HOPE for the children in Cambodia

Despite the economic growth and improvement of Cambodia during the past few decades, many still live in poverty, receiving only $0.45/day. In the present day where education is valued and believed to strive future success, they are not yet available for everyone. Families in Cambodia still struggle to provide education for their children. With HOPE’s partnership with YIS, our goal is to provide educational opportunities for these children for a brighter and sustainable future.

As part of the HOPE group, a student-based project made in 2007, the YIS HOPE group has supported 10 schools in Pursat, Cambodia where constructions have been done in different villages. In most cases, students perform additional constructions for existing elementary buildings. As the school construction project has been going around for nearly nine years, the relationship between the YIS committee and HOPE has impacted over 1,700 children. The requirements of this project are that each year, a core group of 11th graders engages in fundraising and school-wide awareness-raising activities to help fund the construction of a school.

What you can do to help us continue this project and support the children receive the education they need is donate here to makes this happen!

Other ways you can help is to share this blog post or link above and share our story with a wider community!

GCD: Personal Goal (Personal Project)

As my first year in the IB and my younger sister in her last year of MYP, she is currently working on her personal project. This had made me think about my own experience with the PP and the processes that I achieved my personal goal.

Meaningful goal 

My goal for the personal project was to inform people about the value of sleep. The purpose of my goal was to remind people the important role that sleep has towards our lives by producing a short documentary on sleep deprivation as a final product. The reason I chose this topic was my personal experience with sleep deprivation. During my experience, I have noticed that I was often more irritable and moody as well as excessively tired during the day. This has affected my relationship with my surroundings and had affected my school life as well because of extreme fatigue and drowsiness. I have achieved this by creating a short documentary, introducing the causes and effects of sleep deprivation and provide solutions that are practical and achievable at the end of the video.


Once I have figured out my goal, I had to think about how I wanted to achieve that goal. Since I decided that I wanted to create a documentary video for the product, I implemented skills that were relevant for creating the product using a success criterion:

Criteria one:
In order to inform the value of sleep, having an organized structure and form of information was important for the audience to understand and follow through.

Criteria two: Use of information was one of the most important parts of both the research and the product. This was decided by whether or not it was relatable to the global context and goal of the project. However, it was also important to have background knowledge as well to understand further information in regards to the topic.     

Criteria three: 
By applying cinematic elements and additional movie editing techniques helped to show the value of sleep in a visually engaging way. Reading a website on different film shots helped me determine this. (Wiliam, Sydney Australia.) Audience engagement is key to having people think about their sleep and take action.

Criterion four: The audience is an important part of achieving the goal for the topic. With a variety of information and the level of complexity, the audience was focused towards teenagers/adolescents and adults. However, informing younger children to avoid being sleep deprived in the earlier years help reduce the impact.   

Taking action

As part of the project, I had collected data through sending a sleep survey for high school students and teachers on the school bulletin. As a result, I was able to find personal effects that sleep deprivation had on different people and base a conclusion out of it which was that sleep is reduced as people become older. Throughout the project, I was able to interview different people. This helped me with my communication and social skills. From experts to students at YIS, I was able to collect primary sources and not rely on the internet all the time.

Script-writing was the most time-consuming part of the project as it was the very base of achieving the documentary video. Due to poor time-management, I was both writing and editing the script whilst creating the product. Therefore, most of the times I had to work on my flexibility and stay motivated to work on different tasks simultaneously. On the contrary, I was able to transfer research and gather information into a clear script which allowed me to organize a large amount of information. This helped me see what was relevant and irrelevant depending on my goal since I had converted background research on sleep itself, I felt that I did not have to include much of it later. Instead, I have only included the part of the internal biological clock and circadian rhythms as I thought that it would have a smoother transition when I explained how sleeping-in affected a person’s sleeping schedule.

Reflecting on the process

I think the main challenge that I faced was self-management and organization. Although I should have been done in the first week back from break, the fact that I was still researching, interviewing, animating and editing had challenged greatly on my patience and emotional-management. More of my time was focused on getting the product done instead of thinking of ways to distribute it. Another challenge besides the editing of the video was shared materials such as the camera stand and the mic as there were a limited resources. I had to communicate and negotiate who was using the material at which time and what day of the week. This influenced the video quality as for one of the interviews, I did not have a mic for the camera and the interviewee’s voice was muffled. Therefore, I had to conduct the interview again but this time, I did not have a camera stand and so the video was shakier. Luckily, there was a stabilizer option on iMovie which had helped immensely because it had lessened the shakiness beforehand. Although it did not look as natural, I had to be open-minded and accept it because it was still something that was better than before.

As a result of both challenges and success during the process, I can say that I have grown exceptionally as a person and a learner. Through the obstacles that I faced, I was able to discover my weaknesses and what sort of things I found struggling such as organizing and managing my time for an overwhelming amount of work.  

