On Sunday 12th January 2020, Year 10 students embarked on their residential to Chiang Rai. This was a journey where we relied on our strength, resilience, friends and teachers to guide us through a challenging week!
The journey began with every Year 10 student meeting at school…on a Sunday of all days! As the buses departed from to the airport, we blasted music out loud to set the mood for the exhilarating adventure ahead (though I think the music was less popular with the teachers!). After a short flight and a long (and much more peaceful) drive to Maekok resort, we were briefed on the rules, regulations and the expectations for the coming days, before going to our sleeping quarters for some much-needed rest and ensure that we were refreshed and alert for the coming week’s activities.
One of my favourite activities was the ‘nightline’. The objective was to successfully navigate our way through the forest blindfolded in a line. It was difficult at first as many people kept screaming, shouting, tripping over and letting each other go. In the end, however, we all successfully navigated our way through the maze. This experience taught us the importance of communication and that to be successful, we needed to trust each other. I found that this made us closer to the people in our year group that we may have not known that well before.
Another activity that many of us enjoyed was the confidence course. Watching each other fall into water (with fish swimming below) was extremely entertaining for the students and the teachers. It was an activity that tested our strength, balance, resilience, and how much we didn’t want to get wet!
The quest that would put our mind and body to the test the most was still to come. This tough and unforgiving trek, -part of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award (DoEIA) Bronze programme - will never be forgotten. The journey through the Chiang Rai terrain pushed everyone to their limits, and yet, people kept smiling throughout. Most importantly, we stuck together allowing us to complete our trek with our heads held high! After a day-and-a-half of hard graft, many of us felt like our limbs would fall off!
If the trek was the most gruelling, perhaps the most rewarding activity was the English teaching lessons we gave to children of the local schools in Chiang Rai. Before leaving for the residential, we prepared a 20-minute lesson either in pairs or groups of three. Everyone really enjoyed teaching the students as they thrived off the competitions and fun games that we had prepared. We did all of this while our teachers sat back and watched potential future teachers in the making! We felt lucky to be able to give something back to a community of children who have not had the same opportunities that we have at Shrewsbury.
From a personal perspective, I thoroughly enjoyed how people became closer during the annual residential. Students in different friendship groups mixed with ease had lots of fun together outside the school environment. During this awesome week, we all learnt something important. If we can work together, we can achieve anything we set our minds to.