A trip around the world without leaving the school gates

It’s possible to travel without leaving school, and we don’t just mean to the dream destinations that you see in magazines and travel guides… from Agora Portals you can travel the world in other ways, and an international outlook is the best ticket.

At Agora Portals International School, we prepare students for an international future without limits or barriers. We offer a multilingual curriculum, full immersion in the English language, alongside mastery of our pupils’ mother tongues, and access to French, German and Chinese.

Fluency in a number of languages and an understanding of other cultures gives our students the opportunity to become global citizens; open-minded, culturally diverse and equipped with the skills and confidence that they need to interact easily with an increasingly globalised world.

There is a Chinese proverb that says “To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.” At Agora Portals we encourage our students to interact with the world from many different windows, to connect with people from different countries and cultures and enrich their life experience. With this international focus in mind, our pupils are offered the opportunity to participate in overseas exchanges and cultural visits to other Globeducate schools around the world, including EIB Monceau in Paris, and the Europaschule Troisdorf and Phorms Campus schools in Germany. From Primary Year 5 onwards, children are able to spend a term, two terms or even a full academic year studying at the prestigious Stonar School in England. In addition to this, every year the Globeducate network of schools invites students from around the world to come together to participate in a range of international events, allowing students to improve their language skills, make friends with children from other countries and cultures and enjoy truly unique international experiences. We also offer a range of activities and courses during the school holidays, including Summer and Holiday Camps, which allow students to continue learning via exciting activity programmes, events, excursions and workshops, surrounded by their peers and new friends.

These unique opportunities clearly help our students to take an international, outward looking perspective on the world, however, on a day-to-day basis and without leaving the school gates, our students find ways to connect with the wider world and to broaden their social, cultural and intellectual horizons.

How do we promote an international outlook at our school?

To achieve our global vision, our curriculum incorporates a wide range of measures designed to help our students to see the world from an international perspective. The coordinators of each curriculum stage at Agora Portals International School explain:

  • In all subjects, particularly in humanities and our curriculum subjects, we promote apolitical and non-denominational opinions, which is key to developing an unbiased and open way of thinking.
  • Our school welcomes children from many different nationalities. All countries are represented by a flag, which a chosen student adds to the flags that are already on display.
  • For special occasions and events such as Halloween, Sant Antoni, Valentine’s Day, Carnival, and of course Christmas and Easter, we explore the meaning behind these events and look at how they are celebrated differently in different countries in terms of decoration, message, food, and so on.
  • Academically, we take a broad and balanced approach. For example, when teaching a technique such as division in mathematics we avoid a “Spanish” or “English” format, and the focus is solely on the importance of learning division. This means that students who join us from different academic systems can easily adapt to learning at Agora Portals.
  • When studying subjects such as biodiversity in animals and plants we encourage a global perspective, drawing from programmes such as the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and other international organisations.
  • Our curriculum is geared towards preparing students to study the International Baccalaureate (IB), a pre-university qualification that is recognised worldwide and that prepares students for an international, professionally mobile future.

Developing our students’ multicultural and international perspective

On a day-to-day basis throughout the curriculum teachers are focused on helping our students to be open-minded, forward-thinking and inquisitive, setting up activities that are specifically designed with an international or multicultural perspective in mind:

  • In subjects like Drama and Theory of Knowledge (TOK), teachers introduce topics that explore materials and ideas from other countries.
  • The school has an established music academy and through Music students get to study, practice and play musical pieces from a wide range of countries and cultures; film soundtracks, and music written by composers from around the world, incorporating different musical styles and themes. An international repertoire provides another source of cultural richness and diversity for our students. Composer and singer-songwriter León Gieco says “Music is all-encompassing, without flags, boundaries or borders” a phrase that perfectly encapsulates how a diverse and international musical education ties in with our global vision.
  • Students participate in debates and discussions with other schools organised by groups such as Rotary, MON or CICAE.
  • Students are invited to participate in overseas exchanges creating links with students and families from different countries
  • A full programme of international events and activities are organised throughout the school year, in which students are invited to participate.

Why do we embrace an international vision?

The main benefits of an education that embraces an international approach is the enormous richness, diversity and sense of wonder that is made available to our students, not only for the here and now, but also for the future in terms of both their personal and professional aspirations.

An international education helps our young people to become more open-minded, tolerant and accepting of ways of living that are different to their own, and of other belief systems and cultures. “As society becomes increasingly polarised, students need to develop emotional intelligence and learn to connect and empathise with other people, both within their own communities and around the world,” proposes Alex Beard, education expert and author of the book “Natural Born Learners” in an interview with the BBC https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-51229314. We believe that a forward-looking, globally focussed education helps to create a more empathetic society.

Students learn about different cultural norms, for example, how forms of communication differ from country to country, and how for example, what may be considered to be correct in one culture could be considered to be rude in another, and so on.

On an academic level our students are well-prepared to take their place within the international community; former students, currently studying at universities both in Spain and abroad, tell us that they feel well prepared both academically and personally to embrace an international future. Students who have participated in the overseas events organised by the Globeducate group have maintained contact with the families with whom they stayed, and this contact with their “other families” can offer them extra support and friendship when living away from home.

Fluency in English: the common language for social and cultural exchanges between IB students is often English, which provides common ground and a shared means of communication between our students and other young people from around the world.

We also encourage our student to participate in international university fairs and events.

At Agora Portals International School, taking an international approach to our students’ education is a fundamental part of our core philosophy. Our pupils get the opportunity to embrace cultural richness and diversity, take a broader perspective on life, develop an inquisitive and proactive approach to academic study and are able to take their place with confidence within global community. Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world” and at Agora Portals International School this change starts from day one.

15 / 02 / 21