Q&A Nurse Angelica- “I only wanted what was best for her”

This week’s trending topic: The spreading gossips on Romeo and Juliet still make many of us wonder today on what really happened to Verona’s hottest couple? We finally got Nurse Angelica;  to reveal Verona’s buried secrets and fill us up with the truth under the tragic incident.

Nurse Angelica Capulet finally reveals the truth behind Verona’s tragic incident

Thank you so much for coming here with us today. We’re very sorry for your loss and greatly appreciate that you have finally opened up to us. But first, what is it like working for one of the richest families in Verona?

“Very busy. I can barely have the time to sit down and have a little chit-chat. In times like this, it’s hard to find free time.”

What did you really think about the feud between the Montagues and Capulets? 

“[Rolls eyes] Aiya! Always fighting and fighting and never fixing the problem. So much hate and anger! I’ve always hoped that it would end someday…but you can’t expect everything to go your own way…”

Tybalt seemed to be getting himself involved in those fights a lot, but tell me more of what he was actually like behind his hatred for the Montagues?

“Aaah yes, Tybalt. Good to hear his name after a while, eh? He was always a true gentleman and an honourable member of the family. Even a good friend of mine. But there was always something that kept him angry all the time…and angry men are hard to like. I’m not exactly sure what but he didn’t seem very fond being the tough one in the family.”

What exactly do you mean by that?

“He told me once that he felt that he was only responsible for protecting the family. Tybalt was under pressure in everything he did because somehow, the way he was built and his skilled sword fighting made him look ‘strong’. He hated the idea of “failure” and was always too strict on himself.”

Moving on, on a rather different topic just to make things more interesting, rumours are spreading that you were the secret “messenger” between Romeo and Juliet. Is that true? 

“Yes. That is in fact very true. It was my only way to help those poor, lost children. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to have no one around to be supportive of their relationship. As the only nanny for Juliet, it was my job to make Juliet the happiest young woman so I had no choice but help.”

What was your initial opinion on Romeo and Juliet’s love for one another? 

“Young people in love…you can’t take it seriously these days. Boys play with their toys all the time and the next thing you know, he becomes bored after a while and moves on to his other toys. Young people are always distracting themselves for something fun and better in their confined lives. Poor Julietta, my beautiful little girl…her distraction was her only enemy. ”

Did your opinion change over time?

“I realized later on that Juliet and Romeo were really in love. [sigh] It wasn’t just two young people fooling around. But I was too late to realise that…[glances at the ground]”

Why did you change your mind about Juliet marrying Paris?

“[Sighs deeply] Well I only wanted what was best for her… she was all miserable and hopeless; I couldn’t bear to watch her like that so I had to let her marry Paris [long pause] Even so, Mr.Capulet was going to let her rot in the streets! I could never let that happen to my Julietta! After all, Paris did truly love her and gave much help to the company. He is a true gentleman.”

If you could go back and change one thing, what would you have done?

“[Looks away with teary eyes] I should’ve never told Juliet to marry Paris. I never wanted my Julietta to be hurt more than any other thing. I know I was being selfish and taking sides but I wish I’d never done that.[Covers face with hands and sobs] It was all my fault.”   

GCD: Global Perspectives (Field Studies Phuket Trip)

The Phuket trip was just about half a year ago, but the memories are still clear in mind. They are so clear that it feels like the trip was just a few days ago. And now, I will like to share some of the memories with you.

Ever since grade 7, I dreamt of going to the Phuket trip. But it was because I longed to travel some place far away from home and I had no knowledge of what was coming ahead of me. But it was until 8th that I got to know the meaning of the trip and thankfully it didn’t change the fact that I still wanted to go to the trip. After graduating middle school and entering 9th grade, I was ready to leave to Phuket at any time as I was so thrilled. But then I realised that I wasn’t ready at all because we had to do some research about the Thai culture as well as the planned activities for the trip. For instance, information on the coral reef for snorkelling, mangrove rainforest & gibbons for planting mangrove trees, etc.

On Sunday evening of October 18th, we arrived at Phuket. I remembered the air felt really warm and humid. It was definitely a big change compared to Yokohama where my home is. We stayed at the British International School in Phuket for 5 days. The trip consisted 30 people including myself, and we were split into two groups and then would switch tasks after a lunch break. On the first and second day, my group and I visited a Burmese school with 40 students. Students were about the age of 5 to 8 and they were learning in an environment which was no comparison to our school. Therefore, it was our mission to recreate their school by painting on the plain white walls.

