Our belief in the programme
Since 2018, one of the signature programmes for the entire secondary three cohort is the Overseas Learning Journey (OLJ) that marks the end of the academic year. The school’s Internationalisation Programme belief is that it forms a part of our provision for a holistic education within the classroom and without. As such, we are committed to provide every student with an opportunity to travel overseas with the school at least once in their 4-5 years of education with us.
The objectives of Trips for International Experience (TIE)
- Deepen in our students the 21CC of global awareness and cross-cultural skills and sensitivities.
- Expose students to Asia with a greater focus on ASEAN countries and sensitise them to the place of Singapore in the world.
- Strengthen students’ commitment and rootedness to Singapore.
In 2019, a total of 6 OLJ destinations were organised from Malaysia to Thailand, Vietnam and China.
Annually, the school will identify various destinations with emphasis on ASEAN countries for students to select. Each trip is headed by one of the Secondary 3 Form Teachers (FTs) with other FTs acting as chaperones for all the trips organized. This process offers opportunities for all involved to not only build a stronger teacher-student rapport outside a classroom setting but more importantly, allows for greater social mixing with other students across the classes and streams. Each trip’s itinerary will also include an immersion experience with a hosting school helping students learn about the lives of their peers abroad.
The strengths of the OLJ
- Powerful learning experience to help students develop confidence, independence and responsibility through immersion in a different environment.
- Develop understanding of another country’s culture, history and development broadening the students’ world view.
- Opportunities for interaction with Meridian schoolmates and overseas friends.
At the end of each trip, through their reflections and feedback, students have recorded overwhelming support for the programme as they have gained much from the OLJ experience; from learning about themselves and others; about the culture and life of the places and countries they have visited and how much they have learnt about Singapore’s place in the world. The most priceless impact of the OLJ is that the students expressed a greater sense of appreciation for our country.
2018 Overseas Learning Journey to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Description of event
37 Secondary Three students visited Ho Chi Minh City on a memorable culture-rich learning experience.
During the 4 day trip, student participants were able to broaden their world view and develop an appreciation for the rich Vietnamese heritage and culture through various activities.
They visited places of interest like War Remnant Museum and Cu Chi Tunnels to understand the Vietnam War.
In addition, they also visited a local school where they interacted with local students and learnt about the different culture of learning.
2018 Overseas Learning Journey to Chiang Mai, Thailand
2018 Overseas Learning Journey to Hanoi, Vietnam
2017 Beijing, China Overseas Learning Journey
|The Beijing trip was truly an eye-opening experience for many. Through the visits to the various historical and cultural attractions, students experienced the local lifestyle and appreciated the richness and nuances of old Beijing. Through school exchange experiences to our twinning schools, Lu Xun High School and No. 66 Middle School, Meridians forged friendships with their counterparts and experienced school life of a typical Beijing student. In meaningful and diverse ways, Meridians learnt valuable life lessons and brought back memories that would last for a long time to come. Here’s what some of them have to say!|
|“We visited two schools which is Lu Xun high school and No.66 Middle School. We actually realised that the school system is quite similar to the Singapore system, for example the rules of the school. The school exchange programme motivated me to study harder. Through the Beijing trip, I learn to persevere throughout the tough times that I face when I am doing my homework or doing something for the first time. I recommend you to go for this trip with your friends as you can spend time with your friends and your teachers. I also recommend this trip to those who want to know more about this country to go for this trip and those who are quite sporty. I would like to thank the school for organising the overseas trip for us.”Fidelia, 3E4|
|“The Beijing trip taught me how to be more appreciative of what I already have back here in Singapore. I learned how not to take things like education for granted. Being in a foreign country, I have grown to be more independent to watch over myself. My personal highlight of the trip was being able to reach the highest point of the Great Wall of China. The fact that not many of us were successful in climbing the wall made my experience much more memorable. I felt proud. The sense of satisfaction was very rewarding. The school exchange experience showed me how the locals there studied. I realised many differences from education in Singapore as compared to that of china. Their classes were at a faster pace than back home at Singapore. In conclusion, the trip was a very fun and educational experience. It has benefited me as a human and as a student. I have learned many things along the way and if I was given the chance to go there again, I would take it!”Ilyas, 3E5|
|The number one highlight of the trip was climbing the Great Wall of China. As one of the 7 wonders of the world, it just simply took my breath away, especially when I climbed it. My buddy, Deena & I motivated each other to climb to the top and we were the only two girls who reached the highest. The fact that we both weren’t even friends before the start of the trip made me think about how easily we can click with people if we just put in the effort.|
|I simply loved the school exchange program experience. It opened my eyes as all this while I was very shallow-minded and thought that the students in China were those stereotypical Asians who were nerdy and boring. My buddy was an amazing student that was very smart and fun, and luckily, she spoke English very well which made me relieved as I could not speak Chinese at all. Although we got to know each other for only 2 days it felt as if we were all really good friends.Beijing has been such a wonderful experience for me. I’d like to thank the teachers for putting up with all our nonsense and complaining. You guys made the trip a great one & I thank you for that.
