Can a square be round? And can something round be square?
By Vishesh Poddar, Grade 7, Aditeya Purbey, Grade 6, and Joshua Pantekoek, Grade 8
The unique organisation, Round Square, is a collaboration between schools around the globe, including our school, that offers eye-opening experiences for students. Like UWCSEA, it promotes Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service - also known as IDEALS.
We - Joshua, Aditeya, and Vishesh - have been doing the Middle School Round Square Activity for a few months to date. It takes place every Friday and we believe it is worth missing one lunchtime every week to learn about the Round Square trips and exchange programmes in other countries that Middle School students can attend. It is not a Service as such but an easy, short, and enjoyable activity.
We get to meet young people who come from different schools around the world to UWCSEA to learn about our multi-cultural experiences and perspectives. We talk to them and find out about their personalities, the interesting places they have come from, and their lifestyles overseas, and we ask them what they find different and challenging in our school. It’s really fun talking to them. Arvin from Keystone Academy in Beijing recently came to our Round Square activity as an exchange student and told us how he was surprised at the amazing diversity of our students’ backgrounds.
Another part of Round Square is the exchange opportunities our students can take advantage of. If you’re in Grade 7 or above, you can go to another Round Square school abroad and stay with a host family for a few weeks, meeting new people and developing strong friendships with people you wouldn’t normally encounter. Some of our UWCSEA students who went overseas come along to share their experiences as well.
In April, ten of our Grade 6 and Grade 8 students went on a Round Square trip outside of Melbourne, in Australia. They camped on the Woodleigh bushland campus with 150 other students from the region and participated in challenging service, adventure, and sustainable activities such as learning about indigenous food sources, surfing, or recycling plastic via a machine developed by a local university. Watch a 2 minute video of this fabulous trip.
Round Square activity is like a club - you don’t have to come only when you’re going on a trip - you learn and participate in new situations with new friends. UWCSEA students develop their leadership qualities here in a fun way. Everyone participates and you can choose which type of job you want to do: research on other RS schools, discussions, group projects, assembly presentations and writing articles like this to tell others about Round Square.
So the next time somebody asks you if a square can be round, the answer is definitely YES! We certainly changed our views and perspectives as a result of our involvement in Round Square.
UWCSEA is a Global member of Round Square, a world-wide association with over 160 member schools in 40 countries. Students attending Round Square schools share a commitment beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility. UWCSEA is part of the Australasian and East Asia region. Read more about the programme here.