Project Week: Creativity and Activity

Saturday:

We left for Chiang Mai around mid-day, meeting at Changi Airport with our parents for check-in. Since one of the group members bought the tickets together on one account, we all had to check in with the details from her flight details. We were using the digital check-in, and ran in to slight problems when only two of us could check in. While going to the counter to fix the issue, the two girls tried to get the printed ticket set. After completing check-in and immigration, we waved goodbye to our parents and went into the terminal. Some of us exchanged money to prevent having to worry about it later on, while others already exchanged money beforehand. We had lunch and then boarded our flight to Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport. Landing in Bangkok was confusing, as the airport didn’t have much signage for transfer flights and there were many people going in and out of the terminal. However, after going through a second immigration, we had around an hour to relax and get re-situated. Two of us bought Thai sim-cards in the airport, while the rest were going to use their Singaporean numbers with data plans. There was a slight mixup with our gate and our flight was delayed, but we landed in Chiang Mai International Airport on time. We arranged for a shuttle service to pick us up from the airport, but there was confusion with where they would wait for us as international passengers are divided from domestic passengers, even if the flight was domestic. Eventually, we found the shuttle and drove to the hotel. It was a short distance and checking in was very quick. After setting our things down, we went to the hotel cafe to eat dinner and went to bed not long after. Overall a successful journey 🙂

Sunday:

Bright and early, we scheduled our day trek with Wild Planet to begin at 8 am. Wild Planet came and picked us up, and we were informed that we would be driving for around an hour to a market to pick up supplies, before continuing up to the mountain area where we would be trekking. It started out fairly cool, but the weather eventually warmed up, and by the time we reached the base of the mountain to quickly stop for a break, it was already quite warm out. The temperature was estimated to reach 38 degrees, but humidity would make it feel like 42. As we drove up the mountain, I started getting a bit carsick as the road was very windy, but it was a beautiful location, forested treescapes as far as the eye could see. The top of the mountain allowed a wide view of the surrounding lands, and our guide pointed out our final destination, approximately 15 km away. That was our first issue, as we anticipated the trek to only be around 5-7 km. While I have done several hiking trips before, they have never been in such warm weather, and I knew this would be a personal difficulty. The initial part of the trek was slower going and also easier than the later parts of the trek as the descent was not as steep and we were not in heavily wooded areas. On this part of the trek, our guide showed us many local Thai plants, including coffee and tea plants, along with several different fruits and vegetables. He also showed us a particular type of wood that easily burns and was once used as torches by the local hill tribes. During lunch, we stopped in a small village. In my past hiking trips, we did not get the opportunity to interact with the local culture, so I found this to be a slightly different experience compared to what I have done in the past. After lunch, our trek because much harder. We were in much steeper sections of the forest, with many uphill and downhill changes. The path was only wide enough for single file walking, so we all took turns in the various positions. There were some parts of the trek where I was quite scared because one side would be the side of the hill and the other side would be straight down. I was concerned that someone in my group would slip and would be injured. It was also getting progressively warmer, especially as we exerted more effort, so we started taking electrolytes to make sure we stayed properly hydrated. One of our group members became slightly heat-exhausted over the course of the trek, leading the rest of our group to take initiative for various small tasks, such as periodically giving her water, ensuring she wasn’t the last person, fanning her if she needed, and trading bags so she was carrying a lighter load. This sense of responsibility and teamwork was the most important aspect of the 7 hour trek, and we gained not only an appreciation for the Thai landscape and Hill tribe culture, but also an understanding of our personal strengths and weaknesses, along with how we could support each other using these discoveries.

 

Monday:

I found and organized the cooking class that we went to on Monday for the aspect of Creativity. We decided on cooking because food is an important part of culture, and we wanted to be able to take what we had learnt back home through learning something practical. There are actually many different cooking schools in Chiang Mai, but I found a cooking school within walking distance of our hotel called Thai Akha Cooking School that looked interesting because we would get to experience going to a Thai market to buy ingredients before cooking a variety of dishes. It was only around 10 minutes or so to walk to the school, and after the other participants arrived, we went to a local Thai market. Our instructor showed us various different food dishes and ingredients that are important to Thai cooking. I noticed that many of these ingredients were familiar to me, as my mom grew up in Thailand and cooks Thai food fairly often. Additionally, Indonesian cuisine also uses similar ingredients. The entire cooking experience was nicely planned out by the cooking school, despite there being 10 different dishes to cook. We also learnt that the Akha in the name of the school refers to a particular hill tribe, which has their own cooking style that differs from traditional Thai dishes. This day was far less challenging than our trek, but more creative and interesting. The environment we were working in was friendly and inviting, and the situation 

was a very dynamic and animated one. I wouldn’t say there were any downsides to the cooking class, other than the fact that is was essentially outside, and therefore very warm, and the fact that we made 10 dishes and ate them all. I personally really enjoyed learning how to cook as I don’t cook very often, and I don’t often cook complex dishes such as some ofthe ones we made. It was an overall fun experience for everyone, and time passed very quickly through the “learning process”.

