Grade 10 students of Stamford American International School (SAIS) went to Cambodia in October as part of their Outdoor Education curriculum and Academic Field Studies Expeditions. THOMAS MARSHALL, the school’s Executive Director of Teaching & Learning, reflects on the many benefits of their adventure learning trip.
What did the week in Cambodia involve for SAIS students?
They immersed themselves in the culture and history of Battambang and Kampot, learning how Cambodians have emerged from conflict to rebuild their communities. They also engaged with a wide variety of organisations dedicated to recovery and development in Cambodia, from land mine detection to education and reforestation. There were opportunities to visit historical sites connected to the genocide and to hear from local experts about peacekeeping.
The outdoor and adventure learning trip also included biking tours through the countryside. They met local families engaged in small businesses and agriculture, planted mangrove saplings, visited local markets on a “scavenger hunt” to try out newly learned Khmer phrases, and worked with local artists to create personal works.
Then they visited a circus arts organisation to learn how local youth are creating positive, joyful responses to adversity through music and performance.
How do these activities connect with the Outdoor Education curriculum at SAIS?
The combination of these experiences will help students gain a deeper understanding of Cambodia and Khmer culture. It will also help them examine closely and reflect on how social inclusion, empowerment of communities and sustainable development could provide the country with the resiliency to regain its vigour after crises.
Students will gain new insights into classroom-based learning around war and conflict resolution, making personal connections with people who are making the world a better place.
About Stamford American International School’s Outdoor Education curriculum
The Outdoor Education curriculum and Academic Field Studies Expeditions at SAIS brings education to life through a learning programme that’s experiential and sequential. Integrated into the academic and pastoral curriculum across Grades 5 to 12, it includes clear grade-level learning objectives.
Year on year, outdoor and adventure learning experiences of this kind build on Stamford students’ skills and awareness. They deepen a sense of confidence and ability to persevere through challenge, as well as a connection to environment and culture.
Countries that students have the opportunity to visit include Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Nepal (Grade 12 only), as well as Singapore-based outdoor and community-based experiences, with trips ranging from five to seven days. During each trip, students experience academic and pastoral content in a real-world context. They also meet a wide variety of people from different cultures and walks of life. At the same time, students nurture their connection to nature, develop their agency and resilience, and become equipped with a wide range of skills. The programme also aims to enable students to form a deeper understanding of their place in Southeast Asia and the wider world.
This article first appeared in the Jan 2024 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe so you never miss a copy!
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