Expeditions Reflection – Phuket 2016

     Going to Phuket taught me many things including wilderness skills and peoples skills. But the main characteristic this trip taught me was to be grateful for what I have. We interacted with many small children who had near to nothing. We also painted the walls of a very small school. Before we added color to the walls, they were gray and dreary. YIS is such a colorful school it was hard to see such drab walls. The little children were ecstatic about the small amount of color we added to their school.  One of our YIS students brought a bag of blow up balloons and blew some up for the Burmese school children to play with. It was amazing to see how a small everyday thing such as a balloon could bring such joy to a child. They played with the balloons for nearly an hour.  The photos below show Marleen Walther playing with a Burmese Mon student with a yellow ballon. The photo on the right show one of the murals we painted on the Burmese Mon school walls.


     One of the activities was going snorkeling. We learned the safety precautions of being on a boat, and being in open water. On the boat everyone must wear a lifeboat in case of any issue.  We also learned how to safely snorkel. Never go alone, use appropriate gear, research where you are snorkeling before you go so you know what you will be looking for.  We were about two hours on boat from the nearest city on a small island, searching the coral reefs for the effects human’s have caused such as pollution of the reefs. We were split into teams and observed the reefs; which fish were near and what the reefs looked like. If they were broken and gray, we knew they were beginning to die. The photo below a picture of the small island we snorkeled near.


     The other challenging activity we participated in was hiking in the rainforest. We did research before we left about what animals and insects we would see as we hiked and what to do when we encountered them. We also talked about why we should never hike alone. As we hiked we observed the plants and animals around us. We were very lucky and were able to see a python and the rare red crab. We were sure not to go near or to touch any of the insects we saw. But the most challenging part of this adventure was the last two hours of the hike. We had to hike up the last hill and back down again. It had rained for nearly the entire day so the path was extremely slippery and muddy. We had to work together as an entire group and help each other trek through the incredibly hard trail. This was a live example of why to not hike alone because many people slipped and could have been injured if it weren’t for others. The photo below is the river we hiked along and crossed as we made our way through the rainforest.


     Overall this trip has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I learned to appreciate everything I own down the the simplest items such as a pencil and clothes to wear. The children we interacted with had nearly nothing which showed how well we all have it, with somewhere to live and a nice school. I will never forget what I learned on this expedition. Last year we had fun by rafting and climbing but this year served others and helped others.


Field Studies Post Report

Wow. Thats all I can say. From the amazing views to the nightly games of slap jack, field studies was the best experience. The breakfast was amazing as so was lunch and dinner. But the best parts were the activities! I never thought I would ever get the opportunity to go mountain biking or canoeing in Japan. It was hard to do some of the activities such as canyoning because I had never done it, but hey, isn’t that what field studies is for? I got out of my comfort zone from the start, I have never tried to put on a wetsuit (which was the worst part of the trip) but I got to have an amazing experience by jumping of a 20 meter waterfall (the best part of the trip) The scariest part of the trip was probably mountain biking because some of the hills were VERY steep. But now I am more experienced and can go on more biking experiences. The most relaxing, yet exciting part of the trip was canoeing because I loved the view. I learned so many things at field studies, one of them being able to work with others. I had to get other’s ideas before I did anything.

Most of all, I got out of my comfort zone. I was scared to go canyoning, but I did it. I didn’t know how to river raft, or tie a double 8 not. But I did all these things and it made me feel so accomplished that I did so many things I didn’t think I would have ever been able to do.

Pre – Field Studies

          Getting out of your comfort zone can be really hard. Something that makes me nervous is going camping.  My family takes you backpacking in the mountains when you are 16 if you would like to. To get out of my comfort zone I am going to go.  I will feel proud and more confident because I will know that I did something that I didn’t think I could do. It is important to get out of your comfort zone so you can learn, try new things. Before I moved to Japan, I was not very resilient. I know this because I would not do anything out of my comfort zone. But now, after coming to a foreign country, learning a new language, and starting at a new school, I have become much more resilient because I never would have thought I could move and start a new school in a foreign country.  I feel more confident in everything I do. Before going through this hard challenge and getting WAY out of my comfort zone, I never would have gone on a week long field trip in a country I had only lived in for not even 4 months.

I am excited to get out of my comfort zone and enjoy the outdoors with my friends