CAS Reflection: Project Week
Project Week in Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.
Project week is something I’m quite nervous for. I remember kids talking about it even back when I joined this school in Grade 5. For most people it’s something they’re looking forward to but for me it’s something I know is going to be extremely stressful. Planning activities and experiences isn’t all that new for me as it is something I feel I do in everyday life, however Project Week is a whole other story. We have to plan our itinerary and book flights, accommodation, and so forth, sort of by ourselves, but thankfully we’re in a group so it isn’t as intimidating as it could be.
My group and I have decided that we want to visit Chiang Mai as for 3 of them, they’ve never been. I have visited Chiang Mai for Grade 8 camp, but it was a place where I wanted to definitely return. Also, it’s somewhat close to Singapore and its a little safer than other countries. It was quite easy for us to make decisions together since I’m in a group with 3 of my friends so we knew each other well enough to make planning a lot easier. We all want to do service and activity during our trip because we have a mutual feeling that this will allow us to really experience something new, as creativity is something we can do in Singapore. After looking into providers, we had chosen to work with Children’s Shelter Foundation (CSF) and 8Adventures, however we got rejected for CSF in our proposal as many Chiang Mai groups wanted to work with them, so instead we chose to work with School For Life. In Grade 8 I actually visited CSF so I wasn’t too upset with this.
Assigning roles in the group was also easy as we all wanted to do different things. I’m the service organiser so I’ve been emailing School For Life about activities they would like us to do with the children as well as booking the accommodation there for two days. Choosing our hostel was also easy, but I think the biggest struggle in our planning process was flights. Only groups going to Chiang Mai weren’t allowed to be in the same place at the same time regardless of whether we knew the other group or not, so that made booking flights really stressful. Originally we were supposed to leave on the 26th of May, however the flights we were looking at were arriving too late as on this day we were supposed to be driven to service and we had to be there early. So, we had to request to leave a day earlier, but because of delays in communication, a lot of flights were getting taken out as well as prices rising so we had no choice but to book the same outbound flight as another Chiang Mai group. The actual booking was really bad for me though. I offered to book the flights but there were so many complications along the way. We had chosen an AirAsia flight, which allows passengers under 18 to fly alone, but when we were booking through other sites with cheaper prices, it wouldn’t allow me to book because it noticed that all of us were only 16-17 years old. So I had to book through the actual AirAsia website and prices had gone up, but when I went to pay, I had to pay through E-NETS and because of some ad settings I had on my browser, it didn’t work and from then on I wasn’t able to book flights at all. After two group members trying we finally managed to book the flights but it was so stressful.
Aside from that, so far planning has been pretty easy, though at times our activity provider did not respond to us it would get resolved quickly. I think making sure that we have a general idea of what our days are going to look like is helpful in preparing us for actually going on the trip.