Round Square Conferences for Students

We often associate ‘conferences’ as being something that tend to be directed towards adults, however through the Round Square network, our Westminster students are extremely lucky to have many opportunities to attend a variety of conferences throughout the year, both locally and internationally. We advertise these opportunities regularly through email, student notices, word of mouth, and in our eNews. The financial cost for these conferences can vary depending on the length and venue.

On average, an Australian based conference is usually the cost of flights plus around $700 to $800 which includes accommodation, food, and activities for around four days. International conferences can be between $3500 to $6000 per person depending on where they are held. This price includes not only the flights and main conference, but usually a pre or post conference tour of five to seven days.

Each conference has a theme based on the IDEALS of Round Square. There are usually a combination of guest speakers, group discussions, workshops, cultural visits, community service, and adventure activities.

With specific age-range conferences, students are able to work with other delegates of a similar age, discussing topics and participating in activities that are age appropriate. The International Conference and all Globally Accessible Conferences include students from multiple countries across the world and up to 500 delegates per host school.

Regional Conferences usually include students from all or many of the schools in the region in which the conference takes place. Each school brings a delegation of students and accompanying adults.

Every year the Round Square International Conference (RSIC) is hosted by a different Round Square Region on rotation. The 2017 conference will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, and Westminster is sending two student delegates to participate in this. In 2018, the International conference will be hosted by a selection of schools in Canada. Very shortly we will begin expressions of interest to attend this conference.

Teamwork heavily features in every Round Square Conference and students are encouraged to participate, collaborate, and involve themselves positively in every aspect. This teamwork helps students to develop the fundamental skills associated with working as a collective unit toward a common goal. This type of teamwork introduces a variety of skills that will be valuable for our students later in the workforce, such as negotiating, persuading, compromising, conflict management, and collective effort. This is done through the formation of ‘Baraza’ or ‘Rikka’.

Baraza

Old African word meaning "The coming together of different people"

Barazas allow for student delegates, teachers, Heads, and Governors to hold debates and free discussions where everyone’s opinion is valued equally - every conference delegate is allocated a Baraza group. Barazas are usually smaller than Rikkas and are led by a student Baraza leader.

Rikka

Old African word meaning "The coming together of similar people"

Rikkas are separate student delegate, teachers, Heads, and Governors meetings and take place throughout a conference in order to discuss important topics raised. Rikkas are a great opportunity to express your views with your peers.

Each Round Square International Conference, and many Regional and local conferences offer an adventure activity or day, as well as an opportunity to participate in a Service Learning activity. This varies greatly depending on the host school, the event programme, and the country you are visiting. Whatever the activities planned by your host school are, it is always encouraged to embrace the adventure and enjoy the experience. Service activities offer the opportunity to demonstrate citizenship and leadership skills, a respect for the dignity of all, the ability to work with diverse people, initiate social change, whilst also making a difference in the community.

There is usually a range of pre/post conference trips also available. These are often cultural and adventure themed, where your school delegation might meet with another Round Square School to experience a town/city/country en-route to or from the conference. These aren’t compulsory and are negotiated with the delegates attending.

Please see further information below to find out more about the opportunities available to Westminster students through Round Square in 2018. I am always more than happy to meet with students and parents to discuss these options further.

Red Dove Café at the Royal Adelaide Show

I am very pleased to say we have a number of our Westminster students volunteering their time this year at the Royal Adelaide Show, working in the Red Dove Café. We had many of our students putting their names forward for this worthwhile event and I have been impressed with not only their generosity, but their commitment to their Service Learning.

‘Red Dove Café is a Royal Adelaide Show institution for over 60 years. Since 1951 Red Dove has served food and drinks to Adelaide's show-goers with the purpose of raising money for mission. The cafe offers a healthy range of home-style meals and a full range of snack and drink items.’

Don’t forget to go and say ‘Hi’ to our Westminster students if you are visiting the Royal Show this year. They will be more than happy to serve you!

Unused Airline Toiletries and Toiletry Bags

Recently a generous member of our Westminster community donated a number of airline toiletry bags for us to distribute to a worthwhile charity. I have since spoken to several people who have connections with the organisation ‘Share the Dignity’, and we felt these would be a great addition to their drive to help out people who struggle to purchase these items, due to homelessness or low income.

It then got me thinking about how many other people probably have a number of these toiletry items lying around in the cupboard, unused. We are so fortunate today to be able to travel so much internationally that we are often being given items like this that we really don’t need.

If you have any of these airline toiletry bags that still have unused items, we would love for you to add them to our collection for donation. Please just email me directly to work out delivery of these. I guarantee it will be much appreciated.

Exchange Student Farewells and Reflections

At the beginning of Term 3, we welcomed four Exchange students to our Westminster community.

