KAUST Social Responsibility  

Conversation Club at the Fire Station


KAUST community volunteers and students from Thuwal have been doing a lot of chatting!  Social Responsibility co-ordinated a series of ‘conversation clubs’ where intermediate and high school students from neighboring villages met with English speaking volunteers from the KAUST community for informal sessions, where the Thuwal students could practice their English skills.  Students from each of the schools attended two sessions, one at Safaa Golf Club and the other at KAUST Fire Station.  At each session each KAUST community volunteer sat with a group of 3-4 students, using facts about the venue as a starting point for the conversation.  Discussions then wandered to all sorts of subjects as the students and volunteers found common interests and got the chance to ask each other questions about their home countries and languages.

Sue Kershaw, a KAUST community volunteer said “The students were a delight to be with, full of enthusiasm and eager to improve their spoken English.  We had fun talking around the chosen topic and also had an opportunity to chat generally as well, as the students sharing some Arabic expressions for us to learn!  The students fully participated and it was a pleasure to meet with them.”

After the conversations, it was time to play.  Both the golf club and the fire station had laid on activities for the visiting students.  At the golf club the students had a chance to try putting and then to see quite how far they could hit the ball on the driving range.  At the fire station, the fire crew set out all the equipment they use in the various emergencies they face, with the students getting to try on the fire fighting kit – ‘very heavy’ was the comment.  Practicing with the fire hose caused much hilarity while they tried to control the hose and the jet of water that travelled some 50 feet.  On the more serious side, the students and volunteers were impressed by the awesome impact of ½ a cup of water on a pot of burning cooking oil.

Thank you to Gaurav Syal and his team at the Safaa Golf Club and to Greg Burnell and Donal Petherbridge and all the firemen at the fire station for the efforts they went to in ensuring the conversation clubs were so active and interesting.  Of course huge thanks to our volunteers – Aislinn Dunn, Anthony Gentilucci, Sue Kershaw, Holly Kincaid, Amy Leat, Pamela Lewis, Jennifer Otoadese, Jaseem Qureshi, Sheila Stafford, Tina Smith, Tim Thomson, Matthew Tietbohl and Carolyn Unck – who I suspect enjoyed themselves just as much as the students.

Social Responsibility will be running another series of Conversation Clubs after the summer holidays.  If you are interested in taking part as a volunteer, please let us know by registering on the website or via email.

UN Sustainable Development Goal #5  E-WEB-Goal-11

Part of the Young Learners' Development Program - read the Program Overview here

May 3, 2018

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