“In Yokohama they couldn’t trek through the jungle, snorkel off coral reefs, or work with children in a Burmese labour camp.”
I’m sitting in the gazebo behind the BISP sports hall talking with Dennis Stanworth, Head of Academics at Yokohama International School (YIS), about their recent ‘Field Studies Week to Phuket’, which ran from 19 to 24 October.
“Two years ago we developed our Global Citizen Diploma to help establish a model of community and global perspective,” says Mr Stanworth. “Although it consists of three core and eight extended elements, it’s not about numbers – rather personal achievements, passions and goals.”
At YIS, as he explains to me, for one week every year, all students from Grade 6 through 11 will undergo a field experience – either in Japan or elsewhere,
“We take students outside of their comfort zones by finding unique opportunities – such as bringing them to Phuket.” The ‘Field Studies Week to Phuket’ involved 29 students from Grade 9 (equivalent to Year 10 at BISP), with three chaperones, led by Mr Stanworth.
Organised by Mr Patrick du Preez, who also runs BISP’s popular Summer Camps, the YIS students ate in the refectory, took the school buses, and stayed in the boarding houses.
“The Yokohama International School field trip to BISP has grown over the last three years, and Pat du Preez has done an excellent job putting together a varied itinerary,” says Mr Stanworth, who reveals there is actually another strong connection between BISP and YIS.
“I’ve been at Yokahama International School for 35 years, and was [BISP Headmaster] Neil Richards High School Principal when he was the Headmaster in Yokohama. We worked very closely together, and Mr Richards was always coming up with new ideas.”
Back to the Field Studies Week, Mr Stanworth continues: “The nature of this trip is truly remarkable. The kids are on the go all of the time, with downtime spent curating their experiences on their own blogs – with parents at home avidly following what’s going on.
“These students often have no idea of how to paint a wall or brush the floor. Doing exactly these things – and more – while in Phuket gives them an opportunity to later reflect on their experiences and think ‘wow’.
“It helps creates a culture that is not all about receiving but also about giving. Ultimately it’s all about personal reflection, sustaining commitment, and having an experience that will be indelibly marked on their minds.”
To find out how your school can hold a camp or other activity at British International School, Phuket, contact contact Ann Prasittipornkul: [email protected]