Week Without Walls saw International Christian Students pushing boundaries

By YP cadet Charlotte Fong

The International Christian School annual programme takes students out of their comfort zones to learn more about the world and how they can contribute to it

By YP cadet Charlotte Fong |

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Not only did the students build relationships and experiences, they also built walls while they were in Indonesia.

A common misconception is that students can only learn inside the classroom walls, with a teacher yapping at them and a book laid on their desks. But Week Without Walls proves that this is not the case.

Every year, students at International Christian School participate in Week Without Walls. During that week, they travel to different places to do fun activities and serve people from different backgrounds.

This year, Week Without Walls ran from November 9 to 13. Students could choose from trips focused on service or ones that are mainly for fun. However, they must participate in at least one service trip during their time at school.

Teachers organised trips to both local and overseas locations. Of course, many students signed up for overseas trips as they provided an opportunity for them to visit new places and bond with classmates.

“It was awesome!” exclaimed Harriet Mak, 13, when she was asked about her week in Vietnam. “We got to see beautiful scenery and interact with disabled children.”

Ellie Hong (2nd from left) and Michele Leung (far right) bonding with Indonesian kids.
Photo: Timothy Mak

The participants learned more about Vietnamese culture, and helped out at local schools and orphanages. “I’m happy with what I have after going to Vietnam. Because in Vietnam, we saw a lot of poor people,” Harriet said.

Week Without Walls was an eye-opening experience for new student Daphne Liang. She went to Cambodia to teach and play with local children.

“It was fun and the kids were really nice,” said Daphne. “Even though they don’t have a lot of things, they are still really happy.”

The trip wasn’t only about playing and having fun, it also involved mud and sweat. Daphne’s legs were covered with mosquito bites after she came back from Cambodia, but she thought that it was a small price to pay for all that she learned from the experience.

But making a difference doesn’t necessarily mean you have to help people in faraway countries. Eighth grade student Annabelle Lim chose to go to Xiamen, on the mainland, and give back to our homeland.


She taught students in a couple schools by singing songs and playing games with them. She also got to know her schoolmates better as they spent time together over the week.

Annabelle was really glad that she chose this trip. “Overall, I really enjoyed it because I had the chance to meet different people as well as to serve God,” she said.

“We assume that we’re better than everyone else but that’s not true. We can always learn something through other people,” Annabelle remarked.

Humanities teacher Ms Lauren Waymire went on a trip to Indonesia and spent quality time with her students. “As a teacher, I was excited to get to know them and spend time with them building relationships,” said Ms Waymire. “We get to have really special shared moments outside of the classroom. When we’re in environments like that, our roles change a little bit and it’s a privilege to have those moments together.”

Shannon Tao helping an Indonesian child with some school work.
Photo: Timothy Mak

The trip was challenging for many students, and a good opportunity for them to step outside their comfort zones. During the trip, students had the opportunity to jump from a deck that was several metres high into the ocean. They also hiked five kilometres through a jungle to a waterfall, where they climbed up big boulders and jumped into a pool underneath the waterfall. For many students, these were things they had never experienced before.

Apart from testing the limits and challenging themselves, they played with kids in local villages and taught them English. They also did manual labor such as mixing concrete and building walls. All of which were tiring tasks yet valuable experiences.

“It was fun bonding where everyone kind of chose everyone. No one was left out, everyone got to participate,” said Ms Waymire. “It was a wonderful time that I will always treasure with these students.”

A week away from school doesn’t mean that the students are going to play all day and miss out on their learning. In fact, they learn through unforgettable first-hand experiences that no amount of schoolwork can teach them.