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28th August 2015 at 01:00

My unforgettable summer holiday

This summer I had the most exceptional experience, having lived and worked in Rwanda for the month of July as part of the Wood Foundation's global learning partnerships programme. As I left Scotland bound for GS Rango school in the district of Ruhuha, I was aware that I was heading for a new and completely different way of living - the culture, the language, the food, the education and the privilege of absorbing and being involved in all aspects of a new life.

At 5.30am every morning, a loud radio announced it was time to get up. On my 30-minute walk to school I would receive the most amazing smiles from people, and would hear the word "mwaramutse" over and over again - "good morning" in Kinyarwanda. It's not a language I have much experience of but the Rwandan people greatly appreciated my efforts to learn it. They were patient and proud to teach me new words, with "murakose" ("thank you") always bringing joy.

It was also a privilege to join the Rwandan professionals in their CPD, which provided a range of high-level teaching and learning practices on learning styles, reading, parents' involvement, cooperative learning, positive feedback and more.

I found the teachers and students to be friendly, respectful, kind and eager to know more about the outside world. Teachers must share knowledge, but we must also respect each other, our similarities and our differences. I hope that I can share with others the positive impact of this experience upon me, personally and professionally.

In Rwanda I had fun, made friends and learned about the country's culture, language, values, tradition and religion. The trip helped me to pursue my dream of making the most of my opportunities, and of ensuring that my life inspires others to extend their own learning and teaching. A totally unforgettable experience.

Suzel O'Donnell

English as an additional language (EAL) teacher, Angus

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