Last week, on Thursday morning, we arrived at Tan Son Nhat airport, eager to begin our journey to Shanghai for the FOBISIA Secondary Maths Competition. After some tense moments due to a massive queue at immigration, we finally boarded our flight. 5 hours later, we arrived in overcast, freezing Shanghai. Upon arrival, we were greeted by representatives from the British International School of Shanghai (BISS) and went straight to the school, a sprawling, ultra-modern campus. We had a great time there, meeting the other teams and participating in a variety of friendly activities. After the opening ceremony, we checked into our hotel. We settled in and went off to bed, eager to confront the challenges awaiting us.
We awoke to much clearer skies than the previous day. After getting ready at an unearthly hour, we left for breakfast, a lavish buffet spread consisting of eggs, noodles, pastries and other delicious things too numerous to mention. Stuffed, we proceeded to leave for BISS. First order of the day - having our photos taken. Clad in only wafer-thin t-shirts, we were lined up outside, shivering in the chilly morning air as the photographer clicked away. Then the events commenced. We faced a barrage of challenges, one after the other, some individual and some team. We were even tested in an online individual round. Both BIS teams especially enjoyed the tower of Hanoi, where we had to move colored bricks one at a time from tower to tower to create a series of patterns. We also had a fun team quiz consisting of word problems and maths trivia. BISS treated us to a great school lunch and a delicious barbeque dinner. At sunset, we left for a much-awaited excursion to the centre of the city. We went on a scenic boat trip through the Bund, an area littered with dazzling high-rises and skyscrapers. When we returned, our heads were still buzzing with numbers and formulas and we were ready for a good night's sleep!
Day 2 - Knowing that this was our last day competing, we were eager to give it our best shot. We awoke fresh from yesterday’s experiences and were treated to the same opulent breakfast. We then made our way to BISS. The activities on Day 2 were all team challenges and included Tangrams, an “Open the box” round - where you had to crack open a safe and complete the challenges inside, a trigonometry challenge which took us all around the school and a very fun construction activity (which even the teachers took part in). We were then led into the auditorium for the award ceremony. We are proud to say that BIS Team 1 won the “Open the box” challenge. All of us received medals and certificates for participating. We then returned to the hotel for a sumptuous gala dinner, in which we were treated to a delightful magic show put on by the senior students of BISS and got to participate in some more math-related challenges. We got back to our hotel, full of happy memories of the great experiences and new friendships of the past couple of days and ready to return to good old Saigon the following day.