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High school exchange in Singapore

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Lavande
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High school exchange in Singapore

Postby Lavande » Wed, 17 Jun 2009 3:11 pm

Hello everybody,

I've been reading this forum for a long time and now hope that someone can help me as well.

I am dealing with high school student exchange and have some questions concerning the market opportunity in Singapore.
High school exchange means that students (usually 16 or 17 years old) move abroad for a year to live with a host family and go to school in another country.
I hope there are people here who have some insight or just want to share their thoughts with me.

1. Are high school exchange years known at all in Singapore? I did some basic google search and didn't find anything.
2. How would you estimate the market for high school exchange in Singapore?
3. I've been thinking about why it could be that high school exchange is not a big "thing" in Singapore. What could the main reasons be?
Costs? Worries about falling back academically? Too strong family bond/ studends wouldn't want to leave their parents for a year; or the other way round?

Any comment is hightly appreciated!

Thanks a lot!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 17 Jun 2009 3:32 pm

Why would the want to send someone to the west for a year to go to high school where they might get gunned down. And, if they survive that, they would come home to find out that they have completely lost a year of education that they would have to work twice as hard the following year just to catch up. On top of that, usually exchange students are for cultural exchanges as well. The kids here are brought up on a steady diet of MTV, US prime time TV and other programs. No much more to offer for the little they would get out of it.

Yeah, I remember exchange students when I was in high school. World was a lot bigger then. No internet, no computers, no walkmans, no cell phones. Life was simpler then and so much we didn't know about each other. Today's world puts everybody's country in everybody elses living rooms.

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Postby Lavande » Wed, 17 Jun 2009 4:17 pm

Thanks for your answer! Your thoughts are interesting, but I would rather think the other way round.

The question is not why they would want it - why do thousands of European and American students want to do high school exchange every year? - but why would Singaporeans NOT want it?!

Most students don't repeat the year they are abroad when they get back home. They organize with the school (back home) to cover the planned topics aboad so they can jump over the missed year at home and thus not lose a year. That's of course a possible obstacle; if high school exchange is unknown to Singaporean schools it might be a struggle to organize that.

Europeans grow up with MTV and all that as well; and exactly that IS the reason why they want to go on exchange. Not so in Singapore?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 17 Jun 2009 5:58 pm

Singapore has math & science scores that far out strip most other countries. Their competition levels here are beyond belief (think Japan). Going to school in another country where they will most likely be in a peer aged group instead of placing them in an academically equal group would be tantamount to failure as they possibly would be doing nothing more than repeating the previous years studies while their peers at home would be accelerating ahead. Not good.

Hopefully, somebody else will give their insights here as well. This is just my personal POV.

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Postby road.not.taken » Wed, 17 Jun 2009 6:13 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Singapore has math & science scores that far out strip most other countries.


Who cares? There is a lot more to life than math and science scores.

Lavande, Singaporeans are nuts for anything they consider 'name brand'. So an exchange at a typical high school might not be enough to entice them ~ but a year at Andover? That's another story. I would say the best way to make inroads into this, is by starting a small program with a top prep school in the US or UK that has a brand recognition here.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 17 Jun 2009 11:28 pm

There is a lot more to life than math and science scores. Maybe for you, but then again, you aren't Singaporean are you. The OP is talking about Singaporeans, not Americans.

Who cares? Apparently quite a number of High Schools in the US looking at the number of them contacting the MOE here to use their maths & science curriculum & books over there. Wonder how many Singaporean kids or there parents have ever heard of Andover. I also wonder how many "brand" name high schools are in Norway where the poster is posting from.

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Postby Lavande » Thu, 18 Jun 2009 12:05 am

Thanks for the tip with "brand names". Useful input!

I had to grin when I read about sending Singaporeans on exchange to "brand name high schools" in Norway :D
Naah, the exchange would be to the typical exchange countries; mainly USA, Australia, England. These 3 countries cover at least 90% of all exchanges.
Norway? Not worth mentioning...

Anyone else any thoughts about this?

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 18 Jun 2009 12:13 am

Lavande wrote:Thanks for the tip with "brand names". Useful input!

I had to grin when I read about sending Singaporeans on exchange to "brand name high schools" in Norway :D
Naah, the exchange would be to the typical exchange countries; mainly USA, Australia, England. These 3 countries cover at least 90% of all exchanges.
Norway? Not worth mentioning...