Carefully planned Sakura tree piece with our hands painted on the petals including Burmese school children on the bottom of the painting




While my group and I were painting, the other group were interacting with the children by playing games and sports. I think this was one of the main things that I will never forget because seeing the children smile made me feel happy even the fact that language was a barrier we still had a great time. The children only had this once a year, so we tried to make their time as special as possible. Since we use our laptops all the time, social media seems to dominate most of our lives. But with this experience, it reminded me that I don’t always need that to help me socialize with people and I can physically be there in person.

Burmese children painting on small animal sculptures
Result of painted sculptures by Burmese children
Waving goodbye to the children on our last day with them

In every Hello, there are always Goodbye’s. On the second day of our trip, it was time for us to part with the children from the Burmese school. This was difficult for all of us because even in such a short period of time, we became close with the children and they were more used to our company. One thing in particular that I learned from the children was how fortunate my life was and complaining wasn’t worth it at all. These children were always patient and did what they were told to do. And in certain about the fact that they were younger than all of us, as a 15-year-old I was very privileged to be able to have the money to travel and spend time them.

Sorting all the miscellaneous items we brought to give to all the Burmese children and SOS Orphans
After giving a collection of goods for the children in the Burmese school

On our final day at Phuket, we were introduced to the children from the SOS Orphanages. Though by the evening, our plan was to departure Phuket, we made the last hours worth spending. For instance, we played games with the children for a start which was entertaining and created laughter within both the children and us. We even headed to the elementary pool at BISP and taught them how to swim. From this, I knew that speaking the same language doesn’t matter sometimes. And since we only had a day with these children, in the future there should be a lot more time spent with the orphans so a stronger bond could be created.

Swimming with the SOS orphans at the elementary pool in BISP
Swimming with the SOS orphans at the elementary pool in BISP

Besides interacting with both groups of children, we planted mangrove trees, snorkeled to observe the affected coral reef from the El Niño and went on a hike which included visiting the Gibbon sanctuary. Some of the challenges were carrying the mangrove plants until the place we were supposed to plant them since it felt like every step I took, the plants became heavier. During the planting process, my feet were stuck in the mud and it didn’t matter if I was covered all in mud because everyone else was too.


After 5 days of Phuket, it made me realise how much service is important in general as well as for myself. I value this especially because helping people and the environment makes everything better as every time you commit to service, you’re making a change. Even the smallest events like picking up trash on the ground or larger events like this trip. By doing these actions, it inspires others to help others. Service for me is absolutely rewarding as it gives me a sense of pride and I feel like I did something right and be grateful afterwards. This whole trip has become a huge part of my life as every now and then, I would think about the events that happened during the trip and wish to go back again.Thus, I would strongly recommend future freshmen’s to go this trip.


First week of High school

The last five days were my first week of High school. New faces, old faces, and ones that I’ve passed by in the hallway but never got to know them. It was different. Not just about being the smaller ones compared to when being the older kids in Middle school. The classes, atmosphere, and the people.

I think the high points of this week was meeting new people, both students and teachers. But what was even more better was that I got to actually talk to them and share same interests. Another thing that I thought was great was that I tried out for the junior varsity & varsity x-country team. The running was really intense but I felt successful after I ran. Even though I wasn’t as fast as the seniors and previous students who joined the team, I enjoyed it.
I think the low points of this week was not being able to spot an open seat in the cafeteria because it was very crammed. Even if the seats were available, I wouldn’t have the courage to go up there where all the seniors are. Another thing that I thought was a bit difficult was being in the extended math class because everything went really fast and I had to keep up with everyone else. But at the same time, I learned something new.

Reltin City


Recently, we’ve been working on a project about building a city. However, not just any city, but to create a sustainable city. After all the research and reading the most/least liveable cities , we came up with a lot of ideas to incorporate and not include in our own city. We made three information to promote Reltin City.

The city speech

This is the actual map for our city:


This is our promotion for our city: (Quote inspired from Disney)

Reltin City Ad

Perspectives: A brief summarisation of why people view history differently

Why do people view history differently? 

People view history differently in many different reasons. The first reason could be personal experiences someone went through during the event. From what I looked at when I was researching the Second World War in Japan, I noticed that the perspective that I read about in websites(on the WW2) and books differ to my interviewee’s perspective. What changed the perspectives were personal experiences that my interviewee coped with and how it affected them both mentally and physically. Moreover, how the environment that they have been in affected them to  think opposite of what was written in the sources that I collected. However, other than personal experiences, another reason could be how people were taught about the event. During WW2, people were taught to love their own country but hatred for the enemy. As soldiers during the WW2 were taught to obey what they were told to do and could not open up their own feelings. Even if they did, that would disrespect their own country and their leader as this was a problem in Japan when Japanese people were willing to sacrifice their own life in the name of the Emperor during that time.

Why does it matter that they do?

