Phuket Expedition 2016

Our Phuket expedition was the best and unforgettable trip. We gained lots of experience, helped the people there and actually learned some important things.

The first two days were helping to paint walls and murals, also planting at the Burmese school. We worked hard in groups to make the rooms a place where children can study and have a fun time. It was a challenge to not mess up the red, blue, green, yellow and white paint, but at the end it looked like a masterpiece of artwork because we managed to work as a team. We also gave out our donations to the Burmese children and they seemed so happy with the toys, stationary and clothes they got. I thought that these donations were a trade in culture as we gave them things from Japan and we got to know a little about their lives. I liked remodeling the rooms and making their school experience much exciting.

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On the third day of our expedition, we went hiking into a rainforest. We had to take the secondary route becuase the expected route was blocked by a tree and we couldn’t walk through it. The day we went hiking, it was raining and the ground was very muddy. So we had to work as team and challenge ourselves to finish the hike. We had to call out “wait” and “stop” to let the people in front know that something was wrong or they were going to fast. I thought that communication helped us a lot. It was a unforgettabe experience because I remember how the environment in the rainforest was different from where I live right now. The humid conditions and tough trails showed me the importance of thinking carefully of the environment we live in. The next day we also went snorkling. The boat ride to the diving point was a disaster as it took us all down, sea sickness was our biggest enemy. But under the bright blue sea was so beautiful with fish and coral reefs. We went to two spots where the coral reefs were. We discovered that there were healthy coral reefs. But others were damaged becuase of human impacts such as coral mining and pollution. This made us think of the environmental issues that could be improved.

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The last days of the expedition were meeting with the SOS children. They amount of children was much more than the Burmese children and there was a variety of ages. We had to teach them Origami, Japanese traditional games like “Darumasangakoronda” which is like “Red light green light” and make wrist bands together. I was responisble in taking care of the children in my game of Duck duck goose and Japanese games. I had to show them how to play it with actions instead of talking so it was hard to actually teach them but with the help of others we were able to play. I learned that even though the things we say and our language isn’t the same with them, we still have something in connection that works afterall. Teaching new things to children was difficult but I got to learn new things myself and maybe the children will surely remember what they have learned once.

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The entire week was the best trip that I would never forget and regret. I had a great time doing many activities, having the delightful food from the British International School and a vulnerable experience. This Phuket expedition rose my motivation and awarness of this world and I know this trip has made me grow with the memories of myself. I had a once in a lifetime experience and found similarities and differences in culture that that made me more interested in.

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How does memory work?

Definitions of 5 vocabulary terms

Memory: The process of our brain maintaining the information over time.

Neurons: Cells that transmit nerve impulses in the brain

Neurotransmitters: Chemicals that send signals from one nerve cell to another.

Long-term potentiation (LTP): The ability of brain cells to increase the strength between brain cell connections.

Synapses: A small gap of the neuron that carries the signal to the next neron.

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The functions of a memory isn’t just about experiencing a event in life, make it into a memory and store inside the brain. Neurons communicate with other neurons when they recieve stimulation from same neurotransmitters and the strength of the connections is what tells us about how a memory works. It is said by William Griffith, Ph.D., a cellular neuroscientist and chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, that LTP, long-term potentiation explains memory a lot since it changes the strength of brain cell connections. If your brain has made a ‘strengthened synaptic contact’ and nerve cells transmitted signal to one another, then a momeory is made. To remember memories is by maintaing the LTP. When your losing strength in your LTP synaptic connections, this could cause cognitive loss and impairment. The decrease in neurons communicating to each other makes the connections weak, which makes it harder to recall memories. Memories can be thought back when you look or smell something as it relates to an event in a past. Behaviours such as addiction can be associated with memory as well because the pathways for addiction are strengthened. But there is more to be researched on how the brain generates, consolidates and retrieves memories.