This past spring break, nearly 70 students and staff from the American School of Doha (ASD) participated in an ASD International Service Trip. Highlighting the ASD transition to a Learning Service philosophy, many of the new trip offerings by the ASD focus more around examining issues surrounding development.
According to ASD’s IB CAS Coordinator, Mr. Chi-Yan Shang, “While working on site, we try to get our students to step back and examine the issues related to the project they are working on, whether it be poverty, access to education, or something that might be totally outside of the box. We try to get students to learn more about their experience since in the past, many of our students have missed the forest for the trees when they participate on one of these projects, focusing solely on the end product, whether it be a completed building, collecting data or something similar. Aligning all of our trips to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals also helps frame these trips in the right way for students, forcing them to learn more about the issues that generate the need for these projects.”
Approximately 17 students accompanied by Mr. Steven Shantz, Ms. Marcia Jones and Ms. Meghan Burns, worked with World Volunteer, an NGO in Laos that is working with a local village, currently reliant on subsistence farming, to build a series of Trekking Eco-Lodges that will make the community self-sufficient. This is World Volunteer’s only project in the world, and their main goal is to empower this indigenous community just outside of Luang Prabang by working with them to develop sustainable tourism. Students also visited the Kuang Si Waterfalls and Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nineteen students led by Mr. Trevor Dufresne, Mr. Douglas Loomer and, Ms. Pamela Keigley travelled to Amayuelas, Spain to learn about sustainable living and what this means for the future. Sponsored by the ASD’s Environment Club, this trip was the result of an imitative by the club’s president, Tyler Stotland, to bring about a new conservation strand trip that focused on sustainability in terms of human consumption and living. Most of the ASD’s other conservation strand trips deal more with the science and monitoring of endangered species. Students also visited important cultural sites in Madrid and Sebulcor.
The ASD’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity worked to build a house in Phuket, Thailand with 30 volunteers led by Dr. Timothy Coble, Ms. Anki Dzido, Mr. Michael Ortman, Ms. Kathy Ortman and Ms. Sara Tayeh. The ASD’s chapter of Habitat was a student initiated legacy project, started by Tala Abujbara in 2009 and is committed to providing decent housing for individuals in the developing world. ASD’s chapter of Habitat has worked regularly in Thailand since its inception.
ASD’s international experiences are undertaken in support of ASD’s commitment to foster opportunities for students to become positive, active, global citizens. The ASD International Service Trips have grown since the first service trip to Tanzania in 2008, to a programme which includes trips all aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The philosophy behind these trips is that by taking students to a new culture and environment, issues that are common to humanity can be highlighted in this context. Students are also encouraged to share their learning with other students, most notably this year at ASD’s first Celebration of Learning Service.
High School Science/IB CAS Coordinator