Greenhills Christian Fellowship - International Christian School or GCF- ICS, is a traditional K-12 school, established 20 years ago by the Greenhills Christian Fellowship ministry in Manila, Philippines. The school aims to provide students with age-appropriate learning, while integrating God’s word into their curriculum.
In March 2018, following a year of planning and coordination between GCF-ICS and SSNZ, the first batch of students flew to the North Island for a 13 -Day Cultural & Leadership Study Programme.
Upon landing, the students were immediately immersed into a NZ lifestyle. They travelled through the hustle and bustle of Auckland city to Piha Beach, a black sand paradise in Auckland's west side. They then made their way to their student dormitory, a lodge on the western edge of Auckland city, surrounded by dense forest, a river and farmlands. The students' programme was designed to showcase the beautiful natural wonders that NZ has to offer; surfing at Papamoa Beach and hiking up Mt Maunganui certainly showcased that.
Of course, the programme was not all about outdoor activities. Students visited and took part in many academic activities, through visits to the schools they have partnered with. One of the schools was the University of Auckland - NZ’s number one university, which is also ranked in the World’s top 100, and the other, Hamilton Christian School (HCS), their main host for the programme. At HCS, students shared the Filipino culture by performing a dance number for the local school community, to great reviews! Being both Christian Schools, the two schools shared many similar values in life, and on Sunday, GCF-ICS attended the same church as the principal of HCS, Mr Shaun Brooker.
The New Zealand Maori Culture is something that everyone must experience while in NZ. The group was able to learn about this beautiful culture through art workshops and museum visits, and was capped off by a visit to the Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua. The NZ farming culture was also experienced through a visit to a local dairy farm.
All in all, the students had a blast in their first adventure down under. In fact, a 2019 programme is already in the works for GCF-ICS!