Anyone else any thoughts about this?


I might not be as aggressive as SMS; nonetheless, I would question the willingness of a typical Singaporean parent to send their kid to a typical public school in the US... cultural broadening and all that, notwithstanding.

There are problems with Singapore schools, particularly in the areas of fostering independence and creativity but they are way ahead of most US schools when it comes to learning... mainly because of more hours and more focus on science and math.

If you want any chance of this working I'd say you'd need to engage the better private schools in the US... for example, St. Agnes girls school in Houston... a very high level of achievement.

Of course, you have the problem of going the other way as well. I'd have to agree with SMS... with my limited knowledge, unless a US high school person has had essentially IB courses, they will not be able to do the course work here.

Think about this... on any given afternoon... and on many Sundays, you cannot find a table at a Macdonalds because all the kids are studying and doing homework... I have never seen this in the US... and I have seen the work they do here... not insubstantial.

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Postby road.not.taken » Thu, 18 Jun 2009 5:40 pm

SMS, my only point is that there is far more to an education than math and science scores. You like to hang your hat on the Singaporean superiority of this, as if it automatically indicates a better education. It is short-sighted in my opinion. Yes, curriculums the world over are looking at the Singaporean model, which is exactly how it should work and how best practices are shared.

Of course I didn't realize Lavande was from Norway, but even so, their focus is the UK, US & Australia. Plenty of brand name schools to choose from.

Lavande, SMS demonstrates a good point ~ the Singaporean market might be too entrenched in the mindset of quantifiable results to understand the benefits of an exchange program. To tell you the truth, I wasn't really thinking of the local market as it is too awkward a fit (curriculum, calendar, focus, etc...) but of the expats (this is an expat forum after all).

Expats usually have an appreciation of the value of cultural exchanges, and view the world as a smaller place in general. This also resolves the curriculum issues.

Hope this helps.

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Postby Lavande » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 1:16 pm

It would not be a problem to offer a private school program where students can actually choose the school they want to attend. They would then have the opportunity to look at the individual schools' curriculum and focus.

I had Singaporeans in mind when I asked the questions and got quite some useful feedback, thanks a lot!
Thinking about expat children as target group: Do they not already feel like they are on a "life-long exchange"? I am wondering how big their desire to experience a new culture/ school system/ etc. might be, as they already are experiencing that in Singapore.

I posted on the expat forum because I would be an expat in Singapore. :)
Saying that, are there any Singaporean education forums where I could maybe ask the same question?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 3:25 pm

Lavande,

The obvious place to start would be with the organization that would have to put their stamp of approval on it all. You would probably be directed there anyway. See the Singapore Ministry of Education link:

http://www.moe.edu.sg/

and for street level discussions these two might help.....

http://www.education-sg.com/forums/index.php

http://www.edupoll.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=3

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Postby ksl » Wed, 24 Jun 2009 4:11 pm

I see only one positive step with high school exchange, and that is the ability to lose the Singaporean accent, and improve their command of speaking English.

Kids adapt very easy, and my suggestion would be summer camp, rather than a high school exchange!

Many parents here would be too fearful to allow, their children to fly around the world at this age, many kids I know, are not even allowed out because of study, that would suggest to me, that by the time they are 16, many would be quite fearful to travel alone on an exchange, that's only my opinion though.

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Postby ksl » Wed, 24 Jun 2009 4:26 pm

Lavande wrote:It would not be a problem to offer a private school program where students can actually choose the school they want to attend. They would then have the opportunity to look at the individual schools' curriculum and focus.

I had Singaporeans in mind when I asked the questions and got quite some useful feedback, thanks a lot!
Thinking about expat children as target group: Do they not already feel like they are on a "life-long exchange"? I am wondering how big their desire to experience a new culture/ school system/ etc. might be, as they already are experiencing that in Singapore.

I posted on the expat forum because I would be an expat in Singapore. :)
Saying that, are there any Singaporean education forums where I could maybe ask the same question?


The last time I searched the EEC Database on grants, i discovered that there was actual grants available, also for none European in the school exchange program.

This link may also be beneficial to many other professionals. Especially project managers and International Traders

http://www.welcomeurope.com/default.asp?id=4&info=1


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