Navigating difference: Children’s experiences of an Australia – South Korea school partnership

Project overview

International and intercultural education are globally recognised as critical to students’ development as global citizens. However, to date there is limited research about how primary school students engage in international education activities, including international school partnerships, also known as ‘sister school’ partnerships. Importantly, there is a significant gap concerning the ways in which youth participation in global exchanges through these school partnerships might relate to or influence how students navigate or make sense of racial, ethnic and cultural difference in their everyday lives.

This research aims to develop a greater understanding of how students on both sides of a global partnership in Australia and South Korea experience racial, ethnic and cultural diversity in daily life and how participation in their schools’ partnership activities might help encourage positive relations between people from diverse backgrounds.

This project is a long-term follow-up study that focuses on youth (11-13 years old) in Year 5 and Year 6. It involves classroom and school observations as well as interviews, photos and video diaries with the students. Interviews with key stakeholders such as teachers, principals and others doing work related to international education and school partnerships will also be conducted.

Overall, I hope that findings from this research will increase understanding of both Australian and South Korean students’ experiences and perspectives of their participation in global exchanges via their school partnership and within the context of their everyday lives at school and at home. This research has the potential to help inform intercultural strategies and practice and policy related to international school partnerships that emerge from an understanding of youth perspectives and experiences.

Project funding

This project is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award #DE1060100922 (2016-2019)

My research is about how young people in Australia and South Korea navigate cultural differences and friendship via a global on-line school partnership.

Dr Jessica Walton

DECRA Research Fellow

Our team

Chief Investigator
Dr Jessica Walton

Research Assistants
Ms Elisha Lee
Dr Mandy Truong 
Dr Seok Ohr