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The Corporation

Posted: 10/12/12

Transatlantic chats from Mansfield to Mansfield

Students at West Nottinghamshire College were talking current affairs last week (Friday 7 December) – with young people over 3,000 miles away.

Through the wonders of technology, Amy Mellon, Tyler Mellins, Kirsty Hill, Brett Baker and Jack Nelson linked up with pupils online at Mansfield High School in Ohio, USA, in the first of a series of transatlantic debates.

This first debate comes after HND Music Performance student, Brett Baker, accompanied Mansfield's Youth Mayor on the visit to Mansfield, Ohio, in June. It was arranged by Mansfield District Council and The Sister Cities Association of Mansfield and the group met students and tutors at a number of educational institutions.

Following the building of relations between West Nottinghamshire College and North Central State College in Mansfield Ohio, it was planned to hold regular online debates between the two towns.

During today’s online debate West Notts students and representatives from The Sister Cities Association of Mansfield hooked up with students from Mansfield High School.  The group discussed topical matters such as how young people are perceived in both Mansfields, their attitudes, aspirations, opportunities and also the cost of higher education in each country.

HE and international manager at West Notts College, Danielle Mackinnon, said: “This was an exciting first debate with our friends in Mansfield Ohio and hopefully the first of many.

“There was a wide range of subjects discussed and it was very interesting to hear just how similar both Mansfields seem to be.  It was evident that both groups of young people are very aware of their localities and the needs of young people.

“We’re looking forward to the future ways in which we can work with our friends in The States to enrich and internationalise the curriculum on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Mansfield’s current Youth Mayor Jessica Wells said: “I’m very keen for the relationships Daniel and Dawn forged in Ohio to be developed further and following the success of the first transatlantic conference I hope secondary schools across the District will be keen to take part in further conferences next year.”

In addition to further transatlantic debates in 2013, the college’s Higher Education business team will be exploring joint curriculum delivery on the theme of virtual business with North Central State College.

In the long term it is planned that students from West Notts could spend a semester at North State Central College through an exchange which would see an American student experiencing life at West Nottinghamshire College.