Date Posted... Nov 16th 2023

A Cultural Exchange with South Africa

After spending four to six weeks of their summer holiday on a cultural exchange in South Africa, three Truro School students and their families are now hosting their return exchange with a group of South African students here in Truro.

Truro School pupils, Quinn, Hebe and Thea applied to take part in this year’s exchange (the first since the pandemic). Having finished their GCSEs, our three students travelled to stay with host families in Somerset West, near Cape Town, South Africa.

Whilst there, they enjoyed sights including trips to the local game reserve and a visit to Table Mountain in Cape Town. They enjoyed trying the local foods, including oxtail potjiekos (a traditional one-pot dish cooked outside over a fire), springbok steak and, of course, South Africa’s favourite snack – biltong.

It is now Truro School’s turn to host. South African students Keegan, Ashley, and Mark arrived at Truro School this half-term and are staying with their respective host families until the end of November.

Alongside cultural opportunities, the exchange highlights some differences in schooling between South Africa and the UK. Our South African students study a 3-year IEB programme with 7-8 subjects including Maths, English, Afrikans and ESTEAM, which stands for Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

Whilst here, the SA students are participating in our A-Level programme and Sixth Form Diploma activities. With more free periods than they get at home, they have been making use of our school campus, with our sports facilities being a particular favourite.

Yesterday, Ashley, who has been paired with Thea, joined the Truro Girls’ netball team in a match against Penwith College and will be joining Thea in a hockey match for her Truro team at the weekend.

Thea told us, “I played a hockey match when I was in South Africa. It was great as they play ‘chuckers’, [which is played in] four 15-minute sessions rather than two 35-minute halves in the UK. Chuckers is much better!”

Outside of school, our UK host families have taken their guests to Perranporth, Mousehole, St Michael’s Mount, Stratford, Bath, Oxford, Cardiff and the Eden Project and have introduced them to some local ‘institutions’ such as Ann’s Cottage and Barnecutt’s pasties.

Next week, some of our South African visitors are off to Amsterdam, with a couple extending their stay to include a week in London at the end of the exchange. 

Exchange programmes foster an excellent opportunity for learning and appreciation of other cultures. Our Truro students all agreed that the South African programme has been an unforgettable experience and were unanimous in saying they would encourage others to apply for future exchanges.

One parent told us, “It has been wonderful to see them gain so much from this experience. Their taste of South Africa has left them hungry to see more of the world. Thanks to support from the Truro School and Somerset College we felt content knowing that our daughter was in safe hands and off on a fabulous cultural and learning experience”.

To find out more about the fantastic array of trips on offer at Truro School, please visit School Trips at Truro School | Independent School, Cornwall, UK. or email [email protected] to express an interest in future exchange programmes.