This last week I went to Fiji for CAS. Our trip included building a concrete path for a small school of primary children, team building activities, releasing sea turtles, visiting a local village, and snorkelling in the water.
I, personally, found that I was open minded throughout this trip. The attributes of an open minded leader are (basically) disregarding preconceived notions about an idea or culture; immersing oneself in something without being too judgemental of it and understanding/appreciating the values of the cultures. I demonstrated this IB learner profile when I was visiting the village by trying the kava. I was one of the first ones to try the Kava (after our 3 chiefs) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although we had been warned about its acrid taste, I was eager to try the drink that was the cultural equivalent of tea to the Fijians.
One thing I enjoyed most about this trip is I developed new skills. I now know more about how to make a concrete pathway. Although this may not be a quintessential part of my upbringing, it is certainly a useful skill to have (just in general). A major part of CAS is learning new skills, so I think that the concrete path is a good example that fits the CAS week expectations.
Secondly, I enjoyed working collaboratively with a group. I think it helped me develop group-work skills because we were forced to work as a group during the bula-thon. The bula-thon was a series of activities we did in our groups. they were all physical activities, which meant that we had to work as a group to figure out where our strengths and weaknesses lay in terms of people. It helped me practice working as a group not only to solve problems, but also complete a challenge given to us.
A new experience I enjoyed was the snorkelling in the Fijian water. It was definitely a new experience that I had to be open-minded for, as long as a bit of a risk-taker. I, personally, am slightly scared of the ocean, particularly because of the marine life (nothing personal, turtles). For me to experience this activity, I had to approach it with an open mind, something I feel I did particularly well.
Finally, a thing I found the most useful during the trip was the CAS hours we did with building the concrete path. I think that the concrete path was an important contribution, as it was much better than their previous way of getting to their classes. However, it also changed my perspective on the world around us. Although the children obviously had the ability to learn at a level similar to CDNIS’ students do, they didn’t have the same access to resources as we do. It showed me just how lucky we are at CDNIS to have the sort of resources we do; computers, large building, textbooks, white boards.