Day 1: Tuesday 11/10/2016
A sea of green hoodies flowed from BIS as the year 10s and 11s boarded the airport bound coaches this morning. A few hours and a short fight later and we arrived in Dalat. From the airport we were taken to a viewing point from which we looked out over the picturesque Dalat rooftops, cloaked in a veil of atmospheric cloud. This was followed by a gondola ride that afforded further spectacular views, but left a few students with their stomachs in their mouths. A visit to the Nam Qua pagoda allowed an opportunity to have some time to reflect before boarding a fleet of boats to the campsite where we are looking forward to a night under canvas! Day 1 almost complete and we're looking forward to a day of adrenaline fuelled activity tomorrow.
Day 2: Wednesday 12/10/2016
Hanoi seemed a long way away, as we woke up this morning in fresh Dalatian air in our campsite with its stunning back drop of Tuyen Lam lake. The group split into 2 today with half of the students tackling the high ropes activities, while the other half did a combination of trekking and abseiling. The guides and staff have been impressed by the courage shown by our students with a number of individuals tackling their vertigo and conquering tasks which they initially thought would be too daunting. It has been a pleasure to watch the students grow in confidence whilst creating memories that will last long beyond their time here in Dalat. As well as creating memories, it is lovely to see new friendships developing as existing friendships are fostered. We are looking forward to raft building this afternoon and more great activities tomorrow.
The afternoon of day 2 saw students working in groups to build a seaworthy vessel that would support the mass of 3 members of their team. The rafts that were assembled would probably be most generously described as 'imaginative', and despite overhearing some students talking through the physics of buoyancy, when they took to the water, a lot of sailor's knots were found wanting and the majority of students found themselves making more of an acquaintance with the water than they had anticipated. Keen to show them how it was done, a staff team took to the water, but before long, they had also capsized and were left sheepishly though amusedly bobbing in the water. It should be mentioned that there were some real successes and it turns out that a triangular raft is not as ridiculous as it might seem. Students again showed great teamwork and fantastic senses of humour and thoroughly enjoyed the activity. We rounded of the evening with another hearty meal followed by marshmallows around the campfire. We are all looking forward to a day of action today, but also the prospect of a hot shower!
Day 3: Thursday 13/10/2016
Having heard plenty about it from previous cohorts at BIS, it was good to at last set eyes upon the famous 'leap of faith' - a metal trapeze bar suspended, a short but adrenaline rich leap away from a 10m high platform. Again, students showed great courage as they leapt into the unknown - each leap a success in itself, though not all resulted in students holding onto the elusive and prized metal bar. Students also showed their resilient character on the monkey bridge and zip line whilst also using their problem solving and teamwork skills to solve a group challenge. The other half of the group have been trekking and abseiling and we are looking forward to meeting in the resort this afternoon.
This update comes from the Dalat market, an addition to the itinerary, where students are currently completing a scavenger hunt. As ever they are showing their initiative in bargaining with the shopkeepers and thinking creatively to solve problems whilst interacting with the locals. Students are continuing to show great energy, despite a busy 4 days. Last night saw students competing in a fantastically well spirited talent show, and where talent was perhaps sometimes not so evident, enthusiasm certainly was. Acts ranged from singing, to magic to dancing - with the winning act being a big group dance act to the sound of 'Sunny' which was much enjoyed by students and judges alike. I am looking forward to saying a huge thanks to the PTV instructors at our early lunch in a few hours as they've looked after the students' wellbeing superbly, and then we start the homeward journey back to Hanoi.
Day 4: Friday 14/10/2016
Activities done. Prize ceremony done. Staff and instructor thank yous done. Stomach's full. It has been a triumphant 4 days in which I truly believe the students have grown a huge amount. As we head to Dalat airport (through pouring rain that has mercifully evaded us thus far) it seems a different bunch of individuals to those that we transported in the opposite direction only a few days ago. I wish them all a very happy half term break next week. We hope to be back at school at 6, so we look forward to a prompt pick up by parents - you'll enjoy hearing their tales...
Edward Westropp, Head of Years 10-11