahead, INTL's students will reciprocate the visit by traveling to TYK in the spring, further solidifying friendships and nurturing a global perspective. INTL’s emphasis on experiential learning and exchange programs continues to empower students with critical thinking skills, understanding, and cultural sensitivity.