Over the course of 10 days in the Term Two holidays, 13 students from Years 7 and 8, accompanied by two very patient Somerset staff members (Mrs Sauer and Mrs Wheeler); attended the biennial Somerset College Thailand Trip. Throughout the majority of this trip, we were accommodated by an international school located in the outskirts of the Thai village of Chiang Mai.
From the start to finish, our attention and focus of the trip was mostly centred around providing service to the local communities and villages of which we visited. I personally would say, that whilst visiting the hill tribe school in the Chiang Dao district, being able to overcome the language barrier between us Somerset students and the students of the hill tribe school by simply smiling and enjoying each other’s company, provided a surreal sensation that I will never forget.
Alongside spending time at the hill tribe school, our students and staff also had the incredible opportunity to visit, experience and learn more deeply about the Vien Ping orphanage; located in the heart of Chiang Mai’s city. This experience was incredibly eye opening for all of the Somerset students, I think I speak on behalf of all students who have attended the Thailand Trip, when I say that visiting this orphanage was definitely a highlight of the trip and I sincerely hope we have made an impact on the lives of the young orphans.
In addition to this, our Somerset group also adventured into the city of Chiang Mai; being where we spent the majority of our trip. Our days consisted of tiring but rewarding excursions including cycling to local farms, learning about rice planting by getting into the mud fields and trying the method first hand, visiting Thailand’s infamous Elephant Nature Park; which was one of my personal favourites, visiting sacred temples including the Doi Suthep Temple, having a sit down chat with a Buddhist monk, learning and cooking in our very own cooking class and trekking through Thai villages. However, by night time, we were venturing into Thailand’s busy night markets, where over the course of the trip we developed our skills at bartering, whilst we bought all sort of Thailand souvenirs and gifts for our family back home.
Finally, after seven days in the stunning Chiang Mai, it was time for us to depart for our final three days in the busy Bangkok. The surroundings of Bangkok were very contrasted to those that we had been used to in Chiang Mai. The peak hour train rides and walking through the city’s centre was enough to make us aware of the city we were in. Bangkok was a wonderful way to top off our once in a lifetime trip. Overall, the Thailand trip was an amazing experience that myself and all of the other students on the trip are extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity. We are certainly grateful to Mrs Wheeler and Mrs Sauer for taking us and sharing 10 wonderful days and to our parents who generously agreed to let us travel overseas and experience something so different and unique; an opportunity I am certain I will forever cherish.
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