  • Isabella Hill – Woodhouse Grove School, UK, hosted by Lily Brice-Marwood (Year 11 Heaslip)
  • AJ Sheinberg – Athenian School, USA, hosted by Luke Charlton (Year 10 Forder)
  • Kyle Van Hoesen – Athenian School, USA, hosted by Phoenix Agar (Year 10 Carter)
  • Jort Steenhuisen – Lindenborg School, Netherlands, hosted by Thijs Jaarsma (Year 10 Dunstan)

We now say a big farewell to each of those students as they return home to the UK, USA, and Netherlands. We wish them all the best as they begin their new school year.

All of our Exchange students for Term 3 expressed to me how much they loved their experience here at Westminster, with several making plans already for their next visit! The fact that Exchange students are genuinely happy to be here and truly enjoy their experience is a testament to how well we as a Westminster community look after them during their stay. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Term 3 host families for all their efforts in making our Exchange students feel welcomed. Although we won’t have any more Exchange students arriving in Term 4 at this stage we will be keen to hear about the adventures of several of our own Westminster students who either return from Exchange or who undertake new challenges overseas.

Exchange Student Reflections

Alex Sheinberg (The Athenian School, USA)

‘Life at Westminster is completely different from life at Athenian. For starters, students are required to wear the school uniform every day and do not call teachers by first name. Sport and competition are essential to the school culture here unlike at Athenian where it is solely an extracurricular. Students are divided into separate houses and students from these houses compete in numerous sports while at Athenian this doesn’t exist. I think the competition between students allows them to meet new people and joke around. Something I have noticed about students here compared to those at home is in general they are a lot more relaxed and outgoing. Another thing I really liked about Westminster was boarding. Everyone in the dorms is nice and fun to hang out with. Overall, I would strongly recommend going on exchange to everyone here. Thanks Westminster.’

Kyle Van Hoesen (The Athenian School, USA)

‘My stay here in Australia has been amazing. The people have been so cheerful and welcoming, and I enjoyed their accents immensely. I loved my host family, and they showed me so much of Australia’s culture. I loved the kangaroos and koalas. They are both so soft, and the way the kangaroos bounce is adorable. I did not enjoy the snakes and saw one more than I was hoping to see. Some of my favourite times were watching footy, hiking Mt. Lofty, exploring the city, and taking a trip to Kangaroo Island. The sand dunes, Admirals’ Arch, and Remarkable Rocks were the highlight of KI. In the winter at home, (Danville, Californa) we can go sledding in the snow in the Sierra Mountains, but sledding on sand is a very new experience which I enjoyed. I also liked Australia’s colorful (sorry for the American spelling) wildlife and plants. I was pleasantly surprised by parrots flying by me in the wild. The city of Adelaide is beautiful and filled with so many parks and built in a wonderful spot. The multicultural city is amazing and I would love to come back.

Westminster was a new and exciting experience for me. My school is VERY different. The dress code at my school is basically ‘no public indecency and use some common sense’. So wearing a uniform was new and interesting for me. At home we are on a first name basis with all of our teachers including our head of school, Eric (a great guy). That would be like walking up to Mr. Wallage and saying “Hey David”. We have smaller classes and lots of experiential learning at Athenian. The classes at Westminster are interesting and styled a little differently. I enjoyed all my classes and found them all to be somewhere different to where I was in my second semester sophomore year (grade 10). Also at Athenian we space our sciences, math, and histories out in sections. For example, at Athenian one would take Physics for a year, then Chemistry for a year, and then Biology, rather than having them mixed together. The social aspect of the school was fun with all the new stories and people.

Overall the exchange was very fun and I would love to come back again and say “g’day mate” to my host family. I would like to say thank you to Julia for helping organize the exchange program at Westminster. Also, I want to especially thank my host family, Phoenix and his parents. When I arrived I was greeted by welcoming strangers and when I left I said good bye to a second family. And thank you to all at Westminster for making my exchange an amazing and memorable experience in my life.

 

 

Upcoming Round Square Conference Opportunities for Students

Keystone Academy Round Square Conference

Saturday 31 March to Wednesday 4 April 2018
China
Suitable for ages: 13 to 14
Keystone Academy

Regents’ Bangkok RS Global Conference

Monday 9 to Friday 13 April 2018
Regents’ Bangkok
Suitable for ages: 14 to 15
Regent’s Bangkok School

Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School Round Square Conference

Saturday 14 to Wednesday 18 April 2018
Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, Australia
Suitable for ages: 15 to 18
Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School

The Armidale School Round Square Conference

Monday 23 to Friday 27 April 2018
The Armidale School, Australia
Suitable for ages: 10 to 12
Armidale School

RSIC Montreal, CANADA

Dates still to be confirmed, but likely to be around end of September/early October 2018
Suitable for ages: 16 to 18 (students must be 16 in year of the conference)
Hosted by several Canadian schools, yet to be confirmed.

If any student is interested in attending any of these conferences for 2018, please email me directly to find out more. Cost will vary significantly depending on the location and length of the conference. Age restrictions apply to most of the conferences and this is to ensure that students are working with similar aged students on a variety of Round Square issues.

Anyone interested in finding out more information about Exchanges or any other Round Square initiative should contact me via Email if in the Senior School, or contact Mr Chris Haines via Email if you are in the Preparatory School.