This year’s event took place in the northern province of Chiang Mai, where students and teachers took part in authentic learning activities influenced by northern-style traditions.
Upon arrival to Chiang Mai, students and staff paid a visit to Sirikit Botanic Garden, located in the lush mountains of Doi Suthep. Students got the chance to explore multiple exhibition conservatories and glasshouses, as well as the canopy walkway which offers a view of the botanical gardens from the tree tops.
The following day was spent at the Bo Sang Handicraft centre, where local artisans taught students how to make handmade umbrellas and parasols out of saa paper (from the Mulberry tree) using a variety of different techniques. As a group, students were able to participate in the making of their own parasols, as well as hand paint them to their liking.
Later that day, students and staff visited Pa Bong village, renowned for its handmade, woven bamboo products. Students were not only educated about the history of the village, but also experienced first-hand how to make small handicrafts out of bamboo, such as fans, flowers, and baskets.
The final component of the day consisted of dinner and a performance at Khum Khantoke, where tasty, authentic northern style Thai food was served, along with a series of entertaining, classical dances from Thailand.
The third day was spent on the outskirts of Chiang Mai at Doi Inthanon National Park. Everyone received the opportunity to tour the park, with its beautiful gardens and waterfalls, as well as to learn about the area’s history and sustainable agriculture practices which help to supply other areas of Thailand with food.
As an additional incentive, students and staff received a private tour of the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, complete with time-lapse videos of space and information about how Thailand tracks its weather conditions.
In the final days of exploring around Chiang Mai, the Pa Hom Herbal workshop was a favourite destination for many students. Located in the village of Baa Kluay, which relies primarily upon agriculture for its livelihood, Pa Hom Herbal Workshop concentrates on the creation of herbal health products and medicines.
Satree students had the opportunity to learn from the lovely “Maw Hom”, a specialist in this field, who demonstrated the process of making herbal compress balls and lip balm from local, natural resources. Each activity was focused on group participation and applying the knowledge they learned about different herbs to create their own product.
The last few days in Chiang Mai ended with trips to different night markets to rewind after a long day of activities and try out some tasty local food.
Before heading back to Phuket, students and staff spent the final day at Yupparaj Wittayalai School, a sister school of Satree Phuket IPC.
The school performed a welcoming ceremony, followed by student-centred workshops, including how to make the traditional northern-style dish, khao soi, as well as how to dance and play the drums to classical, northern-Thai music.
As part of the learning process of each OCL trip, students reflected on their personal experiences by completing a daily journal, as well as a video presentation to share with future students, educators and parents about their unique adventures exploring Chiang Mai.
By Brittany Martens