Fife pupils visit India as part of cultural exchange

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PUPILS from a school in Fife spent 10 days in India, with the aim of making them “globally aware citizens”

Margo Christie, a geography teacher at Waid Academy, took 25 students - aged 15 and over - on the cultural trip.

The school has been partnered with Indian KIIT World School since 2013, after meeting through the British Councils website.

The site allows schools to register and partner up with other schools across the globe.

Mrs Christie said pairing up with KIIT had enriched the students lives.

She said: “Where we are in Anstruther, it’s quite isolated in terms of the wider world - quite cut off.

“Being part of this partnership has really opened up horizons for the kids and they can see how other people live.

“A lot of the kids have got contacts with KIIT and it’s opened their eyes to a lot of global issues like climate change, fair trade and water shortages - as well as traditional cultural things such as festivals, monuments and dances. We’re helping to make them into more globally aware citizens.”

As this trip was organised outwith the British Council, many of the students saved for the trip themselves, paying for it with part time jobs over the course of eight months.

When they arrived in Delhi, the students were allowed to sit in on science, music, art and drama lessons.

There was also a dance presentation. The students from Waid Academy performed some Scottish Country dancing while the KIIT students performed traditional Bollywood dances.

They were also allowed to watch the celebration of Dussehra - a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil, where an effigy of Ravana was burnt.

At the end of the four days, the students were celebrated with an evening of food, music and dancing.

The students from Waid Academy then went on to experience the local region, even getting to visit landmarks such as the Taj Mahal.

Mrs Christie said that while the cultural immersion was a valuable experience, many of the students were then also able to use the trip as part of their higher geography course, covering area’s such as housing and transport.

“It’s given the students connections with the school - opportunities have been opened up that they possibly wouldn’t have had before”, Mrs Christie said.

“They would be able to return there and get experience teaching, or whatever they felt like, as they have connections there now.

“KIIT were so welcoming, the head teacher was an amazing lady who would welcome them with open arms.”