Beginning in the fall of 2020, Dr. Brandon Gauthier, Director of Global Education, began working with the faculty to integrate global competencies into course work and global study programs. Gauthier frames his role as: “help(ing) Derryfield continue to conceptualize global education as about person-to-person connections...we aim for DS graduates to feel as confident speaking with Nepalese villagers as they do with peers in our immediate community.”
Since not all Derryfield students are able to participate in global trips—particularly during a pandemic!—Gauthier is establishing new partnerships to bring speakers to campus more regularly. Last spring, two speakers in Senegal joined the 9th grade class to host a workshop on contemporary Islam. Later in the year a speaker from Where There Be Dragons—an organization dedicated to engaging the “wisdom of community voices” from all parts of the world—addressed the DS community on how to “travel without traveling.”
In the 20-21 academic year, due to pandemic restrictions, the international students who usually join the Derryfield community had to participate via distance learning from their home countries.
Crystal Zhao, a 9th grader in the fall of 2020, wrote from Wuhan, China, "Though it is sad that I am unable to see my new schoolmates in person, I have made a lot of friends….During class discussions, it is always fun to share my perspectives with teachers and my classmates, especially in Asia: East and West….it has enabled me to share many of my experiences living in China, and I am also happy that I learn a lot about Chinese culture from a brand-new perspective! Last but not least, all of the teachers in DS are really helpful and passionate about teaching; I feel lucky to have them as my teachers."
James Zhu, a senior from Beijing, stated of his time at DS, "The academic part of my experience here gave me the most joy. Some of the classes I took here - Computer Science, International Relations, STEM, etc. - would not be accessible (or even imaginable) to me if I were to stay in China. I really enjoyed those classes, and they really changed the way I see the world around me. I feel like I did not only learn facts and formulas, but also valuable skills."
Gauthier notes, "As we look toward the future, our students—no matter where they are physically—will have growing opportunities to continue to engage with a rapidly evolving global landscape. Last year demonstrated that Derryfield is more than a series of buildings; it is a mode of thought defined by intellectual curiosity, goodwill, and empathy. These values define our Global Education mission at DS."