Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2023
Attending the ANZAC Service at St Nicholas Church in the small village of Brockenhurst in the United Kingdom, was a special experience for a group of 13 students and three teachers from St Andrew’s College, who were part of the Sister Cities 2023 Global Education Tour, during Term 1. “Even though it was a sombre occasion, the students said the service was one of the highlights of the trip by far. We have taken groups of students to Brockenhurst several times in the past, but this was the first time we were able to be there on the day of the service,” says Teacher in Charge of Travel and Tourism, Ian Morrison.
As part of the experience, the students worked on meaningful research projects relating to World War I and Brockenhurst, which was the site of the No.1 New Zealand General Hospital during the war and is where 93 New Zealand soldiers are buried. “A few of the students researched family members who were involved in World War I, which sparked a lot of conversations about family history, and even led to the preservation of a World War I diary. Others looked into the stories of nurses, a female ambulance driver, and soldiers who were laid to rest at Brockenhurst.”
During the three-week adventure, the tour group, which included French teachers, Bronwyn Radcliffe and Angela Marshall, along with three students from Cashmere High School, visited many places in France and the UK, including Paris, Avignon, Rouen, Longueval, London, Salisbury, Christchurch, and Brockenhurst. They saw major tourist sites and visited many places of significance to World War I history.
The 2023 Global Education Tour was held to celebrate 25 years of the Sister Cities programme, with the bond formed by the Christchurch (New Zealand) Sister Cities Association, and the Twinning Association in the UK in 1998. This is when Tina Wright, a teacher from Twynham School, in Christchurch, England, reached out to schools in Christchurch, New Zealand, to propose a student exchange programme. At the time, Ian Morrison was a teacher at Linwood High School, and picked up the opportunity to host the Twynham School students. This started a longstanding reciprocal relationship, which set the stage for regular student exchanges every couple of years.
The student exchanges no longer take place, however, St Andrew’s College has run a number of Global Education expeditions since 2012, which have had more of a focus on Brockenhurst and World War I history since the close links with New Zealand came to light as part of the World War 100 project in 2014. The Sister Cities Association ran the 2023 tour, and has already planned its 2024 Global Education programme, an 18-day trip to Italy and France, says Ian. “This trip will explore our European connection further, and will include a visit to Le Quesnoy, the village in northern France where New Zealand soldiers heroically liberated the town during World War I.”
The Global Education tours exemplify the transformative power of travel with meaning, bring history to life, and have fostered lasting friendships, says Ian. “We know of three Twynham students who live here in Christchurch, and there have been two marriages between students from opposite
sides of the world.”