This year, the concept for field studies changed along with its name to “expeditions”. In these new expeditions, we explored nature, self reliance and resilience. In the Niigata expedition which I attended, we also talked about silence and how it is rare to have absolute silence in the city.
The first day, we travelled a few hours by bus to a rural part of Niigata up the mountains where there was not a lot of civilisation around us. There, we met the English Adventure staff and the building we would be staying at for 3/4 of the nights. After having a long awaited lunch, the English adventure staff organized a few activities for us to get us started and introduced to the topics we would be exploring for the next couple of days. We tried without instructions tried to build a ice cave, mapped the route we would take on the day of the hike and took a hike into a part of the forrest where we could experience silence.
The next couple of days were filled with exciting activities such as sleeping in a quinsy that we built for a whole day, hiking on the very top of a mountain, and lastly skiing. These activities all required a form of leadership whether in groups or in pairs. When hiking, we were forced to decide which direction we would travel when there was a split road. In the group there was an instance where the group was split with two opinions and it took a leader to listen to each opinion then come up with a correct or fair solution.
By experiencing these activities that were out of our comfort zones, I think I developed as a person and became more open minded. Originally, sleeping in a quinsy was such a foreign thought and I assumed that it would be cold, miserable, and over all a negative experience. However, contrary to my initial ideas, the quinsy was comfortable to sleep in and I even enjoyed the process of making the quinsy. In the future, I think these memories will remind me of the positive that can happen out of a seemingly negative scenario.
Although or rather because Niigata was a fun expedition, one thing that I think could be improved was if the entire grade participated in the same expedition. Going to Niigata and experiencing the same struggles really bonded the group that went together however, I believe if the entire grade went to the same location, the grade would be even more unified. This is because we would really have an opportunity to mingle with people in the grade who we would not normally talk to or strengthen the friendships that we originally had as I did not see my friends that weren’t at the same expedition for a week or so.