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OVERSEAS SERVICE LEARNING PROGRAMME TO HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM 2018
36 student leaders and 5 teachers went on our annual Overseas Service Learning Programme (OSLP) to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from 2 to 8 June 2018. As part of our Learning for Life Programme, the OSLP aims to develop community and youth leadership in our students through values-in-action projects with an overseas partner school. The OSLP also develops in students the 21st century competencies of global awareness, cross-cultural skills and sensitivities, sensitise them to the place of Singapore in ASEAN and strengthen their commitment and rootedness to Singapore.
Our partner school this year was Tran Van On Primary School. Over 3 full days, our student leaders conducted art & craft, English and Mathematics lessons for the pupils, played simple sports and games with them, and taught them to sing our favourite national day song – Home, in English, Chinese and Malay Languages.
To ensure our students serve the community to the best of their ability, our students and teachers spent 2 weeks to prepare for the trip. Under the guidance of teachers, students were given the autonomy to decide what they wished to do to meet the community needs, leveraging their strengths and abilities. Students worked together independently as a team to pre-empt potential problems. One issue raised was language barrier in lesson delivery. To overcome this, students translated key words that they would likely use into Vietnamese and learnt to pronounce these words.
Our students also helped out in the physical refurbishment of the school. In a short span of 2 and a half days, they gave the school a fresh coat of paint, and decorated the exterior walls with colourful murals.
The service with Tran Van On Primary School ended with a farewell performance by our students followed by gifts exchange. The School leaders of Tran Van On Primary School thanked us for the help rendered and welcomed our school to visit them again in future.
After 3 days of hard work, our students went on an eco-tourism tour visiting local coconut candy production factory, bee farm factories and agricultural farms. They were treated to fresh and delicious local fruits, honey water and a live performance of Vietnamese songs played with traditional Vietnamese musical instruments. Students also developed a deeper appreciation for the tough life of the farmers, as they tried planting curry leaves and harvesting tapioca under the hot sun with their bare hands.
To know more about the history of Vietnam, students visited the Cu Chi Tunnel in the Vietnam War. During the guided tour, students learnt about how Vietnamese soldiers survived the wars with innovation, creativity and adaptability, as well as grit, courage and care for their fellow people. Students also visited an orphanage in the Cu Chi Village, which is self-funded and takes in abandoned children, able-bodied or with special needs. Through the interaction with the orphans, our students were acutely aware of how fortunate they are.
To appreciate Vietnamese Arts and Aesthetics, students watched a water puppet show and tried their hands on lacquer making and Vietnamese glutinous rice wrapping.
To remember the trip and the lessons that they have learnt, our students wrote a postcard to themselves and mail it to Singapore at the Saigon Central Post Office. Everyone returned to Singapore with fresh perspectives, a stronger heart for the less fortunate, deeper appreciation for the comfort, peace and orderliness in Singapore, a closer and special bond with one another in the team as well as many stories to share with their schoolmates and families. It was no doubt a most meaningful and fruitful trip for all students and teachers.
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