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Embracing social emotional learning and mindfulness at UWCT

This academic year marks the beginning of a new era for Phuket International Academy, as it officially becomes the 16th school to join the United World College movement.


By The Phuket News

Friday 9 September 2016, 11:00AM


Students planted over 1,000 mangrove trees to  help restore the natural habitat.

Students planted over 1,000 mangrove trees to help restore the natural habitat.

UWC schools aim to "unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”. With this mission in mind, UWC has been a pioneer in the field of international education, selecting scholars from various countries through a rigorous process, and providing them with a transformational educational experience that broadens their minds and prepares them to responsibly and intelligently address the complex problems facing the world today.

On August 10, UWCT students from over 40 different nationalities came together to participate in a five-day induction programme, where they were introduced to the five components that comprise UWCT’s educational programme: academics, social emotional learning and mindfulness, outdoor education, service and activities. They also built strong ties with one another.

Anna, Grade 11 student from Italy, says, “When you arrive at a new place, you don’t know many
people. You can talk to them, know their names, know where they are from but you still don’t really know them. Coming here however, and being able to work together to achieve a common goal has made me much closer to understanding people.

The students began with an introduction to social emotional learning and mindfulness. Jordanian student Talal, reflects on his experience, “One of the most important things I discovered in the workshops was the idea of mindfulness – which was very new to me. I found it very helpful in calming me down, and making me feel comfortable in this new place. I now do it everyday, and can see it having a large impact on my daily life.

During orientation, students also planted 1,000 mangrove trees together. Over half the world’s mangrove habitats have been cleared, but mangroves play a vital role within the coastal ecosystem. They provide nurseries for many young marine species, and act as a natural protector against coastal erosion and storm surges.

American and Russian student Mila, reflects, “I thought the mangrove planting was a good introduction to the educational approach of UWCT, since it was associated very closely with not only the values of the school, but also to its classroom courses like ESS (Environmental Systems and Societies).”

With orientation now finished and school back in session in its second week, UWCT students are already deep into their learning. Grade 11 student Sarah from Germany, reflects, “I’ve always
wanted to be somewhere where you can be yourself without being judged for it, and I’ve never experienced it that way until being here. Everyone is so warm here, and everybody has such a kind heart and that’s just incredible."

 

 

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