The scheme has been established for over 20 years and each year several hundred students visit over 40 local schools including primary, secondary and specialist schools.Students gain valuable experience in communicating their knowledge and ideas, as well as improving their self-confidence. Teachers welcome the additional support in the classroom and the opportunity to provide extra support to their pupils while school pupils enjoy having a new face and interaction in the classroom. Feedback is overwhelmingly positive.
With around 150 languages spoken in schools in the area, Reading’s international students are perfectly placed to support children with little-to-no English. Last year, our volunteers worked with young people whose native languages included Arabic, Mandarin, Polish, Turkish, Spanish, Hungarian, Russian, Hindi, Korean and Italian.
Abigail Tan, a Pharmacy student from Singapore, said of the boy she helped, “he spoke so little English he had been unable to make any friends. I realised what a difference I could make when within one month he was happily communicating and playing with other children.”