Gestalt IB Retreat Reflection

by 042690 on August 30, 2017

On August 17th, the class of 2019 (Grade 11) went to the Gold Coast for the 2017 IB retreat.  The goal of this retreat was for us to build bonds with other students and teachers and to prepare us for the next two years. The most memorable part of the retreat for me was the simulation that we did with Crossroads, a Hong Kong based non-profit organisation that helps those in need and specifically helps lots of refugees around Hong Kong.

The simulation that we did was called “Struggle for Survival”. In this simulation, we were divided into “families” and took on the roles of poor people who were trying to make a living in the slums. In order to ensure that our family “survived”, we had to make paper bags and sell them to the shop vendors who in return would give us money. We would have to use the money to cover basic expenses such as rent, food and healthcare. Shopkeepers would often not give us any money for the bags and would end up tearing the whole lot if one was not up to standard. We also had to kneel on the floor and “bow” to them as a way of showing respect and so that they would pity us.

Though selling paper bags was our primary source of income, the money that we earned from doing that was no where near enough to pay for our weekly expenses. As a result, we had to do things such as “sell” our possessions (phones, wallets, watches and even shoes). This simulation gave me a look at the various aspects of the lives of the poor and what they have to go through on a daily basis. We also saw how poor people are treated with no respect at all and a forced demean themselves in order to survive.

I think that the most enjoyable part of the retreat for me was all the free time that we had on the first day as we were able to hang our with friends and do whatever we wanted in the area. It was a great opportunity for us to spend time with our friends (doing things like playing cards and relaxing in the pool) and get to know other people in our grade better, both of which I probably would not be able to do much due to everyone’s busy lives. Another interesting part of the retreat is when we watched the movie ’12 Angry Men’ where eleven men want to quickly convict a young boy for various reasons (some for prejudicial and racist reasons, others for more personal ones such as having tickets to a Yankees game later that evening) but one man who was adamant that the boy was not guilty. He uses his critical thinking and reasoning skills to clearly point out that there is no way that the boy could have done it and eventually changes all the jurors minds.

Overall, the retreat was a fun and enjoyable experience which also helped us prepare for the DP.

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