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The IB Program aims to develop multicultural understanding in all Diploma students in order to make the world a better place. In keeping with the mission of both the IB Program and AISV, our grade 11 students had an opportunity to take part on an IB Week Without Walls trip to Lisbon, Portugal.
The trip took place from the 3rd to the 8th of June 2018. The aim of the trip was to introduce students to a new culture and language, engage them in a number of creativity, activity and services experiences and help them create a digital portfolio in which they reflected upon their accomplishments.
A big variety of activities offered at and by the Campo Aventura were challenging and risk-taking for many students: surfing in Peniche, laser tag, paintball, high-rope course, free fall jump, zip line, and old mine. Students were able to experience Portuguese history and culture by visiting the traditional market in Caldas da Rainha, Obidos medieval village, and Lisbon. In addition, students were able to sing karaoke, dance at the disco and with other camp participants and counsellors on the field, and play bingo.
The highlight of the trip was A Service Day at the Elderly Center called Centro Social Cultural E Recreativo Da Amoreira where students were involved in the process of bread making with chorizo and greaves (Portuguese tradition) and making and frying traditional Portuguese Christmas desert called filhoses. The center sells these goods to the community to raise funds. The afternoon of the day was spent socializing with the elderly in all possible languages including gestures and signs with some help by Portuguese counselors. Here it was a fantastic opportunity for students to practice and develop their communication skills and open their minds to different stories of the elderly. Both, the elderly and us, sang Portuguese songs together as well as we presented the AISV School song and a Lithuanian traditional dance “polka su ragučiais“. We also shared Lithuanian traditional “šakotis“ and “mushroom-cookies“, a variety of Lithuanian candies and a number of souvenirs. This was a very special day during this whole trip.
By Jolita Norkūnaitė, AISV Activities and CAS Coordinator
Please read a few pieces from student reflections below
A few pieces from student reflections:
”Helping the elderly was a great opportunity for me to help others and was a lot of fun to do. Sometimes it was a challenge to try and talk to them due to the language barrier, but I had soon realized that you do not need language to be able to communicate with others. This was a great learning experience and allowed help others during our time there. Looking back into this trip, despite all the difficulties that had occurred, it was still an amazing trip full of adventure and many opportunities to break down walls and learn new things.”
“We talked with elderly people, and that helped us learn more about people of Portugal and hear their stories and ideas on some things. I think that our visit was significant for elderly people because we brought small change to their daily life and I believe that it was important to them.”
“Talking to elders was surely an experience I would never forget. Trying to communicate was definitely a challenge, however thanks to a couple of students, who were sitting at the table with me, it was not too difficult and actually entertaining. This trip was a good opportunity for me to challenge myself and grow as an individual.”
"I learned a lot about issues of global importance especially about the crisis of care service for the elderly. I learned about this by helping out at the elderly home by spending time with the elderly and trying to communicate with them. There was definitely a language barrier as most of the elderly people only spoke Portuguese and I could speak no Portuguese. This inspired me to want to do more to help the elderly such as volunteering at a nursing home.”
“Going to the Elderly home-service: I found this activity to be very meaningful and incredibly insightful. Due to language barriers, I was not able to freely communicate with the elders, yet nonetheless I realized that it is possible to understand in different ways- for example hand gestures. I also largely enjoyed baking bread with chorizo, as I managed to do something I have never done before and I was also humbled by the amount of happiness and support we received from the elders for giving them this food and spending time with them.”
“IB week without walls was truly a completely new experience to me. Firstly, I have never been in Portugal. It was an amazing country to visit. Portugal is full of awesome, friendly people and of beautiful nature. I am looking forward to seeing it again in the future.”
“I really enjoyed the IB week without walls. This trip has successfully developed and improved some skills in me, such as collaboration and leadership. It also bonded our class a lot, which i am especially happy about.”