|I learnt to be independent during my trip to Beijing. When I was in Beijing, it was very different then when I am at home. I don’t have my parents to help me fold my clothes, I don’t have my parents to help me pack and prepare my necessities for the next day. After being independent for 6 days, I realised that I don’t rely on my parents as much anymore when I come back to Singapore. I also bonded more with my friends through the trip and I experienced many funny and interesting moments there. I felt that the school exchange was interesting as I learnt the difference in the learning attitudes of the students as well the learning environment. An example would be the number of students in a class, in Beijing it would be lesser students in a class compared to Singapore. When I entered their classroom, I can feel that the students there take studying very seriously and I realise that we can all learn to be more proactive in our studies. I would encourage all Meridians to choose Beijing as your overseas learning journey trip as you would have opportunities to do things that you normally would not have the chance to do!Jourdan, 3E3|
|I have learnt to be more independent during this trip as it requires us to take care of ourselves and be accountable for our personal belongings. One highlight from the trip was the rickshaw tour. We had a 10 minute tour around the streets of Hutongs. The narrow alleys were formed by traditional courtyard residences reflecting a calming and beautiful sight. The Great Wall was another highlight as it was one of the hardest obstacles that we had to try and overcome. Going to Beijing helped me to open up and learn more about their culture. The difference in culture made me learn to appreciate what we take for granted in Singapore. Despite the language barrier, we were able to have fun conversations with each other.
2017 Kuching, Sarawak Overseas Learning Journey
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Overseas Learning Journey Trip May 2017
|| Overview of the trip The Ho Chi Minh City trip proved to be memorable for the student participants who embarked on this journey looking for a culture-rich learning adventure experience.
Student participants were able to broaden their world view and develop an appreciation for the rich Vietnamese heritage and culture, through various experiences of interaction.
As a new merger school of Coral Secondary School and Siglap Secondary School, this trip has helped to forge new friendships among students from both schools and the juniors who have just joined the Meridian family.
Below, you will find the highlights of the trip, together with students’ thoughts.
|A compelling exhibition that documents the incidents during the long and gruelling Vietnam war and preserves artefacts and memories of those who experienced the war in one way or another.It was an emotional experience for many as a few student participants shed tears of sorrow for the fate of those unfortunate Vietnamese.|
|| War Remnant Museum“The Vietnam War Remnants Museum had exposed me to the country’s fascinating, yet brutal history. I had the opportunity to view many gory photos, which cannot be found on the Internet, and read about how people suffered during the war. I was also able to learn of the aftermath of the war and how the country is still recovering from it even in present day. This has made me realise that we are very blessed to be in Singapore and that we should never ever take what we have for granted.”
