Leading up to the Retreat, I was very excited. Not knowing much about what would be covered during my short time at the retreat, there was definitely a lot of anticipation. I have been holding off on writing this reflection for a while to let what was discussed during my few days at the IB Retreat sink in. Now I think I’ve reached a point where I have come to terms with my experiences.
About a week ago now, I spent two days at the Gold Coast Hotel, as part of the IB Retreat. I really enjoyed my time there as I felt that it was a very valuable experience. A recurring idea at the retreat was this idea that the future is always filled with uncertainty. I feel as though the talks given were a great introduction into what I can expect in the next few years in the DP program.
As a general overview, the way in which the days worked was that there were short 20min sessions that we each rotated through. Some of the more informative sessions went over new curriculum to us. I really didn’t have much prior knowledge about elements of DP such as the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. Hearing more about what to expect and after getting some advice from recent alums, I feel as though I am definitely more prepared then I would have been.
One of the most memorable sessions from the first day was the talk from guest speaker Blair Reeves. It was truly interesting to hear about his experiences as a poet in HK. His approaches to the whole writing process and the focus on the performance on his poems were very eye opening to me. Hearing his unique type of poetry and seeing how much passion he had for his work was extremely inspiring.
On the second day, one of the highlights was our visit to Crossroads. At Crossroads, our retreat ended with an inspirational and potentially life changing poverty simulation. I had never experienced a simulation like the one we undertook at Crossroads. By being put into a situation that allowed us to understand and identify with those affected by extreme poverty, my whole reference in regards to what one person can do has changed. As David Begbie explained his experiences with his charity, I took it as an opportunity to reflect on my own life. I came to realize that although we often think that these large issues cannot be changed much by the actions of an individual, it is taking that first step that is the most important. I thought about how privileged we are to be in a position where we can actually help those who face real problems in the world. This session really helped reiterate the importance of the CAS programme to me.
This past week I have already these takeaways to heart and begun to take those first steps. For starters, this week I decided to register for this years Habitat for Humanity build trip to Rayong, Thailand to help those plagued by the global issue of inadequate housing. Secondly, I have also decided to join our school’s Refugee Educational Support Program (RESPECT) which works with refugees in Hong Kong. While I recognize that these acts are minimal in the grand scheme of things, they represent a change in the way I view our world. These are the first of hopefully many organizations that I hope to get to work with in the future I look forward to moving on into the next few years in DP and beyond with these ideas of what it means to be an real IB student- all of which was introduced to us at the IB Retreat.