Each year we welcome over 2,500 students and staff from schools worldwide.
27 of November - 1 December, 2017
Exploring Life in The North (Chiang Mai)
The Barge Program was very happy to receive Year 6 students from Regent’s International School for five days of team building activities and learning experiences. Together the students were able to challenge themselves and increase their confidence by living away from home and participating in activities with hill tribe and local northern people. One of the aims of our journey was to explore the differences between our urban lives and the lives of hill tribe people.
The students were invited to reflect on their relationship with and impact on the environment and learned about the natural world, focusing specifically on mountains. One of the places we visited was a Hmong village in the mountains of Chiang Mai. There we discovered how traditional clothes are woven and experimented with a traditional child’s go cart as well as crossbow shooting. Our time at the Hmong village was very enlightening and allowed the children to observe how indigenous people live. We also learned about the agricultural project the village has and the crops they have been cultivating.
Our days were mixed with fun team building games and activities such as swimming and riding bikes. The students had the opportunity to visit a local fisherman as well as to to learn about the cycles of rice. From ploughing the field with buffalo to planting seeds and harvesting rice the students had fun and learned about the techniques and instruments that are required for such practices.
In groups we made our fire and cooked our lunch. Gathered around a communal tray of food we ate in traditional Thai style, sitting on the ground and with our hands! What an amazing moment that was. We also took part in a Khantok dinner followed by a performance of traditional Northern Thai war chanting with fire and dance.
We dived deep into nature in Doi Inthanon. At the Siriphum Waterfall we collected macro-invertebrates to investigate the water quality of Doi Inthanon which we then compared to our expectations of the Chao Phraya River. In groups, we hiked an amazing trail going through bridges, rives, forest, crops and waterfalls to get to the Karen Village. The Karen village was an unforgettable experience. Divided in small groups we spent the night in traditional Karen houses and had dinner with our hosts. The students were able to learn some words in the local language as well as some traditional Karen customs. What a wonderful night and fruitful experience. When sharing our stories we observed the contrasts between our life in the city and the lives of the Karen people.
The students also visited the Karen school and played games with local Karen students. It was a great exchange and opportunity to realize we can all have fun together even if we live in very different ways! Before heading back to Chiang Mai we stopped at the summit of Doi Inthanon, where we learned about forest adaptations and water sources.
One of our visits included The Royal Project site where we had a delicious lunch and visited the greenhouses, hydroponics and the gardens. What a beautiful place and amazing project! The children also had time to explore the night bazaar in Chiang Mai after dinner on the way down from Doi Inthanon. What a great experience and trip that was! We will miss you Year 6 and we hope to see you again next year!