Singapore-Thailand Enhanced Partnership (STEP) Homestay in Rayong (1 – 8 Nov 2017)
On 1 November 2017, a group of 13 Dunmanians and 4 teachers left Singapore for Rayong, Thailand as part of the Singapore-Thailand Enhanced Partnership (STEP) programme. STEP is a homestay programme that provides the opportunity for students to learn and appreciate a different culture and way of life.
From Day 1, both students and teachers got to experience the warm and generous hospitality of the Thai people. The first encounter with the Thais left a deep impression on everyone as student Chloe Cadence Tay Ruiyi from 17Y3D mentioned:
“On the first day, upon arriving at Rayongwittayakom School, I was taken aback by the warm welcome by the students and teachers. We were greeted with the loud drumming and cheers of the students. I was quite surprised by their enthusiasm as it was different from how we usually welcome guests in Singapore. It was slightly overwhelming, yet it filled me with an unspeakable warmth, knowing that I was welcomed and that they were really excited to see us.”
One of the highlights of STEP was the homestay programme where students were given the opportunity to stay with their host family throughout the trip. 17Y2J Tan York Yang had this to say about his homestay experience:
“Being able to stay in my buddy’s home for a week has allowed me to experience the ‘legendary’ Thai hospitality. My buddy and his family members were very kind to me and treated me as though I was a part of the family. Staying with them also gave me the opportunity to learn more about local cultures and festivals such as the Loi Krathong festival, as well as the various Thai delicacies from the visits to the local night markets.”
Last, but not least, 17Y3D Delphine Sim Yingting, shared what she has observed and learnt from the trip:
“During the flag raising in Rayongwittayakom School, I observed that most students sang the national anthem loudly with pride and enthusiasm. Students would also greet the teachers with a ‘wai’ (bringing both palms together and bowing respectfully while saying “Sawatdee”) upon entering the school compound and this shows the importance of respect for elders. I have also learnt that we should not take the public transportation in Singapore for granted. We should not complain about the MRT delays because in some countries, public transportation is not readily available. I also appreciate the fact that the people in Thailand were so generous and hospitable towards us. I think my Thai buddy was tired sometimes but she always had a smile on her face whenever I talked to her. Teacher Adis also stayed up late just to do a video montage for us but he tried to not show that he was in fact very tired by making jokes and creating a light-hearted atmosphere for us.”
It was heartening to see the students have learnt many things from this trip. It was indeed an enriching experience as learning outside the classroom truly allowed the students to broaden their horizons and to see things from different perspectives. We look forward to receiving our Thai friends in Singapore next year, and hope that we will be able to make it an unforgettable and enjoyable experience for them too!