Kahaani: Show Week

I didn’t know that “Kahaani” meant “story” for the longest of times, but it truly lived up to its namesake.

From what I’ve come to learn about UWC, performances are intense and the amount of time that goes into preparing for the shows is far longer than anything I’ve done before. The week of Kahaani was very busy, with rehearsals until 8 or 9 pm for a few days. But, there was a large highlight to the preparations: people from Voice of World School For the Blind who are partnered with Kolkata GC came to UWC. We had an assembly and they presented to us how exactly the money and awareness that Kahaani brings is used, and they shared a humbling video of the goals that the school works towards. To actually see a physical manifestation of something that we dedicate our time and energy, there are very few words to describe that. I love the idea of actually seeing our efforts, because I think it became very easy to just think of Kahaani as another performance and event that the school has and forget exactly why we all dedicated ourselves to helping Kolkata GC. That was the most meaningful moment of the whole Kahaani experience to me, and made all the long rehearsals and other annoyances worth it. The people from Voice of World School also stayed the whole week to watch the performances, and I hope it brought them much pride and joy to see the amount of people that turned up.

Only since coming to UWC have I had such an immersion in a different culture, mostly due to the amount of different people from different ethnicities. Kahaani is only my second time doing Indian dancing, and it was so different from the first time. There is such a diversity in the styles of the dancings, costumes, and music that it is a constantly changing experience. Kahaani was still incredibly fun, there were so many people I knew in all the dances, and the show week was filled with so many fun memories. I hope to do Kahaani again next year, because it was only something to gain.

Dance Showcase: Show Week

Dance showcase was definitely challenging, perhaps not so much in the actual style of dancing itself, but in my own personal feelings about how everything was organized and how the week itself went. It was a busy week, with rehearsals and then the show itself all right on top of one another. I also had two tests that were supposed to occur that week, but that I ended up having to move to the next week. I’m not sure how I felt about that, because I personally feel that my academics are more important than my extracurricular, and that having to reschedule assignments because I wasn’t released to go home until 9 at night is a bit unfair. That is perhaps one of my main negative experiences about the show week, in that I felt there was a lack of clarify and order in what needed to be done, and that I had to be on the stage very last minute for the entire show.

However, Show Week was a true test of commitment and collaboration between everyone. My dance had to meet during some of the lunches to fine tune some aspects of our dance that we continued to struggle with, and we all put in time on the weekend before to meet and put together all the different components of the dance. There were some things that we had to change of the week of the show, but everyone relearnt the choreography and integrated it back into the dance. Everyone worked together and shared different resources for hair and makeup and costume, and there was overall a good relationship between all the dancers and the dance leaders. I know that it was difficult for some people in my dance who were in multiple other dances, as I myself was part of the transitions in the show and it was an added aspect, but I didn’t feel there was anyone who wasn’t committed to the dance.

Especially to my dance leaders, one of who had never choreographed or taught before, it turned out wonderfully. We kept to the theme, through our music and our dancing, and the end result was everything that we had spent the months working towards. And while this week was exhausting, there is exhilaration in dancing in a group, when you’re on the stage and the music and lighting is as it is supposed to be, mistakes don’t change that feeling of pride.


Science Fair: Finishing and Displaying the Project

I feel like it’s really important to reflect on more than just things that you enjoyed from, but to reflect on different activities or experiences that you were not necessarily comfortable with or enjoyed. I would say one of the experiences that I continued doing but wasn’t completely invested in was the Science Fair. Which is not to say that I am disinterested in science in any way, but I realized that the idea of our research project wasn’t completely something I was passionate about, and it wasn’t something that the rest of my group members were passionate about.

I did of course continue until the end, because I felt obligated to finish what I had started, and I didn’t want to let my group down by not completely any research at all. I would say this was more perseverance for me than many other activities, because there is usually more of a desire to persevere with an activity you really love. That’s why this experience for me was one where I really did persevere, because I forced myself to follow through with the plans we made and the research question we originally set out, and I did learn along the way. While personally fungal infections were not the highest on my list of things I find fascinating to read about at home, I did end up writing and editing the majority of the report. In the end, I’m rather proud of my personal achievement with this, because I spent a lot of time researching the different aspects of fungal infections and different drugs that can be used to treat fungal infections, and I worked with another group member to get all the information finished on time. I’m quite happy that her and I were able to pull it together.