Raynah Lim, 2E3 (2017)
|Golden Dragon Water Puppet TheatreAn entertaining and artistic display of traditional Vietnamese culture in the form of elaborate puppets gliding through the water with live music accompaniment and narration in the local language. Vietnamese water puppet shows have gained recognition for its seamless transitions and realistic depiction of the Vietnamese life.
“A very attractive show – no wonder it is very famous in Vietnam! It was my favourite part of the trip as I was able to listen to and enjoy a lot of traditional songs that were played live during the show. The skills they had in controlling and manoeuvring the puppets in water was fabulous. Each segment was informative about Vietnam’s culture as it represents something that the locals do like farming and playing. Additionally, what’s amazing is that the water puppet show has a very long history as it used to be performed for the king and queen.”
Annabel Ng, 2A1 (2017)
“The Golden Dragon Water Puppet theatre was a very interesting place to visit as I had the opportunity to learn more about the Vietnamese culture and its wonderful performance. We rarely see this type of performance in Singapore and it was a new experience for me. It is in fact unique to Vietnam!”
Raynah Lim, 2E3 (2017)
|“I really find the school immersion programme segment with Hong Ha Secondary School the best part of the whole Ho Chi Minh City trip. When we arrived at the school, we were greeted warmly by all of them and it felt very welcoming. From there, I knew that I would enjoy my time with them very much and I did! The students there were very friendly and very talented. Some of them casually displayed their talents in playing musical instruments. All of us, both Meridian and Hong Ha students, sang along to many trending English pop songs while some of the students strummed the guitar to provide some live music accompaniment in the background. It was really enjoyable and we really bonded well through our musical interests. Another point to take note of was that the school has been acclaimed to be the champions of tug of war! So, we actually competed with them and won the first round but for the rest of it, they won and they have certainly proved themselves to be the champions. Well, some of us even got hurt which was unfortunate, but, all in all, we had a whole lot of fun! They students might seem a little rugged and all, but they are really, very friendly. If I have the chance to go there again, I wouldn’t even need to think twice!” Nurul Najwa, 3A4 (2017)
At Hong Ha Secondary School, I had the opportunity to learn more about the different education systems in Vietnam as shared by the teachers and fellow students there. With that information, I was able to make comparisons between Vietnam and Singapore’s education systems and see the merits in both. I also had the wonderful opportunity to make friends with two girls who were very friendly and nice. All in all, it was a great time spent there and I really enjoyed myself at the school.
Raynah Lim, 2E3 (2017)
| My Tho – Mekong Delta“Farming was a fun and new experience for many of us. I learned that the life of the farmers in Vietnam is not easy. I feel that I’m very fortunate to be living in Singapore where everything is very modern and developed, and also to be living a much easier life. Anyways, the trial farming experience was very therapeutic. All of us felt like we were in a mud spa with the soft clayey mud getting in between our toes as we slowly sink in our feet. Besides that, planting of seeds got us quite competitive and territorial as we kept on boasting our own neat rows! Haha! Fun times!”
Raynah Lim, 2E3 (2017)
|“I feel that this trip was really interesting as I got to learn more about the history of Vietnam. I enjoyed visiting the memorial sites as I got to experience in real life the historical events that happened there. I also enjoyed the long bus journeys traveling from the city to the various countryside locations. I would look out the window and be mesmerised by the beautiful scenery and abundance of space that you can’t experience in Singapore.”
Claudia Loo, 1E3 (2017)
| “The best moment of the Vietnam trip is when I befriended some of the students in Hong Ha Secondary School which we visited on the second day of the trip, of whom I still keep in contact with until today. In this Vietnam trip, I also learned more about the history of Vietnam, specifically about the Vietnam hero Ho Chi Minh, and bonded with my fellow Meridian schoolmates and friends. I encourage the school to participate in the future Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City trips and you will totally enjoy your time there.”
