Each year we welcome over 2,500 students and staff from schools worldwide.
Cultural and Environmental trip to Thailand.
14 – 18 October 2018
At 0900, Barge staff met the Grade 11 students St Joseph’s Institute International, Singapore at Suvarnabhumi airport for the start of their Challenge week in Thailand! As part of the IB CAS program, the trip had been organised by the students themselves alongside the Barge team, aiming to explore Thai culture and history and engage with issues of global significance by engaging in a service project with an environmental focus. After a brief introduction we had a short journey to the manmade island of Ko Kret North West of Bangkok. Ko Kret is famous for its intricately decorated pottery originally made from clay gathered from the adjacent Chao Phraya riverbed. The students were able to learn the techniques that have been passed down the generations in the traditional ‘Mon’ style and even have a go themselves. After lunch at a local rice shop and a tour of the island we then climbed back aboard the buses and drove south to the mangroves of Bang Pu.
During their time in Bang Pu the students learned about the importance of the mangroves, the plight they are facing and the huge biodiversity of plants and wildlife found within this special ecosystem.
As part of their learning objectives the students needed to contribute to important environmental programs surrounding the mangroves. Together with the Thai Army they were able to plant 100 new mangrove trees as part of an ongoing mangrove restoration project. The group also helped create a new boardwalk for future visitors and undertook a litter pick in heavily littered areas. These activities were greatly appreciated by the Thai army who were genuinely impressed at how hard the students worked. Their actions should enable more visitors to enjoy the mangrove area.
The last part of their learning objectives was ‘Thai culture’. To meet this we travelled to central Bangkok and visited The Grand Palace and Wat Po, arguably two of the most important temples in Bangkok. The students were able to learn about the history of the temples and their role in both local and national culture. In addition to Temple visits, we watched the spectacular stage production ‘Siam Niramit’. The show takes the audience on a trip through different areas of Thailand and explains Thai history through Thai music, puppeteers, dancing, aerial acrobatics and water effects.
A Thai Cultural experience wouldn’t be complete without a lesson in Thai cooking. Koy from Sompong Thai Cooking School took us around the local food market and explained about the ingredients we would be using. Under her expert tuition the students prepared and cooked an amazing three-course Thai meal which generated very few left overs!
The students did extremely well in planning their trip, developing important skills in communication, organisation and self-management. Despite the challenges faced by the hot weather, persistent mosquitos and physical work, everybody had a great time over the five days and learned a lot about Thailand culture and environment, as well as about themselves.