In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Maryknoll School teaches students about diplomacy through student-athlete exchange program

Hosts Shanghai volleyball team in Common Goal program

Sponsored by Maryknoll School

Maryknoll School is developing the next generation of global leaders and bridging cultures through its Common Goal program, an international student-athlete exchange. The program was designed to teach students that diplomacy starts from building bridges of friendship and connecting with people. This year, the school hosted a girls volleyball team from Shanghai, China.

Jill Takasaki Canfield, Maryknoll’s director of international programs, explains that Common Goal is a program that was started to help students connect over a common passion like sports. “Something as fundamental as a shared love of playing a sport can break down language and cultural barriers and be a foundation for students to connect and build bridges,” she explains.

While hosting the girls volleyball team from Shanghai, its team members stayed with the families of Maryknoll volleyball players, participated in diplomacy games and joint practices where they learned about the other’s style of training and skill building.

“We also taught them how to play the ukulele and shared a little bit about hula with them,” says Takasaki.

Rozalynn Cabuena is a sophomore at Maryknoll School and the girls varsity volleyball libero and co-captain. When it came time for joint practices with the team from Shanghai, she thought it would be a more strict environment. “Their practices are really fun,” she says. “Their coach is really, really amazing.”

Last year, during the school’s first Common Goal trip, the boys varsity basketball team went to China to participate in diplomacy games with three schools. The team also did homestays with the families of the Chinese basketball players, visited the U.S. Consulate and talked with students and connected on ideas about how to build relationships between their two countries.

“It’s truly an eye-opening experience for students to experience another culture,” Takasaki says. “Experiencing another culture and meeting someone from another country helps you have a different perspective of your own life, in the U.S. and Hawaii.”

For more information: maryknollschool.org, facebook.com/maryknollschoolhonolulu, Twitter: @MaryknollSchool, Instagram: @maryknoll_school