This week, I enjoyed an opportunity to spend time with our ten students who participated in the Year 9 Exchange Program to England in Semester 1. Listening to the girls’ recount their schooling experiences at St Catherine’s in Bramley, St George’s in Ascot and Queenwood in Hertfordshire provided the students an opportunity for thoughtful reflection about their own personal growth and journey.

Being an exchange student is without a doubt, a challenging, rewarding and fun experience. In this context, the students participating are neither a tourist nor a guest. They live in the host country and attend their host school as a member of that community. Having to integrate into someone else’s family necessitates that they confront challenges outside familiar support networks thereby increasing self-awareness and leading to greater resilience, enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem. The tremendous sense of accomplishment participants have on completion of an Exchange Program encourages girls to develop independence, a broader perspective with their opinions and an opportunity to strive to attain new goals.

This week, we also hosted twelve students from Shukutoku Junior and High School in Japan. The students had a tremendous time at School and seemed to rapidly gain an insight into many aspects of Australian culture and spirit, which no English grammar book can teach them. They were most grateful for the opportunity to interact with our students and their families. Hopefully, our students felt the same and they look forward to visiting Shukutoku in December to cement their friendships further.

Throughout the year, St Catherine’s also welcomes exchange students from Cours Fénelon, France and Tower Hill, Delaware USA (Year 10 Exchange). And our Year 8 students participate in an Interstate Exchange with Pymble Ladies College, Sydney, the Wilderness School, Adelaide and St Michael’s Collegiate, Hobart in Term 4.

According to the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians: “Global integration and international mobility have increased rapidly in the past decade. As a consequence, new and exciting opportunities for Australians are emerging. This heightens the need to nurture an appreciation of and respect for social, cultural and religious diversity, and a sense of global citizenship.”

There are several imperatives within the Australian Curriculum that also support the impetus for international education in schools. This includes improving intercultural understanding whereby students learn about and engage with diverse cultures in ways that recognise commonalities and differences, create connections with others and cultivate mutual respect. For example, an understanding of Asia underpins the capacity of Australian students to be active and informed citizens, working together to build harmonious local, regional and global communities. It also builds understanding of the diversity of cultures living in Australia, thereby fostering social inclusion and cohesion. This is vital to the prosperity of Australia and Australian society.

Among the many benefits for exchange students is the opportunity to enjoy new experiences, new education styles, travel opportunities and greater independence. Our Language students also enjoy the opportunity to improve their skills and oral fluency. The chance to network with new friends and connections made via their host family enables friendships to develop over many years.

From talking to students who have joined us from our international schools, I understand the experience of learning in the Australian education system means exposure to a different style of teaching pedagogy.  For our St Catherine’s students who experience the British system, a history excursion encompasses actual travel to Normandy, given the proximity to Europe. The students who go to St Catherine’s Bramley visit the battlefields of Belgium and France (including Normandy) and the students at St George’s visit the battlefields at Normandy.

Of course, each exchange student has the wonderful opportunity to see the local sights with their host family, with travel to France for a weekend a frequent occurrence. Finally, a great sense of independence comes from learning a variety of life skills whilst the exchange student is staying with their host family or living in a boarding school environment. Without doubt, she learns to think more independently and develop her problem-solving skills.

Our School encourages global exchange programs that enhance the educational experience of the students, through providing them with the chance of international travel to understand another culture and develop personal confidence. Parents wishing to understand further about the opportunities are encouraged to contact our Trips and Exchanges Coordinator, Ms Tamara Andrews.

Victorian Snowsports Championships

Congratulations to our Snowsports teams who won both the Primary and Secondary Girls School Divisions at the Victorian Interschools Championships last week at Mt Buller. They have again been crowned Victorian Champions for the fourth year in a row.

The Primary and Secondary teams were clear winners by 73 points and 42 points respectively. Thank you to the Snowsports Auxiliary for their coordination of the many parents who volunteered their time to enable the School to fulfil its supervision and marshalling requirements on the mountain. And thank you to the staff members who encouraged the girls throughout the week: Mr Tom Crebbin, Ms Georgina Stride, Ms Skye Stansfield and Mrs Pauline van der Poel.

School Co-Captains 2018

Congratulations to Stephanie Ferrali, Samara Gill,  Juliet Grant, Annabelle Motteram and Emma Rodgers for being shortlisted for the position of Co-School Captains. It gives me great pleasure to announce that our School Co-Captains for 2018 are Stephanie Ferrali and Annabelle Motteram. I have no doubt that they will perform their roles with dedication, commitment and distinction.


Mrs Michelle Carroll, Principal