Service trip fosters service and new friendships
For the past nine years, Singapore American School (SAS) has organized an eighth-grade trip to Siem Reap with the objective of promoting service learning. Selected students are typically motivated by their curiosity of the developing world and a desire to make their own contributions toward its improvement. Prior to the trip, students meet to study Cambodia's history, to learn about CFC's mission, and to develop personal relationships with CFC students through our popular pen-pal program.
Each day of this February's service trip was packed full with activities and new experiences. The students laid paving stones and spread sand at Kong Much Primary School, built a hand-washing station (see story below)
and prepared an area for a new cafeteria at the Aranh campus. The group raised all the funds for their projects and also funded new desks and ceiling tiles at Aranh as well as quality hygiene-promotion posters.
A highlight of the journey was when the SAS students met their Cambodian pen-pals and participated in a cooking class (at left)
. Any awkward shyness or language barriers were quickly overcome as they worked together to transform fresh local ingredients into a delicious meal. Over dinner, the students spontaneously laughed, sang and played games until long after the sun went down.
While their labor efforts do not go unnoticed by our CFC community, the real value of these trips comes from the mutual cultural awareness and the relationships made between individuals. These sentiments are echoed below in personal reflections shared by SAS students:
"We learned a lot from CFC kids. We learned how they took pleasure in the simple things in life, which is something we thought we should try to do more in our own life. Before our trip was up, we managed to make significant progress on our projects, but our trip was about much more than that. The Cambodians helped us see things differently, and hopefully, they learned something from us too."
- Riley Britson, SAS 8th grade
"These CFC kids just love going to school. I think it's something we can learn from them because not everybody has the privilege to go to school."
- Kassie Widdow, SAS 8th grade
Well said, Singapore American School!