The students of Velliveethiyar Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School took a break from their daily lessons for a different learning experience on Tuesday.

Volunteers from the ‘Projects Abroad’ programme visited the school and interacted with the students.

The school has tied up with the ‘Projects Abroad’ programme since 2010.

“We have had volunteers from abroad who come and teach conversational English and basic math skills to the students for a month or two,” said A Das, programme coordinator.

Said Professor R. Ilango, former Vice-Principal of Vivekananda College, who currently takes conversational English classes at the school:

“There is a new environment created here for these students when the volunteers visit. Their English improves the more they converse with the volunteers and their awareness is enhanced, thanks to the exposure”.

The students share experiences with the volunteers. “At first, we found it difficult to follow their accent, but they spoke slowly and made sure that we could freely converse with them,” said Koteeshavarthini, a student of Class 9.

“The way they teach grammar is very interesting and we could easily understand the principles,” she added.

First, the volunteers had an interactive session with the students where they were asked a range of questions on their lives in their home countries, culture, famous monuments, schooling, interests and their time in India.

“What are all the places that you have visited in Madurai?” asked C. Subbalakshmi asked Nathan De Ruwe, a volunteer from Belgium.

When he admitted to having visited only the Madurai Meenakshi temple, almost all the students present recommended that he also visit the Thirumalai Naicker Palace and the Gandhi Museum.

The students of Class 6 were divided into teams and participated in a spelling-bee competition that the volunteers conducted.

Volunteers Bethany Straw from England and Manon Dafydd from Wales said the experience at the school was an enjoyable one.

“This is our second school visit in Madurai and the students have been warm, friendly and receptive to our ideas and interactions,” said Ms Bethany.

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