Sean, Ivan, Marcus and Samuel shared their life-changing experience during their 2-week Overseas Social Innovation Program in Thailand. This credit exempted program by Singapore Polytechnic offered unforgettable experience that they would never forget!
| Sean, ideation with the Thai students
Sean: This is the first time I am stepping out of my comfort zone to go overseas without my parents.
At first, I had many worries about living conditions in the university and the village but when I reached there, it was totally the opposite of what I had imagined. Our objective for this trip was to help the local community to improve their daily living condition but I felt that what I have taken away from this overseas program is so much more than what I have contributed to the local community.
From manual work to conceptual design thinking, farming and making local desserts, it was really a life changing experience which enhanced my leadership skills, teamwork and independence. Stepping out of our comfort zone enable us to adapt to the unfamiliar environment much quicker!
Ivan: It was a whole new experience for me! I learnt a lot by being the team leader of my group. It was really difficult to lead a team that communicates in different languages but I realized that patience, is the key to solve the problem.
We encouraged and pushed one another through the difficult times. We went through a lot of hardships but it was all worthwhile. When we presented our work to the community school, they were really happy and their sincere smiles touched my heart.
I am proud to say that my team did a great job. The memories and bonds forged with my Thai buddies and SP teammates will always be intact in my mind. The Learning Express (LEX) came to an end but the friendship we made, will last forever.
Ivan, the third from left in white SP shirt standing next to the prototype
Marcus: For the 14 day trip, I made many new friends not just across the different diplomas in Singapore Polytechnic, but also with the Thai students from the Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi and we are still in contact with them.
We stayed at a village located at the outskirts of Bangkok. The locals welcomed us and took very good care of us while we conducted interviews with the students of the school in order to come up with a solution for their needs. We were lucky to be interviewed by the local news reporters and were featured on the Thai newspaper! We were famous in Thailand for a day
We then went back to the university to implement the solution into a prototype which we presented to the village. What we learnt in this overseas program is critically important and very useful for our future. It is a must-go if you are given the opportunity!
Samuel: For my first overseas trip with a school, I truly don’t know what to expect at the beginning. It ended to be an unforgettable experience for me. Before we left for Bangkok, our Thai counterpart came to Singapore for 3 weeks and I was one of their buddy in Singapore.
The objective of our trip is to help the villagers to improvise ideas to solve the problems they are facing. Being the group leader, I have to lead the team to ideate on salt farm. It was very challenging to work together in a huge group with team members from different countries who have many different views and speak different languages.
The communication barrier was a problem at the beginning but over time, we got to know each other better. The bonding forged between us and we began to understand each other’s point of view. This trip has not only taught us about design thinking but also allowed us to understand and learn a different culture. I learn how salt farm works and how the villagers transform the waste harvested from salt into bio fertiliser. I also learn to play the Thai sword play named “Krabi Krabong” which was very interesting! This trip is a must-go and given the opportunity, I would go again without hesitation!