Before actually booking or researching, we first came to an agreement to complete the three aspects of CAS, through cooking for creativity, trekking for activity, and working at School For Life for service. This made the rest of the planning more straightforward since we all had a common goal and agreement of what we would like the trip to be. I wouldn’t say I had issues with my group at any point in the planning, and that was certainly quite the relief. From the beginning when we filled out the initial request form, each group member picked a role and followed through with it. I was first aider, and while this required more commitment than all the other roles, it didn’t mean that I didn’t help my group members when needed. Often times, I found myself filling in information or doing separate research, especially since I believe the coordinators actually thought I had a different role. Overall, it was very straightforward for us to find and coordinate the various parts of our trip. We had several Skype calls wherein we discussed plane tickets, accommodation, transport, and our different activities. As Chiang Mai was a very popular destination, the timing and duration of the trip had to be staggered and coordinated with the other 5 groups, and part of the UWC’s request was that there would be no interaction between groups, whether in the services, airports, or hotels. We requested to leave earlier rather than later since there were members of our group who had to be back in Singapore for the end of the given Project Week slot. Additionally, it was discussed with the other group going to work with School For Life that we would first completed our activity or creativity requirements before finishing our trip with service. With this in mind, we looked at airfare and tried to pick one of the cheaper flights (going through Bangkok instead of directly flying in). We also picked a location within Chiang Mai to concentrate our search for accommodation in, and settled with the Old City because lots of food, stores, and tourist sites were all within walking distance from one another and the area was relatively cheap and centralized compared to other hotel areas. I was responsible for looking for and booking cooking classes, so I researched various cooking schools online and found several located within the Old City that looked very promising. After having a meeting with our supervisor, I booked a cooking class with Thai Akha Cooking School. Around this time, we booked flights, and we found a very nice hotel for a good price that had a good location and had breakfast included. We also booking a one day trek with Wild Planet, a group that members of my group had actually trekked with previously on school trips in 8th grade. They were very accommodating, especially since one day treks were not typically offered. The actual booking of the hotel, cooking class, trekking, and plane tickets required flexibility and quite a bit of maneuvering, since they all required one other to be completed all at the same time. There were also shared difficulties between all the Chiang Mai groups that resulted in major setbacks in terms of booking, and we quite literally paid the price for the delay. I would say most of our problems came from working with the school instead of working with the the various partners in Chiang Mai, because there were many deadlines that needed to be completed by a set time, appointments that needed to be done with certain people on certain dates, and various other minor aspects of the trip that needed to be prepared for beforehand. Ultimately though, my group was not denied traveling to Chiang Mai last minute, and we had no issues with cancellations from any providers.
While the school often says that you don’t necessarily need to be with your friends in order to complete Project Week, there is something to be said about building better bonds with the friends you already have. Luckily, I did not really experience the struggle many people had of not fitting in to any one particular group, and I ended up being with my two close friends and two other girls I got along quite well with. I knew that all the girls I was with were each organized and prepared to take initiative during the planning and trip itself, which was a very key point in being able to work together. We quickly decided to have a Skype call to discuss location, focus, and our general ideas for what we wanted as a goal. Using some older resources from previous years, we went through a list of locations and services. We decided that we would rather do service along with something else, if not all three aspects of CAS, rather than doing activity and creativity alone. Some of the locations would work because we also wanted to prioritize safety, and the areas or cities were in unsafe times or we wouldn’t be familiar with the area at all. We also wanted to work more with children or with education-based focuses as opposed to working in environmental or animal focused services. I really wanted to focus on working with education because my GC is an education focused group that partners with a school in India. While I was unable to go to the school for a variety of reasons, it didn’t mean I would forfeit my desire to focus on education. Therefore, I was quite excited to work with a group that was also passionate about education. We originally decided on a school north of Phuket to work with, that was located in a national park, but when new resources were sent out, we discovered that the list of approved locations and services were greatly reduced. Continuing on the same line, we chose School For Life in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was located in a safe and familiar city, our service would be a school which fulfilled our focus, and UWC had pre-existing partnerships with various activity providers in the area. This meant that we had a good foundation to begin mapping out our ideal trip and see how we could best fulfill the different aspects of CAS in our own personal manner. We didn’t encounter many struggles into finding a location or focus because we all found ourselves in agreements about the various passions and interests that would help shape how we planned our trip, and this gave us a clear sense of direction that lasted the entire process.
Reflection of the Run for Rights Process
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.
On the evening of the 7th of December, UWC held a sort of caroling night for the Lower school students to enjoy, where they could come
with their family and bring some food and blankets to sing along with some Christmas carols for the evening. Earlier that week, Ms Stirrat asked a few of us in Sonos if we were free to help sing some songs on the Friday. Along with Georgia, Emily, Lydia, and Hannah from Bersama, we met on Wednesday to choose some Christmas carols that we wanted to perform. We settled on White Winter Hymnal, Silent Night, White Christmas, Hark the Angels, We Three Kings, and It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas. We spent around an hour and a half learning the different songs and testing some different ideas out. We decided to combine some of the songs and shorten certain parts, and tested the way our voices sounded with others, eventually coming up with partners in the song to sing different parts.
On the day, my service did not have a meeting, and I was therefore able to practice another time with the other girls. Considering the short amount of time we had, we were able to pull together most of the songs. However, we found out that instead of “performing” the carols, we would be singing along with the children, and inviting some of them to also get up and sing with us. This meant that instead of singing only 4-6 predetermined songs, we would actually be singing all 15 or so carols. Seems like a good idea, except for the minor fact that I am not familiar with many of the words or titles of carols, and therefore do not actually know which carols I can sing or not (Nothing quite like learning the song as you’re singing it into a microphone). We all covered for each other though, and there were adults singing with us as well, and many children, so the experiences wasn’t as daunting as performing in front of a large audience while being half prepared would normally be. It was all in good fun and Christmas cheer, and the children were even visited by Santa Claus. I got to know some of my other choir members and grade members, and learned some songs while we were at it.
Since the beginning of Science Society, we’ve transitioned from learning about new science topics and concepts to helping plan and produce projects for the science fair that will be hosted in the new year. We began planning around the end of the October break and beginning of November period, and are currently halfway or so in the project.
Together with a few other students in 11th grade, we’ve decided to focus on The Effects of Antifungal Medicine upon Fungal Infections. Since we’re a mix of students who take Biology and Chemistry, we wanted an option that would be interesting for all the members of the group. Unlike some of the other groups, we’re choosing a more “theoretical” approach that doesn’t involve experimentation. Instead, it will be more of a research focused project that allows us to learn more about medicine and the effects from other studies that have been conducted. We all agreed that with varying schedules and other factors, carrying out an experiment wouldn’t be the most practical or fulfilling way to explore our topic.
In the past meetings, there have been lots of steps to initiate the projects and beginning to prepare for the necessary items. So far, our group has decided on a title, aim, and theory to research. We’ve began some preliminary research needed and written out a schedule of when tasks should be completed by.
We’ve finalized our Aim: To compare and contrast how different antifungal medicines affect fungal infections.