Friday, 25 January 2013

Year 7 Trip – Madagui, Vietnam

Wow!! What a great afternoon!! We have all had tremendous fun on the water, building rafts and getting thoroughly soaked.
The students I witnessed zip-lining overcame their fears and many of them completed all 4 zip lines.

Today we went to Cat Tien National park. There were a variety of animal species such as bears, leopards, monkeys, crocodiles, etc. After that we went on an exhausting trek through the jungle of Cat Tien Forest. On the way, we collected many bugs of many different species. The highlight of that trek was the hotel stop in the middle where we could get soft drinks and rest.

After our lunch, we went to Ta Lai Primary and gave presentations about how we think HCMC will be in 15 years. We made new friends, and had fun trying to communicate with the children there. Then, for our last activity, we went to the Long House in Ta Lai. We cooked traditional Vietnamese food, planted seeds, and made dustbins out of bamboo. We did this to help the local people collect their trash and stop pollution.

Our final full day is here and it is turning out to be an excellent one. White Water rafting is always an exciting activity for the students and staff and today's trips down the river lived up to expectation.

The day ended with a lovely BBQ, an awards ceremony and some rather interesting karaoke from Viet Adventure and BIS staff. The students then did some very impressive dancing to Gangnam Style (of course).

Year 8 Trip – Dalat, Vietnam

This is my first ever school trip and it was great. I’ve tried things that I’ve never tried before, like raft building, camping, trekking and abseiling. I was scared at first, especially when we were abseiling. It was really high and I was nervous, but I made it and I can’t describe how happy I was! This is a great trip for it has given me so much experience. - Tue Minh Nguyen

My favourite moment so far has been roasting marshmallows over a warm bonfire till they had a crispy skin and were gooey inside. It was truly delectable, especially after the hardships of physical exercise. The highlight of the trip! - Emily Widjaja

From my point of view, I think that my favourite thing in Dalat is the scenery. Despite foot aches and heavy packs, the scenery was still breathtaking. - Thanh Tran

Year 9 Trip – Hanoi & Sapa , Vietnam

The last two days have been nothing but pure excitement and laughter for Year 9. Driven with adrenaline for adventure, 86 students set off at the break of dawn (honestly, the sun wasn't even up yet) to set off for the trip.

Wednesday Blog by Alexine Yap
After having the Amazing Race, we helped in giving out food and hot chocolate to the children in the elementary school. Several of my other fellow year Nines also helped in giving out blankets, toys, slippers, and shoes to the children. I felt content with what he have done in that school. Seeing the warm smiles of the children as they received their gifts with such innocent, unabashed happiness beat the frigid weather and made all of us happy inside.
Many of us had already been to the country's capital city before, yet only a small percentage of us actually visited or appreciated the landmarks of Hanoi. The visit to the Temple of Literature provided us with a brief knowledge of the city's history of education, a fascinating change to the world history we study in class. Although our next destination to the infamous Hoa Lo prison set a gloomy and slightly eerie atmosphere over us students (and put a slight damper on my happy-go-lucky mood), the experience had definitely opened our eyes for the intricate past of the hardest times of this nation.

Thursday Blog by Haeon Yoon
Yesterday was our last day in Sapa. As disappointed as we were of leaving the scenery of the mountains; we had a longer day ahead of us. We started with the team building games; despite the fact that we had to cooperate it consisted mostly of shouting at each other to move faster, to put our heads down and occasional congratulations. I personally found the activity where we had to crawl underneath a net of strings the best out of the three games we took part in. As difficult as it was to turn into a centipede and crawl, we came into the point where we realised the statement: Slow and steady wins the race was indeed true. The prize of the best human worm was crowned to Joowon as she literally turned into a worm and crawled her way through the net. Although the pink team flourished themselves with a prize, we chose to remain cool since we won the amazing race that took place in the previous day.
After lunch, our 10km trek down the road commenced, inspite of the fact that the weight of our bodies all focused on our toes for a long time, we got to take a break from the buses (the travel sickness) and enjoy the scenery of the beautiful Sapa. The highlight was the moment where I accidentally got my shoe stuck and lost in the mud. As disgusting and horrible it was to get my sock and foot soaked in the mud, because of this, the river felt like heaven.
When it finally came to the point where we had to get on the trains, I prepared myself for a bunch of       stories and gossips in the cabin!

