A week ago, I graduated from the Pestalozzi Scholarship Programme with other students of class 2017. As I look back at my time in the UK, I ask myself; ‘Is Pestalozzi all about studying A-levels?’ Sadly, for someone who has just had a short ready about Pestalozzi may be quick to answer my question with a resounding YES. The answer is not absolutely wrong, rather I would say that it only answers 25% of the question. Looking back at myself and contrasting between what I was prior to going to the UK and now that I have graduated from Pestalozzi programme, to say that I went to the UK to study A-levels wont suffice as an answer, it’s a total underestimation of what Pestalozzi is all about. If it was all about A-levels, Pestalozzi would save themselves thousands of pounds by sponsoring students to study A levels in their home countries instead of going to the UK.
So, what’s the 75% remaining for the question to be answered fully? Am glad you asked! There are numerous things that make up the 75% but what I believe to be at the core of all that is Pestalozzi’s principle of educating the Head, Heart and Hands which am going to refer to as HHH in this article. One important thing to note right away is that Pestalozzi puts equal importance and emphasis on all the components of the HHH principle.
It was surprising to see the extent that the members of staff at Pestalozzi went in order to make sure that we had adequate resources to support our A level programme. They continually sought academic volunteers to come and help us in the areas we were lacking. They were in constant negotiations with the management at the college we attended to make sure we got the best out of the college and its resources. When exams were hard, the road steep and we were at the bleak of giving up, we were always enclosed by a team that was willing to listen to us and find the best solution to our problems. If any member of staff both past and present reads this article, to you I say ‘you are a STAR.’
Pestalozzi in its quest to implement the HHH principle, I was provided with extra curriculum activities which all the more enriched my experience. From riding bicycles in the Pestalozzi field to playing football with friends, I never ran out of things to do at times when I did not want see my books.
All this was done in a community where students from 9 different countries live and study together. Pestalozzi did not let our cultural difference become a hindrance to us obtaining the best education. We were taught how to stay in a multi-cultural society, learning to put others needs before oneself. Personally, this made me learn a lot about other cultures as well as how to stay with people who I might not share a common ethical background. As an international student, this quality is extremely valuable. What more preparation for university can I ask for apart from what I got at Pestalozzi? Absolutely nothing!
Reading through what I have already written above, I find that I have not done enough to describe what Pestalozzi is all about. So if you happen to be in the UK, I would encourage you to visit the Pestalozzi village in Sedlescombe and see for yourself what this programme is all about. Kindly visit their website (www.pestalozzi.org.uk) too and see the noble work that this charity does. This charity should also be on your list of charities that you sponsor (or plan to sponsor). Every penny is definitely worth it. Again, visit the website to see how best you can do this.
Lastly, I would like to end with a quote from Erwin Burgos, a Pestalozzi Alumna who graduated from Pestalozzi 2016. In his graduation speech he said, “…I never imagined myself to live in a population where kindness is so dense, where wisdom is so abundant and the support is always available.”