OCENET Tip Sheet #10:

OCENET Tip Sheet #10:


Best Practices for Sustainable School Partnerships
and Student Exchanges Abroad


In early 2017 OCENET received a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Education to research best practices related to sustainable partnerships and student exchanges with schools overseas. As part of this project, 14 OCDSB educators with extensive experience in international education participated in extensive one-to-one interviews to discuss issues around sustaining school partnerships internationally and to offer advice in establishing and maintaining student exchanges with schools abroad.

This research project produced a report entitled A Guide to Best Practices for Developing Global Competencies through Sustainable Partnership Schools Abroad, Grades 7-12 which includes a synopsis of current research, ways to establish partnership schools, a concise guide to establishing a sustainable partnership school, a checklist for successful international student exchanges, a detailed catalogue of challenges and strategic solutions, best practices for initiating and maintaining sustainable school partnerships and student exchanges, and several general recommendations.

The report addresses Ontario educators from those who are beginning to consider starting an international school partnership or student exchange to those educators who are experienced in sustaining a partnership or exchange internationally. The report is comprehensive and offers practical information and advice, along with explanations of the following best practices:

  • Consistent support for international experiential education by school board senior staff
  • Develop a curriculum focus that extends beyond one school year
  • Advertise a four year plan for international study tours and exchanges for high school students
  • Maintain a consistent message when many schools are involved in an international student exchange
  • Seek innovative ways to financially support student exchanges
  • Make global awareness part of the “culture” of a school
  • Sustainable partnerships and exchanges are about building strong relationships
  • Use technology to build relationships
  • Offer an International Certificate Program
  • Find a strong intermediary or educational agent that can help facilitate an international exchange
  • Organize board-wide opportunities for international study tours and exchanges with students
  • Select students for international student exchanges based on merit and commitment to developing global competency
  • Have students be ambassadors for promoting the value of global educational experiences
  • Profile international students attending local schools
  • Ensure students are aware of cultural differences before travelling overseas
  • Cultivate a school board reputation that demonstrates commitment to international partnerships

 Check out @OCENETOttawa "Guide to Best Practices for Developing Global Competencies through Sustainable Partnership Schools Abroad, Grades 7-12"

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