I think that when learning about history, it is important that we also look at information in depth rather than looking at it broadly. Like how books talk about a certain event in a general form and often categorise people into one thing. And we don’t really get to see how the event influenced people one by one. For that reason, it matters to examine different perspective so we could understand two sides and not just one. Also, when I interviewed people for my topic, I got to understand them more which was an opportunity to get to know them better.



Hernandez, Saddie. “I Just Needed a Different Perspective.” Flickr. Yahoo!, 26 June 2010. Web. 28 May 2015.

Should humans be allowed to choose the genes in their babies?

According to Edward Lanphier, chairman of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine in Washington D. C. and his four colleagues wrote in his journal Protein & Cell how these research could harm the environment and cause public outcry. Saying that ‘In our view, genome editing in human embryos using current technologies could have unpredictable effects on future generations’; ‘This makes it dangerous and ethically unacceptable’. To find out more, read the article here.

Sources used:

“5 Key Pros and Cons of Human Genetic Engineering.” NLCATPorg. Chief Editor, 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 28 May 2015.
Advances In Genetics. 1st ed. Web. 29 May 2015.
Stem Cells. Perf. Tim and Moby. BrainPOP, n.d. Educational Video.
Glenn, Lina MacDonald. “Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering and Transgenics.” Actionbioscience. Linda MacDonald Glenn, Nov. 2013. Web. 28 May 2015.

Speeches and Public Speaking

We’ve just finished our drama unit on speeches, pronunciation, and any kind of elements related to public speaking. As a group, we were assigned to create an infomercial we wanted to advertise using as much ‘purr’ words that we can think of. ‘Purr’ words are words that sound pleasing and give good impressions. One of the examples from our script was ‘fresh’,  ‘organic’, and ‘natural’.

When reflecting back, I think I did neither great or horrible. Though, there were just a few personal barriers that kept me a few step away from becoming a more effective public speaker. Whenever I have to speak whether in front of someone, group of people, or a camera, I become very nervous and tend to lose everything I planned already. This leaves me hesitating and not make any sense whatsoever when I speak. So this often brings a negative outcome. My personal barriers, like a giant brick wall, was a very difficult situation for me during the process of filming the infomercial because things were going in little progress. Also, I was afraid that my group mates would becoming irritated at me because I had a lot of takes.

Even though my own personal barriers kept me from becoming a better public speaker, I can break them down. The first thing that I intend to do is be prepared. Being prepared isn’t as hard as it seems. I should practice more so that I can be more confident in my own part of the infomercial. Since I got the demonstration part of the infomercial, this step will take me one step to breaking my own personal barriers. Also, what I could do is to become more comfortable with my surroundings. This will help me to loosen up more and make less mistakes. How I intend to make this happen is to talk to people who I don’t normally talk with or to challenge myself, I could talk to older kids at school.

I think my personal barriers would be mental barriers. The reason why is because the negative thoughts in my head restrains me to open up to people and shut myself up. This means that these mental barriers affect my body language and leave a negative impression. Looking back at the first paragraph, these mental barriers also affect speaking, which are a bit of both mental and physical barriers. Since your mind can’t think straight, your words don’t come in a way you intend it to be.

The Biggest Project

Brief summary of what I’ve achieved:

We’ve just finished our I&S unit on globalisation focusing on Yokohama. For most of the unit, we’ve worked on the biggest project that I have came across so far in my life. The project was all about globalisation within Yokohama and there were four parts to it. I would really like to thank Ms. Madrid  for reminding us to finish each part of the project done by a particular date because I was more organised and was able to hand in all parts of the project at once; it was extremely helpful.

What did you learn about globalisation? 

What I learned about globalisation is like a seed at first; starts off small, unnoticeable and gradually spreads throughout. With water and sun which in this case the water represents people and the sun represents the import goods. However, if the plant is always getting sunlight, it will dry, like how globalisation will lose it’s countries original culture. Though, if the plant was provided with too much water it will drown, like how a country will increase it’s population. Therefore, everything must be equal and you can’t have one thing more than another.

What did you learn about doing BIG projects?

When you come across BIG projects, you really need to be able to manage your time wisely. I learned to make a deadline for each part of the project so in the end when the whole project is due, I am not rushing and making things done one-minute. I also learned to avoid staying up all night as much as possible just to finish up something. This is because when I am tired, my brain can’t process and come up with ideas as much compared to when I am working on this project during class time at school. In result, I’d be missing something important in my writing or didn’t get the ideal score that I desired.

What are you proud of?

The part that I am most proud of the project is criteria b; investigating. This is because I had the opportunity to interview my dad, which he’s been living in Yokohama for all his life. This was extremely helpful because I got to apply that information into the annotations. Also, I am proud of the fact that I am a bilingual person. This is because a lot of sources were written in Japanese, which meant that I didn’t have to use google translation a lot, and understand it quickly.