Year 10 Trip – Taman Negara, Malaysia

Who doesn't hanker after an adventure to escape the metropolis and the reality of school life? Well, this year's Year 10 students are certainly having the time of their lives in the Malaysian jungle.
Rafting through the murky water was a once in a lifetime experience; especially as it was with close friends. All students built up their camaraderie and trust towards each other through cooperating in  moving the raft faster and faster down the river. We all subsequently developed our leadership and   teamwork skills. We left the water feeling exhilarated and proud of the fact that we pushed ourselves to the most of our capabilities.
A canopy of death, as Ruchi describes it, was our first obstacle of the day. The boat ride and strangely   perspiring walk up to the canopy walk area seemed easy as pie when compared to the trepidation and exhilaration that the canopy walk itself offered. As cheerful as always, the guide merely pointed out that 'this was a great chance to face our fears', though this seemed like a weak attempt to cheer up the more scared members of our groups. Once we were on the canopy walk, the initial fears and vertigo melted away into the beautiful scenes of the jungle. (Though we didn't see much wildlife, only insects, to the delight of the female members of our groups.)
When we arrived in a local people's village, we were lucky enough to truly experience the culture of a  native tribe's life in Malaysia. After a brief explanation of some of the customs and traditions the people are part of, such as how they bury their dead, and why the tribes are nomadic, we got to fully immerse ourselves in their ways of life, specifically using their hunting weapons, the 'silent M16' blow darts. After seeing how they were made, we were able to try it out for ourselves on a teddy bear, exposing Paul as a highly skilled assassin, with a perfect headshot.

Year 12 Trip - Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Wednesday Blog by Fiona and Bam
We continued digging up the trench today, which was physically challenging and mentally frustrating,  especially since all our muscles were sore from yesterday. 2 litres of sun block were used. There weren't any clouds blocking the sun so full sunlight was blazing on at our backs throughout the whole day. Today was way hotter than yesterday, 10 litres of sweat was produced and this has made the whole process a lot more irritating and difficult.
The art picture mural on the wall of the library looks great. We just need to add the final touches which is to put on our finger prints and names which we will do tomorrow because the paint is still wet.
Wednesday Blog by Tinh Van and Hieu
Once again we were put to the ultimate physically enduring test, for most of us our first physical test in a long while. There were two achievements today: the mural and the ditch.
The first: the ditch.
We woke up with the weariness that lingered on from last night. Our fingers hurt. Our backs hurt. Our shoulders hurt. But we were all determined to leave a mark that would be the signature of our stay here. Today was hotter than yesterday. The sun came out sooner and our shirts were soaked after only two shifts. Because of the excruciating heat, our half hour shifts change from a 5-to-1 ratio of work to rest to a 1-to-1. We did not achieve the goal we determined at the start of the day, but we did manage to shift two thousand kilograms of soil. Although this may be a trivial accomplishment to the completion of the PICC, the next people to come would have had two thousand kilograms of soil moved for them. And that, for us, is something worth knowing.
The second: the mural.
Everyone had their own designs for the wall. But somehow Ben 10, the mermaid, the unicorn, the Thai pirate ship, the island with pencils as coconut trees and the bean stalk work together. For us, it is a library of imagination, an accumulation of fantasies that would live and relive themselves every time they visit the library. The paint will dry, the spillages on the floor will wear away, but our mark will remain.
Digging was tiring. Painting was tiring. Ice did not come until lunch. The sun was boiling hot. But we feel happy by the end of the day. We've left our mark. They were not perfect, but that is what we've come to do. And that is what we will leave behind. And that will be the signature of our stay.

Year 12 Trip - Chiang Mai, Thailand

Flying without wings

Having completed their data collection yesterday morning the students were looking forward to the `fun` part of the trip. Wednesday evening saw the students honing their culinary skills at the Baan Thai cooking school. (Official photos will be available on the cookery school website

Mr Gillmore impressed us all with his spring rolls and Mr Willis` green curry was OK. Some of the students also tested their resilience by attempting to eat hot chillies, raw (not to be recommended).

This morning we were all up early again to get into the rainforest for Flight of the Gibbon. A lot of the students (and Mrs Dolan) had to overcome their fear of heights to take part in this exciting zip wire course, which included the world`s longest zip line in a rainforest! All in all it was a great experience, and we were even lucky enough to see some gibbons!

The students are now taking part in the Chiang Mai Amazing Race - a n exciting team competition involving various challenges and questions.

