Project week was an experience I won’t soon forget. It has been more than half a year since Group 6 departed Singapore headed to Chiang Mai. After hours and hours of planning, and numerous setbacks we successfully completed our week of activities and service. I am happy to say we all made it back in one piece.
Before we get into reflecting, I would first like to thank the people who helped in this wonderful journey. Ms Yacou, supervisor supreme, who had to put up with us before and during the trip (we updated her about every 2 minutes). Ms. Toth, who coordinated all the project week groups in the grade (bless her soul). The outdoor ed team, who did stuff we probably didn’t see. ISOS for always having our back. And of course my group: Anushka C, Natania, John, Arko, and Nicky C, for making the trip as smooth as it was fun.
Now onto what happened. A lot. The plan went pretty perfectly, almost nothing went wrong. Almost. But I’ll talk about that later. Our trip was planned to the brim with all three components of CAS. The largest, and most important, was the service component. For our service we decided to visit the Children Shelter Foundation (CSF). Which is an organisation that helps children in need break the cycle of poverty by providing education and life skills. They have a place in Chiang Mai where the children aged anywhere from infants to young adults participate in activities and workshops. We had planned some activities for these kids. Originally we had plans for a large group of kids, teaching them English in a game like fashion, yet as we found out most of them were on school vacation and we would only have a very small group size of very young kids. We had to adapt quickly to this change and we ended up doing just a few short activities like bang and duck duck goose before breaking out into a football game. Despite the change in plans it was still a lot of fun. During this experience we showed evidence of quick critical thinking, creative collaboration, and resilience. In addition to the games we also did coloring and cooking, what we planned on being somewhat of a short visit turned out to be an entire day thing. We went two full days, the first and last. And after both times we all left feeling tired yet accomplished.
Next on was creativity component of CAS. On day 3, we visited the silver temple (Wat Sri Suphan) and created metal key chains in the forge. While the it may of been more of a last minute planned thing, it still was a very enlightening experience. The silver city was like nothing I had ever seen before, and despite the heat, it was cool. Culturally it was super different to things in Singapore, but not things I hadn’t seen before as I travel a lot through Asia. But after trying to make these key chains, I can speak for the whole group when I say, we now have a overwhelming amount of respect for people who create the amazing silver art pieces because it is not easy at all. Later that same day we attended a Thai cooking class where we all made a dish of our choosing. I learned that when it comes to spice, John and Nicky, are absolutely useless. But overall a positive experience. Creativity as a whole was one of the lesser focused things in our planning yet I’m glad we did plan it in as the trip would of been much less culturally interesting. We really got to see the traditions, beliefs and culture of Thailand that we probably would of otherwise missed out on.
Finally the Activity. Prior to the trip this is what I was most excited about. A day long trek through the Chiang Mai forest, where we would encounter 3 waterfalls and wildlife. For some in the group, I think this was probably the hardest part and may be seen as the least enjoyable. The main problem was it rained a little the first half of the day. This caused mud to form which made walking much more difficult then it would of been otherwise. Everyone was slipping and sliding into the mud and getting very dirty in the process. I, for one, was fine with this, but I can see how others may of found it unpleasant. We had to show our resilience and get through it. I think in the end, despite the rain, it was a very fun experience and without it the trip would of been just a little bit too unexciting. This being said, I would of preferred to not slip and drop my very expensive camera in the waterfall. This was probably the hardest part for me as I needed to keep optimistic when things didn’t look great. But I just had to move through it, and things worked out fine in the end.
Now my favorite part of the whole trip was the night market experience. Despite not really planning to go at all. We went every night to the infamous Chiang Mai night market for dinner or to shop. The vibrant atmosphere was really something, that you don’t get anywhere else. And the food was good. I particularly enjoyed a local rock artist, Kinght. Overall a very positive experience.
To wrap up the trip, it was a first encounter with independent trip planning. While Chiang Mai may of been a place I have seen before, it was a whole new experience being there without anyone to tell us where to go and what to do. There was a sense of freedom and responsibility and willingness to just do, these traits are why I originally chose my group and much like the trip, they met all expectations with flying colors.
Learning outcomes and reflection questions topics included:
- Big picture (Goals, Action and Learning)
- LO 1 AWARENESS (Increased awareness of strengths and areas for growth)
- LO 2 CHALLENGE (Undertaken new challenges)/NEW SKILLS (Developing new skills)
- LO3 INITIATIVE (Planning and initiated activities)
- LO 4 COMMITMENT (Showing perseverance, resilience and commitment in activities)
- LO 5 COLLABORATION (Working together to achieve an outcome)
- LO 6 GLOBAL VALUE (Engaging with issues of global importance)
- LO 7 ETHICS (Considering the ethical implications of actions)