CAS Project

During the winter break of 2016, I have been participating in a charity organisation which provides free lessons in english for new immigrants and refugees in Hong Kong. I chose this project as I believed it would help me with my interpersonal skills, as well as other important aspects, such as leadership and collaboration with others. As well, I wanted to contribute to the local community through education and share knowledge and experiences that I have gained with other less privileged people. At this point in time, I believe that this project has already helped me improve my communication skills with others, as I can now get points across more clearly and more concisely through the teaching of others.

To prepare for this project, I had to contact the institute that I had been referred to in order to organise and schedule classes as well as book a location for the lesson to occur. I also had to plan beforehand, allocating every other weekend to this project. This meant I had to balance my schedule around this, and this has definitely made use of my organisational skills, and indefinitely improved it. To actually take action and teach, I had to involve a partner to teach with me. After all the planning, an hour class is conducted, teaching people from ages 20-50 basic english, for example numbers, how to tell the time, grammar rules, etc.

After teaching for almost 5 months now, I have reflected on the fact that our education is very important and means a lot in the real world. The people that I have taught have often come down to Hong Kong from mainland China in search for a better job and better quality of life, often as farmers or without much education back at home. It goes to show how privileged we are because of this, and that all types of people exist in this world. It also made me realise the importance of being a teacher, and how they are highly necessary for many people in this world. Previously, I had taken education for granted and didn’t think much of school, but this activity has changed my views on this.



CAS Takeaways

I believe over the course of different CAS activities and experiences, I hope to gain a greater understanding and respect for the world around us, not only locally in Hong Kong, but globally as well. I want to mainly focus on the service aspect, as I believe that is the most important part of the CAS program. With this, we can actually give back to the community around us, whether it is sharing knowledge, sharing emotions, even donations / charities, we are giving back to the world around us. As well, it will be a good experience for me as I believe activities such as interaction with people less fortunate and living in their shoes would strongly improve my knowledge of the wider world, as experiencing is understanding. Compared to the static everyday tasks that we must do (school, homework, tutors), I believe these activities may also switch it up and provide variety our lives, making it ever more entertaining.  Another takeaway from CAS is to be a better leader. Through activities such as CAS week, participating as a group leader or being in charge of a role (photography, yearbook, video, etc.) would help me interact better with friends and peers. Leadership is very important nowadays, and I believe CAS can help me become a better one. In the end, I want to be a more well-rounded person with more knowledge about the world we live in. Regarding my project, I  will be tutoring children (less fortunate) in a class-teacher style. I will be a teacher, aiming to improve their english skills. One skill I wish to develop through this are my communication skills. I will be interacting with many people indefinitely , especially during teaching. I want to express thoughts and emotions in another language (cantonese / mandarin) more effectively in order to communicate properly with children of other backgrounds.


CAS Experience Reflection

During the summer of 2016, I volunteered as a teacher in a teaching facility for new immigrants. I was in charge of teaching english, and as they were new to Hong Kong (some from mainland China), I found myself having to go through the very basics of english, such as numbers, pronunciation of certain words, and even telling the time. Eventually, after teaching for 2-3 times a week over the course of 6-7 weeks, I found myself reflecting on the education system of different countries, and how different backgrounds were exposed to different areas of knowledge. There were a few students that were 30 to 40 years old, yet could not say the number eleven properly, which many are expected to know in kindergarten. I reflected on how privileged and lucky we truly are, where we have such a good learning environment and where many students / peers are multilingual, whereas it may be completely normal in other areas of the world to not know what we may know as little kids.

CAS Global Issue

One global issue that I want to focus on is regarding poverty and disparity. To do this, I want to firstly do some tutoring 1 to 1, helping kids or even less educated teens with their studies. As well, if possible I would like to teach a big class of people, much like I did for new immigrants during the summer of 2016. I would first have to reach out to different kids by advertising (perhaps flyers on the streets, advertisements online, etc.), then I would have to meet with the students to get a feel for what they are like. After, I would take action by going to teach them and eventually reflect on the experience of teaching.

CAS Who Am I?

My strengths would be in the action side of CAS. The activities that I do allow me to not only collaborate with others to develop my skills, but I also get a lot out of just being around others that are passionate about the sport with me. I am quite engaged in activities regarding creativity and action, whether it be competitions or in the case of piano, even concerts. For my action, swim trainings are 3 times a week, and for ice hockey it is training 2 times a week and a match on the weekends, and piano is once a week. For my service, it is not as often, but I try to make time during holidays and long weekends, typically during the summer.

