The Ateneo de Manila University is one of the most prestigious learning institutions in the Philippines. Founded in 1859, it is the country’s 3rd oldest university, having just celebrated its 156th anniversary. The Ateneo operates in accordance with the Jesuit educational tradition, applying a Catholic-centered liberal arts curriculum for their undergraduate students. The University accepts only male students for the grade school and high school departments, which comprise of roughly 6,500 students.
Over the past year, Sister Schools New Zealand and Ateneo Grade School have been planning a 9-day New Zealand study experience in conjunction with two public schools - Longford Intermediate and Blue Mountain College. On April 8, 2017, 17 boys and 3 teachers from the Ateneo Grade School travelled via Australia to Queenstown, New Zealand, to experience a program designed to not only highlight New Zealand’s education system, but also its wilderness and rural farming communities. They were on this great adventure for 9 days, living in a homestay with local families, in New Zealand’s southern most province, Southland. The program went smoothly and all the boys had a good time interacting with farm animals, meeting new kiwi friends and learning about New Zealand’s culture. They were also adventurous when it came to trying new kinds of food, with many families offering up meals such as lamb and shepherd's pie for dinner!
The Director of Sister Schools New Zealand, Mr Matthew Harris, personally accompanied the group on their 9 day adventure. He stated, “It was great to see the personal growth and development within all the boys over 9 days - from shy city dwellers, to rural New Zealand farming children!” Sister Schools New Zealand is thrilled about the outcome of the program and hopes to continue the arrangement yearly.