International Exchange

What’s to be gained from an international exchange?

ORT’s global education network reaches across borders to benefit students, educators and communities. Our ORT family creates a sense of belonging where we can all learn from each other’s passion and perspective.

Twinning projects and trips such as the ORT UK-ORT Ukraine Bar and Batmitzvah Program are one example of how ORT students gain global awareness through the network.

Throughout this academic year, ORT UK has facilitated parallel learning sessions and regular online communication between students in London and in Kiev, who are also preparing for their Bar and Batmitzvah, the moment of coming of age in Jewish practice.

Liza, an ORT Ukraine student, told us that the program improved her writing, listening and speaking skills as she chatted and completed joint activities with her twin in London.

Our students can communicate with others from different cultures and in different languages. In terms of teaching, learning and education, this is an important skill for the future global world of work.

“Most important is that we exchanged our views, impressions, secrets and photos.”

According to Liza, her fellow classmates and their parents, the opportunity to learn about international Jewish traditions, the commonalities and the differences between communities, is what sets this ORT project apart.

Both communities were drawn out of their comfort zones throughout the program. In getting to know each other, the families learnt about their lifestyle differences.

In Kiev, the Jewish community is relatively young and growing. Jewish life has seen a gradual revival in the Former Soviet Union in the past couple of decades and communities such as Kiev’s are growing and flourishing.

On the other side of the twinning, Jewish life in the UK and London has been well-established for more than a century. There are Jewish schools, synagogues and organisations which have been in constant operation for almost all of this time.

Differences such as these show the significant value of twinning: to see what joins us together and what sets us apart.

‘I love this project because I have got a lot of new interesting information about Jewish traditions, about the lifestyle of Jews in other countries and about my twin too’  – Sasha.

The twins – both the students and their parents – continue to stay in contact. Whilst this cohort will finish their program next month, the participants tell us that they are sure to keep in touch, to continue to learn and grow from the close connection fostered this year.

The ORT UK-ORT Ukraine twinning program included an eight-session curriculum, the exchange of letters between students and parents internationally, and a four-day trip from London to Kiev, where the families met each other in local schools and synagogues, sharing activities, games and a festive meal.

This is one way twinning can grow through ORT. From a postcard exchange, joint curriculum, online collaborations or international trips, there’s plenty to be gained from an international twinning experience.