In the midst of a very busy month of April, the entire sophomore grade took on a three-day experiential educational trip to Boramwon. Having returned from the trip, the students definitely came to appreciate the considerable effort put in by teachers and the students who organized the event. The trip yielded an unforgettable, valuable experience that enhanced us one step further. But at the same time, the trip also stirred mixed reactions – both positive and negative – among the sophomores.
After a long two-hour bus ride, students arrived at a large camping park with a well-developed facility provided with a wide soccer field, basketball area, gym, hills for mountain biking, and of course, the green nature and weather complied throughout the days. Various rigorous activities to challenge and engage the students’ physical stamina and teamwork were scheduled right from the first day. Based on advisory, students were all divided among three big groups each supervised by the expert Boramwon guides. And in order to help communication between the KIS teachers and the guides, it was quite common to see students translate Korean and English back and forth.
The major physical activities introduced included archery, mountain biking, hiking, and rafting. During the archery session, several students surprised the teachers by matching the red circle in the middle for points, and later on, they even constructed a huge archery target board by taking turns sawing wood and hammering the nail. After archery, students moved on to mountain biking, which required apt strength and coordination, as it was indeed a level harder than normal biking. Divided by levels of beginner, intermediate, and hard, students were given the opportunity to choose courses or challenge themselves by riding uphill or on the rocky, dusty hills.
However, four hours of hiking on the nearest mountain of Boramwon surprisingly raised the most mixed reactions among students. According to students who took on hiking first, this particular course proved to be fairly dangerous with frequents cliffs that had to be climbed up with a rope, and slippery rocks and leaves, with rocky crevices of boulders in which students had to go through. As a result, accidents were recurrent, though usually minor such as cuts and bruises; however, there was also one unfortunate, major accident in which the KIS high school nurse severely injured her ankle after slipping. She had to be assisted by the emergency crew and return home in the middle of the trip. Still, by encouraging each other and giving out helping hands at difficult paths, the majority were able to witness the unique Elephant rocks and the lovely scenery the peak offered.
One sophomore thought, “It was the first time our grade got together this year to do the something together, so I thought it really helped in building new friendships! But I would’ve really appreciated more breaks during the hike.” (Anonymous ‘18)
“Although throughout the E.E trip we went through many difficult courses, we were able to achieve them by helping one another. I learned through this trip that teamwork plays a very important role in our everyday lives. I hope we can have another great trip next year!” – Diana Koo (‘18)
As for rafting, though it was an entertaining experience, it seemed that for students who were planned to go early morning suffered mostly from the shocking cold water and the chilly wind, as one expressed, “I actually had a great experience in the E.E trip. Honestly they could have given us more free time for ourselves and a bit more time before lights out. Also, the water was too cold during rafting so I was thinking that we should’ve went a bit later in the summer. But overall, the trip was fun” (Jin Kwon ‘18).
Yet through exciting games like races, catching for the ball, as well as just splashing water at each other, students learned how to work together to pilot the boats around.
“The E.E trip was planned perfectly, with barely any activities where it wasn’t fun. However, the food made me want to miss JJ’s cooking” – Noah Kim (‘18).
After all the hard, exhausting activities during the day, recreation and amusing games were arranged at night. Star-gazing through Mr. Hopkin’s telescopes, students got to observe the detailed surface of the moon, along with jupiter and the constellations such as the Big Dipper. There were also mazes for thrilling games, and Nanta sessions where students used recycled materials as drumming instruments to make exciting rhythm and harmony.
Not only did the trip provide various team-bonding activities, but also mini-advisory sessions that took place each day garnered many positive feedbacks. It was a time in which students got to share their personal opinions, feelings, and reflect upon what they learned, disliked, or even how they overcame challenges and broke through certain walls.
“I think the E.E. Trip was a great opportunity for advisories to bond and I really enjoyed it. I got to know the people in my advisory much better than before by participating in various activities. I would like to go on a similar trip again, but would rather go in the beginning of the year without the worry of APs” – Samantha Kim (‘18).
“It was a great advisory bonding experience and a great way to meet new people. I would definitely go again” – Sara Kim (‘18).
For once, the sophomores and teachers were able to detach their minds off of work, studying, hagwons, tests, and electronics, and instead take the time to look at nature and experience what normally wouldn’t have been possible back in the hectic city. It is true that in the beginning, there were various complaints revolving the E.E trip, especially upon the decision to make roommates random and how the dates of the trip clashed with preparation for the AP exams to be taken in May. However, even throughout the trip with injuries and accidents, sharing the same room with awkward people, and perhaps with not the best cafeteria food, it seems as though the E.E trip did bring something special to many sophomore students.
– Sammie Kim (’18)