Tag Archives: culture

Get to Know Your Prefects: Jessica Z. ’20

Meet Jessica ’20 – a student who brought her passion for culture and diversity to the forefront when she started a multicultural club in Upper School. Read about her service-learning and the moments that have shaped her Ridley career in the interview below!

Why were you most excited to attend Ridley when you first started?

I was actually most excited for Ridley’s beautiful campus. I have always been living in the south of China where there is only summer and winter, so I was especially excited to experience fall at Ridley.

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

I am very proud of the loving and encouraging atmosphere here. Being in such a great environment really impacted the way that I treat others and transformed me into a more positive and caring person. I am very grateful.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is the student events such as Snake Dance and spirit nights. I love it when the whole community comes together to cheer each other on. It makes me feel like I belong to something special and meaningful that’s not about individual achievements, but the school community as a whole. 

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley trip has definitely been the March service trip to the Jacaranda School for Orphans in Malawi. I met the lovely students at Jacaranda and got to know more about their lives. That was also the first time that the Days for Girls club ever brought their feminine hygiene kits to Jacaranda. After seeing their presentation and how happy the girls were for receiving the kits, I decided to become a part of the Days for Girls club. The trip has not only allowed me to get to know life at Jacaranda in Malawi, but also transformed me into a more socially responsible person. 

What is the best part of being in your boarding House?

The best part of being in Mandeville is that all the teachers are all very caring and warm-hearted. I love that I can talk to them about anything, free of judgment and criticism. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

I personally think that successfully establishing the Multi-Culture Club at Ridley is one of my greatest accomplishments. This experience has really taught me the importance of hard work and perseverance, especially in adverse situations. I am especially proud of the school-wide cultural trivia that the club hosted, as it allowed students to gain more knowledge of the cultures around us (since we are an international boarding school).

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

One of my favourite faculty members at Ridley is my Head of House, Ms. Thompson. Throughout the years that I have been at the school, she has been like a motherly figure to me. She made me feel welcomed and loved when I first came here and didn’t know anyone. She has also been like a friend, talking with me and giving me advice when I need it.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?

I am very excited to be working with a new group of people on exciting initiatives next year. After getting to know more about each other, I believe that we will work very well together. I am also very excited for the potential initiatives that will be undertaken by the team next year.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has taught me to be a balanced and well-rounded person. In addition to the academic commitments, athletic and co-curricular activities are also vital in the student life at Ridley. I learned the importance of time-management, and I believe that this skill will be highly applicable to my life beyond Ridley.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

I would advise prospective students to learn how to prioritize and balance between their activities both in and outside of school. The amount of work (academic, sport and co-curricular activities) can be overwhelming at first (especially if you are a full IB student), but once you start to plan and prioritize your activities, things will be much easier. 

Ridley’s Language Programme – exploring the world, inside the classroom

“Every man’s ability may be strengthened or increased by culture.” – John Abbott

There are nearly 200 countries in the world, 44 of which are represented here at Ridley. With such a direct connection with people from all over the world, culture plays a huge role in the day-to-day lives of Ridleians. The more our students can experience and appreciated culture, the better equipped they will be to transform our globe when they graduate. With that being said, Ridley ensures that our students have the opportunity to explore the world as often as they can.

In order to obtain their Ontario Secondary School Diploma, students are required to study French from Grade 4 through Grade 9. Here at Ridley, students are exposed to languages far earlier. The department of Classic and International Languages has developed a curriculum that brings international cultures into the classroom, and gives students ample opportunity to become multilingual. Beginning in Kindergarten, students are introduced to French, and this language is taught up to Grade 9. Ridley’s Upper School language programme then provides students the opportunity to learn languages beyond what is most commonly offered during secondary school, beginning in Grade 10. Offering French, German, Mandarin and Spanish, the students have the choice to expand their multilingual knowledge or continue advancing in a language they have grasped. From the start to finish of each course, the students are able to immerse themselves in the language.

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“The tools to learn a new language are given to you from day one.  Learning a new language is as enjoyable at Ridley as it is educational.”

– Elliott Ziolkowski ’16

“It’s been tons of fun learning a couple of new languages. I think that the Ridley Community is the ideal place to learn languages too because of the diverse student population.”

– Joshua Allan ’16

During the course of their studies, students have the opportunity to venture beyond the Marriott Gates on class related field trips, to locations such as Toronto’s China Town, where they can experience the culture first-hand and apply the material they’ve learned in class. Apart from these day trips, a number of students decide to further apply their knowledge of these international languages by partaking in a foreign exchange.

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In addition to the extensive language options, German and Mandarin students have the opportunity to study literature in their native language, thanks to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. A tutoring programme is also in place, where students who are native to the language or show exemplary language proficiency can earn community service hours by tutoring their peers!

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By being an international boarding school, students studying a foreign language are able to immediately apply their knowledge with peers and roommates that are from the country where the language under study is spoken. This allows all students to see the immediate applications of content covered in their courses and make real world connections.” 

– Mr. Chris Gordon, Subject Coordinator Classical & International Languages

With so many options and opportunities for students to explore language and culture, students develop a desire to see, change and learn about the world, even after they’ve completed their secondary school education.

If you’d like to learn more about our Language Department or the courses offered, please contact Mr. Chris Gordon at chris_gordon@ridleycollege.com.

 

Ridley’s Exchange Programme provides an opportunity of a lifetime

For over 20 years, Ridley’s International Student Exchange Programme has given audacious Ridleians and students from partnering schools around the world the opportunity to experience another country, appreciate a foreign culture and adapt to a new way of life at an international boarding school.

Dr. Ellen Foster has been coordinating the programme for the past 10 years, having organized approximately 200 exchanges in total. What began as a partnership with only a few schools has now expanded to offer Ridleians the chance to travel to South Africa, Australia, China, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium and England. Whether they fly across the world to the land down under, make the trek to South Africa or hop across the pond to Paris, these students leave behind their routine lives to become Ridley’s global ambassadors.

Our Ridleians studying abroad may be away from St. Catharines anywhere between 6-12 weeks. During this time, they attend classes, live with their exchange families, absorb a new cultures and sometimes even learn new languages.

For every Ridleian who travels abroad, Ridley welcomes an eager student from the partnering school. For many of these visiting Upper School pupils, Ridley is their first exposure to Canada ­– which might include their first encounter with snow.

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Having the opportunity to travel, learn and grow in a new environment allows students to expand their knowledge of the world, overcome obstacles independently and discover new skills and strengths that they never knew they had. According to Dr. Ellen Foster, Coordinator of the International Student Exchange Programme, it also offers a great opportunity to improve language proficiency in places such as Spain and France.

Recently, Ridley said goodbye to this year’s visiting exchange students, as they returned home with unforgettable memories and friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.

“I know from this amazing experience, that Ridley does not just focus on academic strength but also produces well-rounded, confident and worldly people who have the ability to make an impact in whatever they choose to do after school.”

– Eliza Hannah, Australia

In a few months time, our Ridleians will travel to South Africa and Australia for their exchange trips, where they will reunite with their exchange families and begin their own adventures.

If you’re interested in the International Student Exchange Programme or have any questions, contact Dr. Ellen Foster; ellen_foster@ridleycollege.com.