The UWCSEA Outdoor Education programme in Primary School is designed to take students into the unfamiliar and present them with age-appropriate challenges which require them to assimilate and adapt. In Grade 4, students spend 4 days and 3 nights on Pulau Sibu, Malaysia. Students are given opportunities for personal and social development that are impossible to replicate in a classroom, and they are challenged to reveal their willingness to take risks, to show compassion to others, to demonstrate initiative and enterprise, skill and care, teamwork and leadership. Grade 4 student, Amae, shares her experience in Sibu with her classmates.
This year, Grade 4 headed to Sibu to stay for 4 days, 3 nights in September. I think this was a very good learning experience for me because it taught me how to be independent, efficient, creative and collaborative in a memorable and meaningful way. Indeed, in this Sibu trip, I have experienced things I would have never experienced in Singapore.
The camp counsellors in Sibu prepared many fun activities for us such as snorkeling, shelter building, and beach cleanup. It was amazing that these activities were not only fun, they also taught me a lot of new knowledge that I could keep in my mind forever.
Among all the activities, I particularly enjoyed visiting the children at the kampong school. Those children were so happy to see us, and just knowing I filled their buckets up made me smile when I remember their happy faces. The one-hour walk to the kampong school made me think of the people in the world who have to walk that long every day just to get water to drink. This small trip inspired me to be nicer to the environment and to help the most unfortunate people in need.
Sibu is meant to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and this is something not everyone has the courage to do. When I first entered my cabin, I was initially a bit nervous. As the days went by, I got used to it, and I started to feel braver. In the past, I could not fall asleep unless it's my own bed. When I slept in Sibu I learned that sometimes in life you have to appreciate things the way they are, and you have to deal with new things. I found that by just closing my eyes and resting, I would find myself in that same old dreamy world… Nothing to worry about, huh?
Now, let's tackle aircon. Aircon is something many of us take for granted in Singapore, yet Sibu cabins did not have aircon. The cabins in Sea Gypsy were super eco-friendly as they were all made of wood. This taught me how important it was to be nice to our earth. Aircon was not necessary for Sibu, as there were big wooden fans on the ceiling. The wind and the waves lapping were cooling enough, and I was rocked to sleep by nature's lullaby…
Many people worried about the mosquitoes in Sibu. OK, I agreed. There were pretty nasty wild sandflies and insects in Malaysia. But Sibu was rather safe when it came to mosquitoes and flies. Every day in the morning, afternoon and evening the camp counsellors sprayed us with the most suitable sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and sandfly repellent. I only got a few bites at the end of the trip - much better than I expected before I went!
Now when I look back and reflect on the trip, I feel I have become a much more mature and experienced person. So, for those of you yet to go, don't worry! You will have the best of fun and you will learn so much!