Experiential Education 101

Students on Global High School have applied all of their learned knowledge to a series of awareness and academic assignments this weekend.

Our business and world cultures class went to a village on the outskirts of Siem Reap to film a documentary on a new project that aims to expand their school. The village of Kon Sand is 60km east of Siem Reap with a school that currently hosts over 300 students. Our group made the trek out to interact with the students and learn more about the school to capture footage for their documentary on this fundraising initiative.

students sitting in school house learning about the school

Challenge and change conducted qualitative interviews this weekend with two teenagers from Siem Reap. This is part of their research report which compares the adolescent experience of Canadian and Cambodian teenagers to challenge or support their hypotheses! At the same time, our data management class is designing a study to investigate the correlation between income and enrolment rates in primary school children in Cambodia.

student interviewing local teenager

Everyone woke early Sunday morning to participate in our optional community service excursion. Once again, we were taken to another village on the outskirts of Siem Reap that has become the home to rural orphans from the province. When we arrived at the small village, Mr. Paul introduced us to the adorable young children and taught us about the history of the orphanage and the school that was built.

We were then put to work to accomplish our main task of the morning: transporting a 15’ sun shelter to make way for a new learning space!

Students hammered in supporting beams and dug out the posts before everyone came together to raise the shelter from its old location. On the count to three, students and staff raised the giant structure with some of the children and other volunteers up a hill and over to the new spot. With the posts in their new positions, everyone cheered, clapped and celebrated for the hard work that was achieved before taking a quick break prior to our next task.

students carrying sun shelter

In between transporting the structure and building a new space next to the classroom, students played with the children and helped to prepare lunch for the kids. Once the soccer ball came out, all of the local children ran over to the make-shift nets to play a game with our students. Many others also took the time to play with the youngest of children around the yard while we built shade structures out of bamboo before heading back to the hotel for the afternoon.

Justin had this to share about his experience volunteering at the orphanage:

“My experience was really gratifying. Seeing what this small community experiences was almost hard to believe because these children have lost parents to disease and landmines from the region. It truly becomes eye-opening when you see it for yourself. This was extremely valuable and important for me to see, but it felt even better to physically contribute my efforts rather than just giving money. It felt really good.”

On Monday we will be packing our bags and heading off to our next destination of term two: Luang Prabang! We are sad to be leaving our hotel in Siem Reap but are excited to create new lasting memories in Laos.

Yours in the community,