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Benefits of Expeditions BIS HCMC

6 benefits of residential expeditions

"Adventurous experiences out-of-doors are perceived to kindle the enthusiasm of the young, to develop their concern for others, for their community and for the environment. Such experiences provide the means of self-discovery, self-expression and enjoyment which are at once both stimulating and fulfilling." - Lord Hunt of Llanfair, Waterdine, KC, CBE, DSO

School expeditions are designed to broaden students’ perspective and expose them to different cultures, people and ideas. Experts agree that inspirational learning sometimes requires time spent outside the classroom. Through our comprehensive expedition programme here at the British International School, Ho Chi Minh City, we offer unique experiences and activities that reach far beyond everyday learning.

Whether your child’s passion lies in skiing through the Swiss Alps, discovering new marine life in The Philippines or teaching English to orphaned children in Kon Tum, we provide your child with positive opportunities and unforgettable experiences.

Here’s a list of our top 6 benefits of international school expeditions:

1. Build “soft skills” essential for future success

Our role as an international school is to prepare our students for their future in the real world; equipping them with the soft skills necessary to make a profound difference. Although a high score on the IB Diploma will stand students in good stead at university, they can no longer rely on strong academic results alone.

In this recent Forbes article, experts talk about how soft skills such as empathy, curiosity and resilience are more important than ever to succeed in an increasingly competitive job market.

Although soft skills can be taught in a classroom setting, they are often best learned through new experiences. Each of our expeditions allows students to develop social, emotional and leadership skills relevant to real-life non-academic environments.

A group of our Year 12 students recently went on a service and adventure expedition, visiting orphanages in Kon Tum. Khoa, a participating student explained, “On this trip, I discovered my leadership skills. Being the one who organises games for the kids was an amazing experience for me as a leader. This was my biggest personal achievement as I think it will help me throughout life.”

Benefits of Expeditions | BIS HCMC

2. Reinforce material taught in the classroom

Residential expeditions at BIS form part of our diverse co-curricular programme. This means they are directly integrated into the curriculum rather than “added-on”. We ensure that the programme of residential expeditions show progression and provide continuity with classroom learning so that students are able to grasp theoretical concepts, better understand topics and retain information by learning from real-world scenarios.

A prime example is the Year 10 residential expedition to Con Dao. Here, students engage in conservation projects through the island’s turtle sanctuary learning about the environmental importance of coral reefs and mangroves. One Year 10 student Chloe describes how this experience supported her classroom learning, “Being able to learn about coral and fish is one thing, but to be able to see what you’ve learned in real life with your own eyes is another. I love Science and I hope to take Biology for my IB Diploma so learning about the coral reefs and the different species of fish, trees, turtles and spiders was really interesting. During the trek we got to see so much wildlife around us that we had studied in class. It made me feel like the knowledge I had learned was coming alive around me.”

Benefits of Expeditions | BIS HCMC

3. Build positive relationships with peers and teachers

During residential expeditions students spend valuable time with their peers and teachers. This encourages students to interact with new people, build friendships and develop their communication and team building skills.

Ms Lauren Binnington, Assistant Head Teacher at BIS Secondary details the changes we tend to see when students return to school,

“When students return from expeditions, there’s always a sense of bonding, a sense of togetherness. Expeditions are a turning point for most year groups. For Year 7, it’s the first time they’ve gone away as an entire year group. They’re new to the school so it really cements their relationships with each other and their form tutors. As Year 7 learn within form classes, you do see an obvious shift in their approach to each other on a day-to-day basis.”

Benefits of Expeditions | BIS HCMC

4. Develop new-found confidence

Placing students outside their comfort zone, in an environment unfamiliar to them allows them to grow in confidence by realising their full potential.

This increase in self-confidence is perhaps the biggest change we see within our students following an expedition, Ms Binnington explains, “students you would normally consider quiet are suddenly chatting to you in the corridor. They’re enthused about their experiences, engaged and asking you questions. It’s the passion and confidence you spark in them that really makes these expeditions worthwhile.”

Iris who went on the Year 7 trip to Madagui said she felt anxious and nervous before she left, for fear of feeling homesick. On her return however, her mind-set altered, “The biggest thing I learnt was that even without home, I could feel brave and I could speak up for myself and even have comfort in a completely new area. I realised that even if you don’t want to, you CAN, it just takes courage and a big leap.”

Benefits of School Trips | BIS HCMC

5. Broaden students’ interests

Our residential expeditions are a chance for students to experience something out of the ordinary and explore new interests.

A unique element of the residential expeditions here at BIS is that students from Year 10 and 12 are able to choose an expedition pathway that is personally challenging and linked to the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) model embedded in the IB philosophy.

Year 10 students can choose from:

  • Cycling from Dalat to Mui Ne
  • Skiing in Switzerland
  • Environmental conservation in Con Dao
  • Community service-based activities in Cambodia

Year 12 students can choose from:

  • Diving in The Philippines
  • Delving into global issues in Chiang Rai
  • Service and adventure activities in KonTum
  • Caving in Tu Lan
  • International Award to Bidoup

This choice of experiential learning develops and broadens students’ interests and perspectives on the world as it creates exposure to alternative experiences.

Soo Min who also took part in the Con Dao conservation expedition said, “I have learnt many things about myself during the trip but mainly I have realised that I have much more of an interest in the ecosystem than I thought I would. When we were cleaning up the beach, I felt the urge to eliminate plastic usage from my daily activities and spread awareness so we could reduce further destruction to our environment.”

Benefits of expeditions BIS HCMC

6. Develop respect for different cultures

Our expeditions, alongside our embedded community service programme enables students to engage with the wider world by exposing them to different environments, people and cultures. These experiences help students develop into responsible global citizens, respectful of diversity. This is particularly evident with our service learning-based expeditions such as Cambodia where students join a local village community and engage in service projects to help those living there.

Year 10 student Mel explains more, “I really liked spending time with the kids because seeing them smile as I taught them English felt very rewarding. Playing sport in the "football pitch" made me realise how happy they were even though they didn't have a lot to play with, I feel as though it made me appreciate everything I had more than I did before. This was the best trip so far and I hope that BIS can continue giving future Year 10s the opportunities to do something so rewarding.”

Minh who is in his last year of school here at BIS recently spoke to our lower secondary students about the importance of embracing these opportunities, “If you’re sitting there thinking ‘I don’t want to go on the trip because I haven’t got wifi or social media’ you’ll get to my age and you’ll think ‘that’s just silly’. I went to Kon Tum in Year 12, I played with the kids from the orphanage there and I can honestly say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Yr 9 Trip

Expeditions

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