The school exchanges programme inspires the youth and their teachers to be agents of social change through intercultural exchange. The vice-versa north-south exchanges expose learners to the conditions in the host country and their partner school. The learners get the opportunity to discover the world beyond their “life-bubble”. They become more tolerant of different cultures and lifestyles and may help to build a more peaceful society back home. During their intercultural exchange, the learners also get inspirations for their personal future.
School exchanges exist nearly from the beginning of the partnership. Already in 2002 grade 9 & 10 Luhlaza High School learners from Khayelitsha became pen pals with learners from Inda Gymnasium in Aachen. The first exchange to Aachen followed in 2003. Since then many learners and teachers from Khayelitsha and Manenberg visited Germany and a whole lot of German learners – together with their teachers of course – came to Cape Town.
The school exchanges work on the assumption that learners and teachers will be more likely to take action to help to achieve the SDGs once they have an understanding of the goals and the associated challenges and opportunities. To expand their perspectives and to support the relationship building between the guests and the hosts all participants engage in a joint project during the exchange. That project always addresses as well the partnership between the two schools as some of the sustainability goals in a very practical way.
Personal exchanges can only happen on high school level, but primary schools are also involved in the partnership. Because of the young age of the children they can not travel overseas, so various other methods are used to teach the learners about SDGs and expose them to different culture as it is described in the partnership between Fairview Primary and Grundschule Richterich.