Link to the Full Report

Extended Essay Day – 9th of May 2019

Today, I’ve spent the majority of my day focusing on the biological aspect of depression and the relationship between neurons and neurotransmitters. I have learnt more about the way that neurotransmitters are transmitted and how this translates to a larger macroscale view. I was able to talk to my Psychology teacher about incorporating psychology into the EE contents, and I learnt of the different types of cognitive theories of depression. Ideally, I will structure my essay with the theory and the biological explanation followed by the case study, before critically analyzing the study both internally and to a general conclusion. I was able to complete and organize most of my research that is necessary for the parts of my EE that help to support the case study. I have also narrowed down several possible case studies that I will have to go through in order to further analyze. I began writing my introduction and initial aspects of my body paragraphs, and I’ve worked over halfway to the first 1000 word requirement, so I think I’ll be able to reach the 1000 words fairly soon. 

I’m hoping to complete my biological research soon, so that I can move on to the more complex psychological side. Once both explanations of depression are clarified, it will be far easier to look at antidepressants and pick a case study that can be analyzed.

Extended Essay: Reflective Conversation 1

In MYP Personal Project, I studied the link between environment and the development of several mental illnesses, therefore when I was directed from Biology to World Studies, I took the opportunity to look deeper into the link between the biological and psychological development of depression and how antidepressants treat depression, however, I struggled to direct my thinking into focusing a research question with a smaller lens to study health. I was curious why there were different antidepressants and why some don’t work for different people. My supervisor suggested isolating gender, as gender is a genetic factor that may have a permanent influence on the drugs’ effect. My initial strategy is to understand biologically and psychologically who depression occurs in and why, and what antidepressants affect. I feel this is base knowledge to understanding if and why there are gender differences that can be used to better understand and treat depression across high-risk populations

Ladakh Documentary

In Ladakh over two sessions, we spent the majority of the meetings watching a documentary that is set in Leh, Ladakh. The documentary was about how tourism is causing major changes within the economical and social aspects of living in Ladakh. The documentary was a mixture of many different interviews: some were from tourists, some were from local farmers, some were from local politicians and government workers. Despite this, the views were not as varied as one would think. Many of the interviewees believe that there have been some negative effects of globalization, especially to the native Ladakhi people.

Primarily, the growth in tourism was causing major changes with the Buddhist lifestyle of many of the locals. Much of the Ladakhi culture was being replaced or only highlighted for the purpose of drawing in tourists to Ladakh, which changed how the local people viewed their own culture. It became a tool to use in order to have financial gain. Especially because Leh is unreachable within the winter months due to dangerous weather conditions, the locals must utilize the summer months to the best of their abilities. As farming has decreased due to younger generations traveling from farms into the cities for work, there is a need for jobs within the city that can provide enough money during summer months to last workers for the rest of the year.

Here is a video of the discussion that our group had after finishing the documentary:

 

Ladakh: Run for Rights 2019

Run for Rights SWOT Analysis

STRENGTHS

The strengths of our service partnership are:

  • No one got lost – no one got hurt, we had the emergency team well coordinated
  • Lot of the stuff was available from last year so there was enough guides for logistics
  • Able to make a profit
  • Offered food and water
  • We planned for many different situations
  • Were coordinated
  • Marketed to the High School and many teachers were interestedWEAKNESSES

    Identify them and add strategies to minimise them:

    • Risk assessment was late as the guides of what to do weren’t organised
    • There needs to be a more logical order for what to do in terms of logistics
    • Less people for logistics
    • Confusion between pledge cards and risk bands
    • Too late for marketing
    • Unsure of placement in kilometer marker
    • Posters along the run weren’t visible or legible
    • Not enough people encouragement for runners – didn’t create the right environment (maybe need more people)
    • Wastage of food?
    • Not enough people showed up
    • Podcast
    • Not enough people to pack up event in school

OPPORTUNITIES
Further goals for our service partnership are:

      • Printing registration form
      • More communication with service office on the steps to organise events
      • Expectations and order need to be communicated by service
      • order
      • Maybe merge pledge cards and wrist bands into one
      • Clarify that pledge cards are competitive
      • Make it more of a family event
      • Earlier market
      • More organized shifts for GC members to allow members to participate in event
      • Move the date to not be close to exams etc.
      • More people for packing up the event on Saturday in school
      • Put snacks and water every kilometer for runners to hydrate and eat

THREATS

Identify them and add strategies to overcome them:

  • Weren’t extremely prepared for rain or lighting
  • Deadlines were cut close
  • Not properly marked hazards
  • Markers were wrong so runners confused