By Diya Suriya

“Education is a life-long journey whose destination expands as you travel,”  said Jim Stoval. The best way to gain knowledge and exposure, step way beyond the four walls of a classroom school trips are a great way to improve students’ social skills, willingness to travel, gaining exposure and life skills. Spending time outside the school environment with your classmates could teach you a lot about one another. The environment is more relaxed which helps students and teachers get to know each other’s personalities better. Trips also help students to learn the skill of independence. It teaches them to look after their belongings and manage their time. These are highly important learning experiences we can not gain from a textbook, so grades 6-10 visited various locations in Karjat, like the Art Village, Jungle Lore Farmstead, and Royal Camp Karjat. The various trips each of the grades went on definitely opened everyone’s eyes to how close these locations are to Mumbai and how accessible waterfalls and scenic treks are to us. 

Grade 10 visited Jungle lore Farmstead. The place was extremely calm and tranquil, and they had jam-packed back-to-back activities. Although the 10th graders had separate rooms, they all felt close to each other and together. There was a shared space in the Farmstead where the 10th graders hung out, engaged in activities and spent time with each other. Pritha Nag, a student in the 10th grade described the place as “It was a very nice and tight-knit place that made me wish I had stayed longer there.” Grade 10 had many nature-oriented activities planned out for them in Karjat, one being a trek to the waterfalls. The final destination of the trek proceeded with everyone swimming and having a good time inside the waterfalls. The 4 hours trek exhausted the entire class, but trekking with your whole class had its positive experiences of its own. We were able to talk with each other, make jokes and also face the obstacles the trek threw at us together. Pritha says the trek is something completely new she tried. She also described her feeling as she reached the final destination, stating “I also really liked when we reached our destination the rewarding feeling it gave me, and the fact that we could go to the waterfall, swim in it and have fun all together in it.” This trip also opened a new perspective in terms of self-growth and knowledge about Karjat. Pritha, on this trip, learnt that she was resilient. “While on the trek I grew tired and needed to take a few breaks, I never stopped the trek and continued going.” She also explained that this trip helped her appreciate the accessibility of a beautiful outdoor environment. Furthermore this trip made students disconnect from their phones. Pritha Nag described this as a positive experience. She says “ I found that it was nice that we all didn’t have our phones, because we all had to actually talk to each other, fully interact in the activities. It also made me feel more connected towards my classmates!” 

Grade 9 visited “art village”, a creative place nested in the hills of Karjat about 2 hours away. The 9th graders describe the atmosphere of the art village as very pleasant because the place was clean. The area Grade 9 stayed in was filled with trees and farms with growing crops. There was a shed which housed horses, roosters and killer rabbits. The houses they stayed at were built with sun-dried bricks. There was also a great amount of open space for the class to play, relax and gain an enjoyable experience. An unforgettable activity Grade 9 experienced together was knee sliding and playing volleyball during downtime. On the first day of the trip, the class played volleyball in the rain and knee-sliding in the muck. Shreyan Gorantala a member of the Ascent as well as a 9th grader says “The teachers also joined in and played volleyball with us which was an enjoyable experience for all!”  The workshops also were a highlight of the trip. In their campus tour, they said 5-7 acres of land, where they were taught about different farming techniques, crop health and maintenance. Shreyan goes on to say “They also told us how they made their own roots, and mud for the plants to grow, emphasizing that they were sustainable and clean.” In Mumbai, we can’t always learn about sustainability, because of the bustling nature and the business, and Shreyan carries on with “This was also a thing I learned about the place, and the techniques of farming couldn’t have been done in school, and required professionals and real-life build for deeper understanding.”  

Grade 7&8 visited the Durshet camp in Karjat, and they describe the place as tidy and comfortable. Vidu Rodewald from Grade 8 explains his favourite activity from the camp, “I liked the adventure course because it was fun, and we normally don’t do activities like ziplining in school, although I had been on a zipline before it was still a new experience.” A huge takeaway from this trip for Grade 8 was their ability to work together and be leaders. The class also had a newfound appreciation for nature. As Vidu says “ At school we often overlook things such as the trees or the bushes, making us disconnected to it. The camp was a great opportunity to be around nature.” The 7th and 8th graders describe the Durshet camp as surrounded by plants and greenery with their housing in the midst of it. Ira Gandhi from Grade 7 said, “ It felt like staying at a camp away from home, but with your friends”. Grade 7’s favourite memory from this trip was the impromptu dance party. This unplanned event got everyone dancing to their favourite songs. Ira said– “Suddenly everyone was dancing and singing music at the top of their lungs. This was my favourite event from the camp” Grade 7 practised being independent throughout this trip, from doing their own packing and unpacking and keeping their rooms organized. Ira says “I learnt how to live by myself and not be dependent on others to exist.” 

Grade 6 went to Royal Camp Karjat. It was an exquisite and nature-oriented space. The area was open which resulted in the students being outdoors most of the time. Many team activities were conducted on this trip which tested their teamwork and coordination. Advika Maheshwary from Grade 6, expressed– “I definitely had not done something like this before and the activities were very different” This trip resulted in the students learning many valuable things. Such as the importance of drinking water, and the positives of being outdoors and in the heat. Advika added that she learnt “ You can make something delicious even with limited and compromised ingredients. 

After not being on trips for the whole of the covid quarantine duration, their trips were definitely an enjoyable experience for the whole of MYP. It opened their eyes to the many activities Karjat could provide to them and help them create new experiences and memories. More importantly, the student learnt about their independence, perseverance and tolerance which are assets that are greatly valued in their educational journey in class and out of class. 

A collection of articles by the students of Ascend International School