The following article comes from Juan Serratos, Kingswood Madero Partnership Coordinator, Madero College.

In the year 2023, Kingswood School marked a significant milestone – its 275th anniversary. To commemorate this special occasion, a series of events were organized, including conferences, a global school project, and a special religious service. Delegates from Methodist schools worldwide gathered to learn about and honour the legacy of John Wesley.

The journey began in 2022 when Kingswood initiated its project campaign through the Global School Alliance platform. Six Methodist schools, including Instituto Mexicano Madero, were invited to participate. This presented a unique opportunity for collaboration on scientific projects with potential community and global impact, alongside an exclusive invitation to visit Kingswood. We were also really interested in developing our students as global citizens so wanted to use this opportunity to work towards the GSA Bronze Award.

Visiting Kingswood was a breathtaking experience. The Gothic architecture, lush landscapes, and cobblestone paths spoke volumes of its 275-year journey, surviving even two world wars. Beyond its physical beauty, Kingswood exuded warmth through its people. Students and staff welcomed visitors with open arms, radiating kindness and a sense of belonging.

The essence of the Kingswood experience unfolded at the start of the 2022-2023 school year. Projects aligned with John Wesley’s values and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 2 on Food Security were integrated into the curriculum. Students embarked on a journey of creativity and innovation, balancing project work with academic responsibilities and extracurricular activities.

As the anniversary celebrations approached, Kingswood extended an invitation for an international cultural academic trip. Select students from Instituto Mexicano Madero prepared to immerse themselves in a foreign culture and showcase their projects to a global audience. The anticipation was palpable as logistics were meticulously planned, with teachers ensuring the safety and purpose of the trip.

Before departing, students delved into the philosophy of John Wesley through the ‘Global Methodist School Challenge’ course. On April 23, 2023, the journey commenced as students left Madero facilities for the Mexico City Airport. Arriving in London on April 24, they were greeted with enthusiasm by their guide, Garrod Musto, setting the tone for a memorable adventure.

Amidst the sombre English weather, students marvelled at the scenic countryside, feeling as though they had stepped into a mystery movie. The following day, they dined in grand halls reminiscent of scenes from Harry Potter, forging bonds with fellow students from diverse backgrounds.

Throughout the week, cultural exchange flourished as students attended classes, shared meals, and explored Kingswood’s rich history. They found common ground despite language barriers, forming friendships that transcended borders.

The climax of the trip came during a religious service to mark the 275 anniversary of Methodist education, at John Wesley’s Bristol home, now a museum. Students from Instituto Mexicano Madero played a pivotal role in readings and prayers. Additionally, they served as guides for delegates from various nations, showcasing their projects and garnering international recognition.

As the adventure drew to a close, students embarked on tours of London, Bath, and Bristol, immersing themselves in English culture and history. Each experience added depth to their understanding of the world and the bonds they had formed.

On the final day, farewells were bittersweet as students bid adieu to newfound friends, reflecting on the transformative journey they had shared. The trip to Kingswood was not just a commemoration of its 275 years but also a testament to the power of collaboration, friendship, and the pursuit of dreams. This experience and the projects that took place between our schools formed the basis for our Bronze GSA Global schools award which I am delighted to say we were subsequently awarded. Thank you GSA, we are now preparing for a return visit by Garrod to Madero to forge further bonds and help support us working towards a Silver Award, which is our next ambitious target!