I think it’s safe to say that the fondest memories most of us hold from our school days are those we spent on school camps and day trips, away from the classroom and exploring the unknown. You are taken out of your comfort zone and challenged to show your independence, given the space to open up and let in new friends and knowledge, and then sent home thriving from all you achieved.
With this in mind, we asked the schools in Shanghai about their experiences on student trips. Whether the children took a bus to a city museum or a flight to Tanzania, at the core of their adventure was a desire to create an appreciation for the world around them, and identify how they can make a positive impact in the future.
With passionate teachers, curious minds and inspiring locations, the students were given a solid foundation to view the world through a different lens and create lasting emories. Now, let's hear from Paul Kelly, Deputy Head of Secondary of the British International School Shanghai, Puxi, about their adventure in Tanzania.
As an educator, I am very aware that salient learning experiences often take place outside of the classroom. At The British International School Shanghai, Puxi (BISS Puxi) we ensure our students have excellent opportunities to take part in exciting experiences, which will challenge them and take each of them out of their comfort zone. BISS Puxi runs a host of such trips throughout the year, from FOBISIA Sports and Mathematics competitions across Asia to exciting locations such as Jakarta and Bangkok, International Award expeditions in Guangzhou and language trips to Spain and Germany. Each of these has a specific educational purpose and is designed to develop students' understanding of the world they inhabit and their role in trying to improve it.
As our society becomes increasingly reliant on technology, we have designed trips which will give students the chance to get back to nature and develop the skills of teamwork and communication, which are vital in the modern workplace. Our end of year trips are an excellent example of this. Each year group travels to a different location (Year 7 to Yangshuo, Year 8 to Inner Mongolia, Year 9 to Hainan and Year 12 to Cambodia) and the trips involve very different activities. For many of our students, this will be the first time they have been away from their parents for any length of time, and this is a daunting thought for some. However, through exciting and challenging activities such as rock climbing, camel riding, surfing and community service, students soon overcome the worries of homesickness and begin to recognize how independent they are.
As students mature, it is important they have an understanding of how fortunate they are in comparison to many other people. BISS Puxi's trip to Tanzania, which runs in conjunction with other Nord Anglia schools, is a great example of an exciting experience with charity at its core.
Before leaving for the trip, students engage in self-directed fund-raising activities in order to secure funds for the Seeway charity, which supports orphaned children in Arusha, Tanzania. Once in Tanzania, they participate in a range of charitable endeavors at Seeway and a local school, and they also contribute to the sustainable future of the local community by building smokeless stoves and goat sheds, along with supplying goats to local families. The final part of this adventure is a two-day safari in the Serengeti National Park, where students have close encounters with elephants, giraffes and, if they are lucky, lions.
For many BISS students, the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and take controlled risks on a residential trip is the highlight of their school year. Meeting the students from the buses and watching their faces light up as they tell their parents about the trip is all the proof I need to know that our adventurous trips are a valuable learning experience for all students and something BISS Puxi will continue for many years to come.
[Title image via Wikipedia]
Paul Kelly is the Deputy Head of Secondary of the British International School Shanghai, Puxi