2022 CAS Trip
After two years of being hampered by Covid-19 issues, this year’s G11 IB Cohort has finally had the opportunity to visit Thailand for their annual CAS Trip, including a wide range of activities from stand-up paddling to Thai cooking to teaching English at local schools, encompassing all three strands of CAS – Creativity, Activity and Service, and all seven learning outcomes. Spanning from 5th December to 12th December, the CAS Trip is aimed at allowing students to take a rare break from busy everyday school life, and to develop their strengths and facilitate personal growth.
Samuel Leung, G11 (2022-23)
Day 2 - Elephant Conservation Project
The trip started with an elephant conservation project. We learnt more about their natural habitats, the human-elephant conflict between elephant habitats and farmland, and the viable solutions to mitigate the problem. We traversed the farmlands to get a first-hand experience of the conflict, rode in the back of pickup trucks to see wild elephants and even played our part by planting trees to improve the elephants’ habitat, thus reducing the frequency of elephants venturing outside of the mountains. Through these unique experiences, we were able to engage with issues of global significance and recognise that our actions can help the local community, developing our collaborative skills in planting trees in the process and covering the Service strand of CAS.
Day 3 Morning - Stand-up Paddling
We tried stand-up paddling and taught English in local schools for the third day. Not many of us have tried stand-up paddling before, especially not on a particularly windy day with waves hitting the shore non-stop. Worried yet enthusiastic, we still braved the rough sea with our paddleboards. It took us a while to familiarise ourselves with the pattern of waves, and yet we still often fall off the paddleboard into the sea. Not wanting to be discouraged, we kept falling and standing back up, whilst learning the technique to balance ourselves on the board. Through trial and error, several students were able to keep their balance for extended periods and stand up despite the rough sea. This allowed us to take on the challenge of stand-up paddling and develop the skill of mastering it, as well as to understand the importance of commitment and perseverance.
Day 3 Afternoon - Teaching English in Local Schools
In the afternoon, we took the rare opportunity to teach English in local schools with the materials we prepared last night. Each group was assigned a different topic to tutor the kids, whose English levels vary. Some local students were well-versed in English, yet some knows not even the most basic of words. Combined with the language barrier between English and Thai, this poses a great challenge for us to teach them English. As a result, we had to combine teaching, pictures and even body language to communicate with the students. Through this activity, other than the sense of satisfaction gained from teaching, we also trained our communication skills through collaborative teaching work by planning the teaching materials prior, in addition to recognising the effects of our teaching on local students.
Day 4 - Kite Cable
For the fourth day, we attempted kite cabling, a sport like kiteboarding but with a machine to simulate the kite. As the lake was quite large and deep, some of us had to overcome our fears, experiencing personal strength and growth. The kite cable took quite a bit of technique, from standing up on the board to shifting the centre of gravity, it challenged us to learn a new skill whilst coping with our fears. We kept falling into the water, but we kept persevering and stood back up once again until some of us managed to make a U-turn while gliding on the water, showing the importance of commitment and perseverance. A lot of us have also taken on the new challenge and developed a new skill as a result, covering the Activity strand of CAS.
Day 5 - Cycling
The next day, we cycled near the east coast of Thailand. However, as we soon learnt, some students have rarely cycled in the past. To catch up with other students, they practised cycling at the hotel the night before with the help of friends and were impressively able to mostly grasp the skill quickly. Some, on the other hand, learnt it on the way, while other students assisted them in learning to maintain their balance and a straight trajectory. Throughout the process of teaching, we had to try to understand what they were doing wrong, and thus develop our communication skills in the process; while others recognised their strengths and developed growth, taking on the challenge of riding a bicycle and training the skill to do so. In addition to the stunning view of the endless sea, this proved to be an unforgettable experience for a lot of us.
Day 6 Morning - Cooking
On the sixth day, we practised our cooking skills by preparing traditional Thai dishes and unleashed our creativity by creating eco-art. As most of us are rather unfamiliar with cooking, it proved a tough challenge for us to create dishes like green curry and fried noodles with decent quality. Throughout the activity, we had to learn to manage multiple things simultaneously, including how to prepare the raw ingredients and seasoning, the strength of the fire, the wok spatula, when to put in various ingredients, and how to present the dish attractively. In the end, thanks to the instructors, their demonstration and the recipe, we were able to produce good-tasting dishes by ourselves, which allowed us to identify our strengths in cooking and develop growth and new skills, as well as collaborating with friends to manage different things at the same time.
Day 6 Afternoon - Eco Art
In the afternoon, we arrived at a nearby Artist Village to create our own Eco-art, which involved stamping the colour from leaves and flowers onto bags. With the help of instructors, we gradually mastered the technique of using the appropriate force to hit the leaves and flowers. After some trial and error and half a dozen broken cutting boards, each of us had created a bag with unique markings for ourselves to take home. In addition, some of us also signed our names on the bag in Thai, taking the opportunity to try and incorporate some elements of Thai culture. The bag that we all took home serves as a token to remind ourselves of the power of our creativity, covering the Creativity strand of CAS, as well as the new skill of stamping colours onto bags that we have developed.
Day 7 - Hiking
On the last eventful day of the trip, we went on a hiking trip to see a cave with historical features. Inside the Phraya Nakhon cave, the pavilion with over a hundred years of history stood in the middle, reflecting its brilliance via the sun rays shone down from the opening at the top. We learnt more about the history behind it and had the opportunity to visit the wall markings of previous Thai kings. Through seeing the historical landmarks first-hand, we gained more interest and understanding of the history of Thailand, a rare chance for us to dive deeper into another nation’s culture. By combining hiking and a history field trip, we were able to identify our strengths in hiking and stamina, as well as develop growth in training our bodies to be more fit, all while learning more about Thai history, proving the day to be a meaningful one.
The CAS Trip proved to be an unforgettable journey throughout the IB diploma. We have broadened our horizons and supported the conservation of elephants, braved rough seas while stand-up paddling, helped local students by teaching them English, surfed across lakes, cycled and even taught others how to do so, cooked traditional Thai dishes, learnt how to make eco art, journeyed down a cave, visited historical monuments and learnt more about Thai history, involving Creativity, Activity, Service and all seven learning outcomes. Throughout the process, the trip has also trained other skills such as communication and self-management skills in the absence of our parents, facilitating personal growth in bravery and improving our self-confidence, developing friendships and creating new ones, thus preparing ourselves for not only the IB diploma but also the society of the future. Despite Covid issues, the trip was mostly smooth-sailing thanks to the Teachers-In-Charge (Mr. Charles Wu, Ms. Edith Li, Mr. James Lin, Dr. Ocean Yick, Ms. Julice Yeung, Mr. Ben Chui) taking great care of us and their meticulous planning beforehand; and credit must be given to the Thai instructors that guided us through the entire journey as well. This memory shall serve as a token of motivation for us to push through the IB diploma, as well as a memorable recollection for future years to come.