Gearing up for the IB Journey at Sun Island

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” For the cohort of students entering Year 12 at Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (YCIS) this year, they are coming together as they commence the incredible two-year academic journey of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), a programme which is renowned internationally for its academic rigour and university preparedness. 


In order for this group to further develop their close-knit bond that will support them as they embark on the IBDP together, at the beginning of each school year, YCIS Puxi Secondary Year 12 students participate in a retreat outside of Shanghai, spending three days and two nights at the Sun Island Resort in an area of natural beauty that has a long history dating back to the Tang Dynasty. This year, 46 students and 6 staff went on this team-building trip with the aim of bonding with each other, developing a better understanding of the IBDP programme, fostering relationships with between students and teachers, as well as focusing on goals and skills development needed for the IBDP, including time management and adapting mindsets to focus on achieving success. 


Despite some spots of rain, spirits certainly weren’t dampened as the students took part in a wide range of activities both indoors and outdoors during the trip, creating many opportunities for the students to get to know each other better and to create lasting bonds. From go-karting to swimming, a quiz night, and much more, the students had fun with their classmates all while building friendships. One of the most popular activities saw students spending the afternoon working in groups to produce creative comedic skits revolving around the IB theme, which they performed in front of one another later that evening. Not only were these great ways to unwind, but they also helped the students work in teams and to start thinking about what is at the core of the IBDP.


According to Mr Jonathan Evans, YCIS Puxi Secondary IB Coordinator, the Sun Island trip marked the beginning of the students’ IB learning journeys and was the perfect time for them to bond and to reflect on their future studies. “The retreat allowed students to develop a sense of community as learners and to recognise that they are all in this journey together. Through this, students are able to enhance their support networks. They are also able to begin thinking about the notions of International Mindedness and intercultural awareness – themes that recur throughout the entire IB programme,” he said. “The students also got to know some of the important school personnel who are here to support them as they complete the Diploma, and they had the opportunity to reflect on themselves as learners, what their personal goals are for their studies, and what steps they might need to take to achieve those goals,” added Mr Evans.

The Sun Island retreat is always something students speak fondly about, and it has a lot of value for every Year 12 cohort. According to Mr Evans, this year was no different. “It is a wonderful tradition at the school, and it is something that helps to set students up for success as they complete their IB Diploma,” he reflected. After returning from the trip, the academic work has commenced, and the Year 12 students have started making preparations for beginning their Extended Essays and more as they delve into the programme, but with the support of their classmates and by working together, they are sure to achieve success.

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