Located in the Silesian region of Poland is the metropolis of Katowice. Historically, this city has been viewed as mostly an industrial area due to the rich coal deposits but now is one of the most urbanized and economically powerful regions within the European Union, catching the eye of many foreign investors like IBM, Unilever, Deloitte, Capgemini, and General Motors. As these international companies open their services in the region, professionals from around the world are drawn to Katowice, bringing their families along. This of course created the demand for a high quality international school to educate young students from various backgrounds. In the early 2000’s Skoła jak Dom – ‘School like Home’ – opened their doors to a small number of students. As the number of foreign investments in the region has skyrocketed, so has the number of internationals looking for quality English education.
Thanks to the wonderful networking and relationships created during the annual SRH University Heidelberg International Week, our new colleague Stephanie Farrar, the International Marketing and Recruitment Manager at SRH University Heidelberg, received an invitation from Skoła jak Dom and partner University of Katowice colleague Anna Dewalska-Opitek to visit the high school. Ms. Farrar presented the Bachelor Programmes of SRH Universities to the International Baccalaureate students and conducted an interactive workshop. Students were presented with the so-called ‘Spaghetti and Marshmallow Challenge’, where small groups must build the tallest free-standing tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows in 5 minutes.
‘The students really seemed to enjoy the experience. They took to the task immediately by forming small international groups and once the time started the room was buzzing with laughter!’ – Stephanie Farrar
Of course, there is a purpose behind the challenge. This highlights the activated teaching and learning method, the C.O.R.E. Principle, which won SRH University Heidelberg the Genius Loci Prize for Teaching Excellence in 2018. Just like in the classrooms at SRH universities, students must work in small groups on a task to produce something. This requires planning, leadership, team-work, communication, and many other competences one must develop to be successful in the working world.
‘Overall the impression of the high school was strikingly similar to SRH University Heidelberg. Classes are small, hands on, and highly international – more than that there was a great relationship between the staff and students. One of the classrooms I visited had students from S. Korea, England, Italy, and India being taught by an American professor. The students and professors were highly interactive and it was more of a group discussion as opposed to a lecture. Most strikingly, nearly every student in the hall said a friendly ‘dzień dobry’ (good morning) to Headmistress Jolanta Kałuża and I during the visit.’ – Stephanie Farrar
As many of the IB students at the high school are interested in Business Studies, the hope is that we at SRH University Heidelberg will be welcoming them to our university in the future.