On Monday we set out at 7am and were at the first data collection site by 9:30. The students took a little while to get used to the data collection equipment and the coldness of the water but managed to get the first site completed in just over an hour. They became more efficient as the day wore on and by the last site they were in and out in 45 minutes. We arrived back at the hotel at 6:30pm which left just enough time for the students to have a shower (and wash off the day's accumulated river dirt) before heading into Chiang Mai for dinner.

Tuesday followed a similar pattern although our first site was close to the Myanmar (Burma) border so it took us slightly over 2 hours to get there. The rest of the day went smoothly and the students were becoming experts at the data collection process. We had a good buffet lunch at the Royal Ping Resort and were back in the hotel by 7pm before heading in to the night bazaar for dinner.

This afternoon we have a chance to hone our culinary skills with a Thai cooking course, then it's up early tomorrow for Flight of the Gibbon!

Mr Ben Hough

Year 12 Trip - Kontum, Vietnam

The second group first visited a small orphanage in the countryside, teeming with wide-eyed, ecstatic children who couldn't wait for the activities we had planned. Some excelled in painting, others were drawn immediately to physical challenges such as football and the game 'Statues'. There were also musical performances, courtesy of a talented group of students, and many learned how to play the ukulele. The second orphanage was brimming with youthful smiles and artistic hands, glitter at the ready. Ngoai, one of the shining stars of the dancing team, led many of the students in a dance marathon, consisting of popular songs such as Gangnam style and other traditional and obscure dances. All of the children left us with heartfelt souvenirs and gifts which ranged from handmade bracelets to beautiful    artwork. 

Overall, there was not a dry eye on the buses home. It's fair to say that they've all touched us in unimaginable ways.

The other group visited Vinh Son 2, where they were greeted with wide grins and children jumping up and down. They went straight for the paints, the hula hoops and the skipping ropes. It was a beautiful, adorable mess of paint, glitter and crayons! Let's just say, everyone will have a hard time washing glitter out of their hair. The BIS students were fortunate enough to meet with some amazing artists: Lyly was among one of the blooming Picassos of our visit. After that, everybody gathered behind the school in a small auditorium, where music was made into memories. There was chanting, cheering, hooting, shouting, dancing, guitar-strumming and most definitely laughing. As the students gathered into a circle around Trang, the singing conductor of their little voices, it was then that we felt like a whole.  

It's safe to say, we'll never forget these little angels.

Alas, our trip has met its end. As the Kontum team prepares for breakfast, luggage in hands, we are in a strange mix of emotions: blissful yet wistful, weary yet content. Our journey has been fantastic, and we don't exaggerate when we say it will stay in the back of our minds forever. From long, arduous treks to skipping rope with the children at Vinh Son, from dust and mud through to glitter and paint, we students have loved every moment. At the start, we were merely acquaintances, expecting a week's worth of work; now, we are a family, looking back only with fond memories of a trip's worth of fun. As much fun as it was, however, this week was undoubtedly challenging. But the challenges were ridden out together. And we couldn't have asked for more.

We'll miss every little bit of Kontum, our final destination as BIS students.

The K Team

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Trips Week

“Bon voyage” to all our students and teachers who are embarking on trips next week, and “bonne chance” to those staying behind for examinations.

 During Trips Week, the students will keep in touch by posting updates on the trip blogs.  Do bookmark these and visit daily to keep track of what is happening.

IN EMERGECNIES ONLY, CALL 0909 026 547.  This will be monitored 24/7 by Mr. Rad Lowry in HCMC.

Year 12 Geography Field Trip, Chiang Mai:

Richard Dyer
Head Teacher

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

From The Head Teacher

Welcome to the new term

Welcome to the new term at BIS.  I would like to extend a particularly warm welcome to the new families joining us this term.  I do hope that you have started to settle well and that some of you managed to attend the PTG Welcome Coffee Morning organised by Clare Nevin and the Parent-Teacher Group.  A second chance to meet parents and maybe some teachers comes up next week, with the PTG Wine & Cheese evening.  You should have received an invitation by email already and the details are repeated here in BISbuzz.

Cambridge Outstanding Learner Awards


Good luck to those students embarking on mock examinations.

Websites of the week - a selection of enlightening sites from recent weeks

Cybersafekids – Robyn Treyvaud, next week’s trainer’s site

Kinder children are more popular

A series of hard-hitting government adverts featuring people smoking cigarettes with a tumour bulging from them is being launched in England.

A comprehensive collection of revision activities for GCSE

Richard Dyer
Head Teacher