OELP Adventure Week 2018
The Outdoor Education and Leadership Program (OELP) that takes place in the Fall is known as ‘Adventure Week’. High School students recently completed their OELP trips for 2018-19.
Each student selects an experiential learning program of their choice, and will then spend time preparing for the week long trip off campus. This school year there were nine different choices. Some stayed in Hong Kong and some went as far away as New Zealand and Fiji, whilst most travelled to a community within a country in our Asian region.
Each program is designed with a community action project to enable students to learn from the experience of serving others, and to give back to the communities they support and learn from during the week. These service projects will often harness skills of collaboration and team work as students work together in groups to solve problems and serve others.
These experiential service learning weeks will also usually include time for students to explore historical sites and places of interest and to connect with the local community so as to hear their stories and to develop an appreciation for their way of life. Through building connections with the local community, students deepen their understanding of and appreciation for different cultural traditions and value systems.
Each trip tends to have a slightly different focus with many aiming to enhance student’s understanding of important global issues such as animal conservation, environmental protection, sustainable living or poverty and lack of educational opportunities in different parts of our region and world, whilst other trips focus more on overcoming physical challenges and developing team work and communication skills.
Much of this can be fun especially as students tend to deepen their friendships greatly through the Adventure Week experience. However, it can also be very challenging as students face some uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations and learn to live without constant access to their technology and without many of the luxury items we may take for granted in our privileged lives back at home!
Each year, teachers note the personal growth that students make as a result of overcoming challenges on “Adventure Week”, and this year’s program was no different! The feedback that follows, taken from students’ feedback of the 2018 program, supports the fact that they are not only having fun and developing friendships, but our students are also maturing in their roles as Global Citizens.
"OELP allowed me have have a fun experience with my friends and we learned a lot. I especially enjoyed learning about the culture and the people. I also enjoyed getting to know my friends a little bit more on this trip. OELP is also a chance for us to create many special memories."
"All of our community services were based on helping and facilitating the lives of others. Furthermore, through sightseeing wonderful corals, I myself was able to gain an appreciation for nature and really resolved to act more environmental friendly to preserve it. "
"We opened our eyes to what's happening in countries that aren't first world. Furthermore, there were so many cultural experiences in the trip, we had cultural lessons everyday in some sort of form. It was wonderful to see teachers outside of the classroom. We participated in a lot of fun stuff and had great bonding time. Overall, OELP was fun."
These types of learning experiences in which students develop holistically are one of the hallmarks of a good education. At AIS, we design learning experiences to be Social, Personal and Applied. The Adventure Week program certainly meets all three of these features, and continues to offer students with moments to highlight their school year and develop them in ways not easily achieved through the classroom alone.