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GAIL 2019: China

News

25 July 2019

GAIL 2019: China

GAIL 2019: China

Recently, ten Scotch students embarked on a journey to China to attend the 5th annual GAIL event at the Western International School of Shanghai (WISS).

GAIL is a conference which brings together 8 sister schools, Kimball Union Academy (USA), Kristin School (New Zealand), Prestige College (South Africa), Robert Gordon’s College (Scotland), Woodstock School (India), WISS (China), Newton College (Peru) and Scotch, from all over the globe to discuss pressing issues and relevant topics surrounding youth in the 21st century. GAIL stands for the Global Alliance for Innovative Learning and has been running since 2014, when Scotch first hosted the conference. Each year there is a new theme with this year’s theme and focus centred around ‘A Balanced Life’.

IMG_9897.JPGThe group of Scotchies began our trip on Friday the 21st of June, when we first travelled to the Chinese city of Chengdu as a start to our touring week. During our two-night stay in Chengdu, we travelled to the well-known Chengdu Panda Research Sanctuary and a remarkable Chinese magic show at the Chengdu Opera house. To travel quickly between each Chinese city, the GAIL team used bullet trains, a first for most of the students and staff. The second city was Xi’an. After arriving at the train station in the new city, we saw some modern Chinese architecture and then went through the Xi’an wall towards our beautiful hotel located in the old town of Xi’an. While in Xi’an, we saw the world-famous historic Terracotta warriors, a dream for all of the students and we also rode along the Xi’an wall on tandem bikes.

Our next stop was Beijing. Beijing was a highlight for most because while we were there, we walked along The Great Wall of China, visited a jade factory and did some late-night shopping. Finally, we journeyed to Shanghai where we had one day before the conference to visit Shanghai Disneyland. On arrival at Disneyland, the group of Scotchies were met by two GAIL students from Peru who were welcomed into our group and by the end of the conference became true Australians, knowing how to kick a footy and loving vegemite. We also met with two international Scotch students Lily Wu and Yitian Chen it was plenty of fun to hang out with them in their home country. On return to the hotel, we were greeted by multiple other GAIL student arrivals including all of the New Zealand and South African students, most of which were our roommates for the conference.

After a week of travelling, our group of GAIL Scotchies became very close, with the eight year 11’s integrating well with the two year 10’s and the Scotch GAIL team extremely confident and inspired for the conference ahead.

It’s fair to say that the GAIL conference was a life changing event for all of the Scotchies. The week was tailored to all different aspects of life, with students completing activities in their workshop groups with one or two students from each other school. Every workshop contributed to building on the theme of ‘A Balanced Life’. Some of the activities we participated in where rock climbing, highlighting to the students that there will always be obstacles and that it is important to pause, think and try to overcome them, whilst others, such as the communication workshop, showing the pros and cons of using technology and that it is essential to adjust and adapt on the amount you use depending on other aspects of your life. After the conference, each group presented their project that summarised all they learnt during the week.

Overall, the conference was an incredible experience, as we were able to be involved with crucial learning outside of the classroom. We met seven other groups of school students, not only learning together but also spending time with a completely new and unique group of people. We were all put into other people’s shoes through experiencing cultural activities which we wouldn’t consider doing or be able to do in Adelaide and we have all come out of GAIL with life-long friendships and more global-awareness.

Most importantly we believe that GAIL has helped us improve specific character strengths which couldn't have been accomplished without the open group of students all of which were capable of having in-depth conversations about a diverse range of topics. The collaboration and communication allowed us to delve deep into every other student on a personal level while also understanding their countries culture.

- Zac Horbelt & Chey Baker