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Natural Disaster Disrupted International Exchanges

News Release: Wednesday 29 June, 2011

Natural Disaster Disrupted International Exchanges

St Margaret's British School for Girls in Chile is not having the greatest luck this year with its annual exchanges to their affiliated Margaret schools in New Zealand; Queen Margaret College and St Margaret College. It seems two natural disasters; one in New Zealand and the other in Chile have had other plans for the girls!

Earlier this year four girls from Chile eagerly waited in Auckland to board a plane bound for St Margaret College, Christchurch. It was at this point that the 22 February earthquake hit and the girls had to reroute their trip to Queen Margaret College, Wellington. The girls were quickly picked up by new host families and set about making the most of their time in Wellington by volunteering towards the Christchurch relief efforts at the Pipitea Marae. Being bilingual in English and Spanish was a great asset, as they were able to translate for displaced Spanish Speaking travellers being cared for at the Marae, along with collecting and sorting goods being dropped off.

Four months down the track it was now Queen Margaret Colleges’ turn to welcome twelve girls from the same College for a four week exchange. This time round the girls made it to the correct College, however now they are unable to return home! This time round it is due to the eruption of Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano at home. The twelve girls were due to leave on Saturday 25 June, unfortunately all air travel has been cancelled until the 28 June when the situation will be reassessed and they can look to start the rebooking processes. The girls continue to attend Queen Margaret College until they are given the all clear to fly again.

This is not the only exchange to be disrupted by the volcano with another girl from St Margaret's School, Tappahannock in Virginia, USA arriving several days late to her host family at Queen Margaret College. Between both of these natural disasters Queen Margaret College has managed to send twenty girls over to Chile and have them return home safely and on schedule.

Background Information:

Queen Margaret College is a Leading Independent Presbyterian Girls College. It offers holistic education from Pre-School through to Year 13 and the choice of the qualification pathways of IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma and NCEA. QMC is a College with an international perspective that delivers a high-quality, globally-relevant curriculum within a family atmosphere.


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