Danish Sufi, 3T1 (2017)
2017 Hanoi, Vietnam Overseas Learning Journey
5-day 4-night Immersion Programme to Hanoi, Vietnam
This overseas trip to Hanoi in Vietnam is aimed at expanding the world view of students through understanding the tumultuous and complex heritage of Vietnam’s history as well as appreciating its rich culture through understanding the country’s colonial influences from the Chinese, Khmer and French occupation. Students would then better comprehend Singapore’s resilience in her own struggle to independence through understanding the Vietnamese’ strong value of nationalism in their efforts for peace in their country. Also, through a cultural immersion programme with a local school, Le Quy Don Junior High School, the value of humility in learning from others is encouraged. In the 5 days in Hanoi, the places visited included the Temple of Literature, Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Stilt House. The students visited Dong Trieu Village where they undertook the role of farmers planting rice and catching fishes. The group also visited Trang An Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and made comparison with Singapore Botanic Gardens to understand the significance of this award.
Reflections by students
I chose to spend my holidays differently this year by signing up for the school’s overseas learning journey to Vietnam. Although I was initially apprehensive about going by myself, this trip proved to be much more rewarding than I had expected. For example, the water puppet show provided much insights about how farmers made use of the surrounding conditions, like the flooded rice fields, to present interesting puppet shows to celebrate bountiful harvests. As I visited the National Museum, I had a further glimpse into the rich history of Vietnam. One of the best memories I had was the visit to the Old Quarters in Hanoi. I am amazed at how the roads in the area were closed during weekends to cater to the huge influx of locals roaming around the Hoan Kiem Lake for their family time. The visit to Le Qui Don Junior High School was a valuable learning experience. I was awestruck by their celebrations of Halloween with their performance, fashion show, carnival and even lessons with this festival as the theme of learning. I was especially fascinated with their song and dance segment. It is apparent that much effort had been used in their preparation for the concert. The most amazing experience was actually from Dong Trieu Village, where we learn how to plant rice seedlings into the paddy fields and catch fishes for our dinner! The unforgettable moment was when we visited the Trang An Grottoes at Ninh Binh. The river was so clean that I could see plenty of green vegetation at the bottom. It was such a break from the city that I felt rejuvenated as I cruised along the river on the boat. I would like to thank the school for providing this opportunity for me to attend this overseas trip. The lessons learnt from this were much more than those I have learnt from the classroom.
– Naden Jarel Anthony Koh (Class 3E1)
During the recent overseas trip to Vietnam, I have learnt many new things through understanding the history and culture of Vietnam as well as forging new friendships. This trip was filled with many fun activities like catching fishes, watching a water puppet show and more.
On the first day, we got to visit the famous Temple of Literature and watch a water puppet show. The Temple of Literature helped me understand about the influence the Chinese scholar, Confucius, has in Vietnam and how much the Vietnamese value education. As for the water puppet show, I was impressed at how the puppeteers maneuvered the puppets so smoothly in the water.
On the second day, we got to visit two museums and I realized how much the history of Vietnam was influenced by the colonization of the French and the Chinese. The shopping at Old Quarters was therapeutic because there was such a vast array of goods at really affordable prices and I bought many gifts for my family and friends in Singapore.
The visit to Le Quy Don Junior High School on the third day was an eye-opener. The pupils in the school had put up an amazing celebration of Halloween. Besides a concert at the beginning, the school had organized a carnival too where each class put up a game stall or a food stall. Using their entrepreneurial spirit, each class tried to cajole customers to their stalls and purchase their products or to play their games. We had a glimpse into the classroom teaching of an English lesson and we had an enjoyable time learning new vocabulary terms on the theme of Halloween. For me, the humbling part was about planting rice in the flooded paddy fields and catching fishes for our dinner. It was a back-breaking job and I truly appreciate the food the farmers grew.
On the fourth day, I got the chance to scale up a mountain by bus and visit a three-tier pagoda inside a cave. The view at the top of the mountain took my breath away.
Overall, this trip had been an amazing experience for me. Besides learning so much about Vietnam, I had the opportunity to bond with my friends and also made new friends.
Tran Bao Nguyen Andy (Class 1E2)