In a unique and transformative educational experience, students participating in the TASIS Leadership Academy (TLA) embarked on a school trip to Thailand, delving into a rich cultural tapestry while honing their leadership skills.
TASIS England is proud to offer this unique leadership academy. The TLA is an 18-month leadership development program that takes place over three phases and starts in tenth grade. Phase 1 includes a series of seminars that take place from January to May. Students attend weekly sessions to explore three pathways of leadership and human-centered design. Phase 2 revolves around a service trip and usually takes place in June. Students use this travel experience to consolidate what they learned during the seminars and put the theories into practice. Phase 3 is the capstone project, which takes place from August to May of eleventh grade. During this time, students have weekly mentioning meetings to collaborate and work on their projects.
The students who were accepted into the TLA program participated in this expedition to Thailand. It was carefully designed to immerse participants in the country's vibrant traditions and landscapes while providing an unparalleled opportunity for students to expand their global perspectives and develop essential leadership qualities. From navigating bustling markets to engaging in community service initiatives, this excursion aimed to cultivate cultural awareness and instill a sense of responsibility and adaptability in the next generation of leaders. As the students returned home, their experiences in Thailand promised to leave a lasting mark on their personal and leadership development.
The journey fostered a remarkable environment for leadership development, with immersive experiences that deliberately encouraged the students to step outside their comfort zones and challenged them to adapt, communicate effectively, and problem-solve in real-world situations. By navigating the Thai culture and embracing the unfamiliar, the students gained an understanding of the importance of flexibility and resilience in leadership. Whether participating in community service initiatives or collaborating on group projects, each moment provided an opportunity for students to discover their strengths and capabilities, ultimately instilling a newfound confidence that will serve them well in the future. As they embraced the unknown, these students expanded their horizons and emerged with a heightened sense of self-assurance and a deeper understanding of the diverse perspectives that contribute to effective leadership.
Throughout their trip to Thailand, the students actively reflected on their experiences. They visited the Poo Poo Paper Park where they learned about upcycling elephant dung into paper. Kiera C noticed the environmental impact of excessive paper usage, saying, "We use so much paper at school, which is incredibly bad for the environment. But if we started to invest in upcycling like The Poo Poo Paper Park we could eliminate a lot of that waste.” This could lead to discussions on sustainable practices for TASIS. Later, the students explored Thai history and culture at the Sanpatong Experiential Education Center (SEEC). Rukmina enjoyed the Umbrella Factory, mentioning that “it was fascinating to learn that the fabric for the umbrellas was created with mulberry trees.”
During a caving expedition, they discussed leadership qualities, with Will realizing that "a good leader should not be afraid of paving a new path and should not be afraid of failure." Lastly, Ben and Kiera C reflected on the trip, noting, "This experience taught us that true leadership is not about individual achievements but about inspiring and guiding others towards a shared vision." The students will actively apply their insights as they continue to pursue their growth as leaders, both at school and in their communities.
The leadership trip to Thailand proved to be a multifaceted and impactful experience for the students. Beyond the picturesque landscapes and cultural immersion, the journey challenged the students to test their capabilities, fostering adaptability and resilience. Engaging in thoughtful reflections, the students connected their experiences to practical applications, addressing issues like environmental sustainability and applying newfound leadership insights. From the innovative practices of the Poo Poo Paper Park to the historical exploration at the Sanpatong Experiential Education Center, the thoughtful discussions during the caving expedition, and many more, each encounter contributed to a holistic understanding of leadership. The trip undoubtedly left an enduring impact on their educational journey and will help to shape them into well-rounded leaders of tomorrow.