STEP Homestay Programme 2019/2020
“22 Year 2 and 3 students participated in the STEP Homestay Programme 2019 from 5 to 12 Nov. During our 8-day stay there, we visited many attractions in Rayong province of Thailand. Some highlights included us learning Muay Thai and participating in the Loy Kratong festival.
Upon arriving at the Bangkok airport on 5 Nov, we were warmly welcomed by the teachers and students of Rayongwittayakom School. Our buddies held up cute signs handcrafted by them so that we could identify them. We then proceeded to Rayongwittayakom School. I did not expect to see so many activities in the school that afternoon – there was a gigantic field with an ongoing softball match. There were many people at the grandstand. Students were cheering their teams on with drums and everyone was clapping and cheering on their respective teams. It impressed me to see such enthusiastic students and a lively school spirit.
Another memorable activity was the welcome ceremony for us on Day 2. There were performances lined up for us such as cheers from each of their houses and a cheerleading routine from the cheerleaders. Their extreme enthusiasm and eagerness was heartwarming to me as a visitor. On the same day we headed to a Thai boxing gym to learn Muay Thai. We learnt the basic boxing moves, as well as some kicks. It was definitely challenging as there was a language barrier between us and our instructors but with the patient guidance from our buddies, we were able to perform the techniques. Through our buddies’ constant encouragement, we were able to pick up the basic skills and improve our techniques.
On Day 7, I witnessed the Loy Kratong festival, a cultural celebration which I was completely new to. I later understood that this festival originated from an ancient rural practice of paying respect to water spirits. It was the night of the full moon and I saw many locals launching their Krathong (a small container made of leaves) in waterways. I was lucky enough to experience this, and I made a wish and let my flower basket float along the river. There were also a wide variety of food stalls selling cheap and delectable food as well as many carnival game stalls and live performances.
All in all, this trip was enjoyable and memorable. Not only was I able to learn about another culture, but I also got to make many new friends. From Day 1, our host families treated us like their own children and continuously showered us with love and care. I am very thankful for this opportunity and the friendship and strong bond forged with my buddy and host family through this STEP homestay programme.”
Joelle Chan (19Y2G)