By Vanisa Senesathith, Grade 11 Scholar, Dover Campus
I asked myself these questions about my Project Week trip when I returned from volunteering with Lihuk PACE project in the Philippines…
What is the purpose of Project Week?
Is it just a trip for us to earn more CAS hours?
From Singapore to the Philippines, what did I get from this trip?
It’s true to say that Project Week gave us an opportunity to gain more CAS credit, but for me it was also a week of learning experiences. Firstly, Project Week was a chance for me to open my mind and to step out of my small world. Visiting the kids’ houses in Cebu City was the most meaningful part of my trip. I was so surprised by where they live as I didn’t expect that; they live in a small but crowded place, and in spite of this, they are really happy with their lives. As a result, I have realized how lucky I am and I have learned to appreciate my life even more. Secondly, Project Week was the chance for me to grow in confidence and step out of my comfort zone. Speaking up was hard in Singapore, I used to think that I couldn’t really do that, but I could do it during Project Week and it was better than I thought.
Going back to the purpose of Project Week, is it a chance for us to make a difference in someone’s life through service? No, in my opinion, we didn’t really make a difference in the kids’ lives, we left them with memories, even left them with sadness perhaps. One week was too short to make a long-term change. Yet, I would like to go back and help more if I have the chance.
Even though, I didn’t make a difference in someone’s life during Project Week, I learnt a lot and I dare say that Project Week has made a difference in my life.
Project Week is a compulsory part of the Grade 11 High School learning programme. It is a unique opportunity for students to undertake low cost, independent travel beyond Singapore. Each project is planned and carried out in small groups. Students choose to work with Global Concern projects, a Social Service, learn a new creative skill, or complete a challenging Outdoor Education expedition in line with the IB’s seven Learning Outcomes.
Project Week has multiple learning objectives such as encouraging self-reliance, initiative and resourcefulness. It allows students to develop an awareness of the process and best practice protocols for organising safe travel whilst developing the skills to deal with basic First Aid situations, and related issues. An important element is structured reflection following the trip to maximize the learning and make connections with prior learning, which Vanisa’s article demonstrates.
Kate Lewis – Project Week Coordinator, Dover Campus