Piano (since the age of 5)

Swim team (since 7th grade)
Ice hockey for HK Typhoon (since the age of 7)

Teaching new immigrants (summer of 10th grade)
Visiting the elderly and give out gifts (since 9th grade)

IB Retreat Blog Post

After attending the IB retreat from September 1st to 2nd, I believe that I learned a lot and developed myself and adapted it better. I believe the small seminars in the house groups were particularly effective as I could focus better in smaller groups. I managed to take away quite a lot from those seminars, and especially liked the talk with the alumni. They provided great tips, as well as cleared up different rumours about the following two years of IB and also lightened up the mood, making IB seem less daunting. This relates to the uncertainty theme present in the retreat, as I was able to take away a lot of useful information that I was uncertain about or had half the answer to.  I think the main reason I liked their talk was because we could relate to them, and they are essentially in the position that I will be in 2 years from now.
Another thing that I enjoyed was the stress relieving portion, with the main one being Mr. Lobo’s yoga session. I was able to set a new mindset and change how I thought about not only IB in general but everyday life as well. The theme “peace and mindfulness” was explored thoroughly during this 20 minute session, and I think relieved a lot of stress. During the beginning of the year, I tend to have some anxiety about the year that is ahead, worrying about how difficult it may be or how much I will have to do in comparison to last year. After attending this session however, I learned to control my stress levels more effectively and make myself more effective.
One of the talks, which involved Mr. Aldridge and  universities helped me a lot in deciding what to select for university. A key point I took away from that was to not always aim for the best and hardest universities, but rather the ones that you will be able to do very well in and stand out of the average crowd. If you do average in a good school, it may not mean as much as doing exceptionally in a less challenging school but gaining scholarships and different opportunities in relation to how well you do. I think this activity really helped me sort out a different list of colleges to apply for in the future. Compared to before, I would always want to apply to the best sounding college (most famous), but after this talk I realise that may not always be the best decision.
The last thing I really enjoyed was the poverty simulation on the second day at crossroads. We basically had to make paper bags out of garbage, and that mimicked the lifestyle of people who actually do this job on a daily basis and earn less than 25c USD per day. It really puts into perspective how privileged were are, and how difficult life is for the people who live like this in 2×2 sq.m houses in slums all around the world. Particularly, I liked the speaker as he was very motivational and passionate about this topic and really made me care a lot more about this topic. I recommend this simulation to anyone that attends crossroads in the future.

Service Post

I helped the community by doing charity work for the elderly by giving them gifts, teaching underprivileged kids english, as well as partaking in the Fiji CAS week trip by building a usable road for an underprivileged school.

1. How did I become more aware of my own strengths and areas for growth?

I believe that through the activities, I am able to be understand the community around me and through communication with the elderly people, I believe I am quite good at interaction and communicating with others. Through this, I believe I am more sensitive to the world around me.

2. How did you undertake challenges that developed new skills?

I believe that the service itself is not too challenging. I believe sometimes, the challenging part of the service was actually talking to the elderly, as some of them may have trouble hearing and understanding what you say to them. Also, there was a bit of a language barrier as they spoke mainly cantonese and I did not speak cantonese too well. However, I was able to overcome this by trying my best to use my language skills to communicate with them.

3. How did you discuss, evaluate and plan student-initiated activities?

I organised something that involves me teaching underprivileged children english. The children are often from poor backgrounds, and teaching english would greatly benefit them and the wider community. I organised this by sending out an email to the organization saying that I was interested in teaching the kids, and got in contact with their mentor.

4. How did you persevere in action?

I aim to continue doing the service that I do in the future for years to come, and wish to help the community continuously. For my action, during my CAS trip I had to do manual labour and helped lay down cement and build a sustainable pathway from scratch. Due to this, I am able to see the full process of road building and just how difficult it is.

5. How did you work collaboratively with others?

I think that I had to collaborate with others on many occasions. First off, for the outside of school community work such as the elderly home visit and teaching the children english, I had to use different languages in order to communicate with them and cooperate and coordinate how I was going to do the service, including dates, content teached, where I am supposed to teach, etc. For the CAS trip, we had to work as a big group to see what tasks needed extra help on, or what could be done so that we were all of use.

6. How did you develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding?

I think that through teaching the children especially, I am able to see the different backgrounds different people come from, and it is really striking to me. I realise that I am very privileged, and should give back to others. I think that through teaching children, I am able to connect with them as people and able to relate to them. However, there were some linguistic challenges that were encountered with the children, as some were not proficient in any language I spoke, so rather than speaking to them, I would rather show actions, act out certain words and that way, the understood the meaning.

7. How did you consider the ethical implications of your actions?

Overall, I think that what I did has helped out the children by making their lives and education journey easier. I think that ethically, it is respectable and I did not really do this service to look good, I just liked to give a helping hand to those in need. Hopefully, my actions have a positive implication on other’s lives and I wish to keep doing what I do in the near future.

CAS Week Pre-Trip Post

Before going to Fiji for this year’s CAS week, I am excited for what is to come this week. I chose this trip because I wanted to experience Fiji for what it is, eg. it’s strong history / culture, sights, activities, etc. I have never been to Fiji prior this trip, so that makes me even more excited for this week. I expect us to be doing a lot of service work, and I also am hoping to experience the spectacular scenery of Fiji. This week, I am also excited to meet new people I have never had the chance of knowing beforehand. Hopefully, this trip will give me an experience that I will not forget for years to come.