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Using sister school relationships to develop Asia-equipped schools

Linking with a school in Asia is a valuable way for New Zealand schools to make their staff, students and communities more Asia-equipped. The regular communication that is part of a sister school relationship can help build knowledge and understanding of the languages and cultures of Asia.

School students sitting at a table eating noodles

What is a sister school relationship?

Sister school relationships are a “positive association between two schools”¹. 

Relationships can be shaped based on what the participating schools want, but typically involve giving students and teachers the chance to make connections with their counterparts through exchanges, visits, emails and video conferencing.

Why develop a sister school relationship with a school in Asia?

The ongoing nature of sister school relationships means staff and students can develop strong friendships and links. Through these connections, participants can improve their knowledge and understanding of Asian cultures.

How do sister school relationships benefit staff and students?

Staff get to:

  • learn about and experience a different education systems firsthand
  • exchange ideas, information and course materials with teachers from other cultures
  • improve their proficiency in languages other than English.

Students get to:

  • learn about and experience other cultures and countries
  • make new friends
  • access travel opportunities
  • talk to native speakers of different languages
  • broaden their understanding, acceptance and tolerance of other cultures
  • make connections with families through home-hosting and home stays.

Setting up a sister school relationship

Sister school relationships take time to develop, and are a long-term commitment. Before you get started, you need to ensure that you have the time and resources to build up these relationships.

Print out copies of the documents below, and discuss them with your board of trustees and staff. They can help you decide if a sister school relationship is appropriate for your school.

Find a partner school. You can do this by:

  • Talking to your city council (who may have an existing sister city relationship, and may be able to suggest a school you can partner with)
  • Contacting an education counsellor from Education New Zealand:

              - China: Alexandra Grace

             - South Korea: Onnuri Lee

             - Japan: Misako Pitt

             - South East Asia: Ziena Jalil (Delhi based)

1. Christchurch City Council, International School-to-School Relationships, 2006.

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