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Why Travel?


Why travel? Last December my family, some friends and I went to Antarctica. We skied to the South Pole. Before we left, we excitedly told friends about our upcoming expedition. Here are a few of the comments we received, believe it or not, from adults: Is it cold there? Aren’t you afraid of the polar bears? How are you going to ski in the dark? And the best... The South Pole? Is that near the North Pole? There is a good reason why people should travel! But seriously. I stood at the bottom of the world. I walked where no one had ever set foot. The ice cracked deep, deep, deep underneath me, sending my heart into my throat. I skied over snow that sparkled like fields of diamonds. I heard such a profound silence that my heart sounded like thunder. I felt the warmth of the sun while I breathed in freezing cold air.

It was an endless desert, and endless ocean. It was magnificent. I saw love, fear, courage, anger, determination, hopelessness, gentleness, understanding and kindness. I saw the importance of relying on other human beings for survival. I saw selfless encouragement. I saw the importance of human connection, understanding, empathy, humility and resilience. WITHIN THE EMPTINESS – I SAW EVERYTHING.

intro ducing the


megan kedzlie Nationality: New Zealander Birthday: october 24, 1996 Interests: Music, English, History Favorite food: Tuna Sashimi

3 things I can’t live without: iPod, Sushi and Running What makes me unique: Everything Best experience this year: Snorkeling in the Galapagos Something new I did this year: Swimming in the Amazon and petting Elephants

how i came to have twenty-four siblings. I come from an extremely small family. We are all extremely close, and I was always told to value the fact that I am an only child. I was asked multiple times before I joined TGS whether I’d be able to handle the kids around all the time, and the noise, all of which I was not really used to. But I don’t think it really hit me how much TGS changed my perception of “family.” I don’t think it matters about blood or genetics or all those semantics. I think what truely matters is the heart. If there is one thing that the TGS community has, it’s heart, and lots of it. I often find myself talking about TGS when I am with my parents or visiting family and I begin to refer to it as “home,” and that’s because it is. We may move, and we may leave and get new members, but wherever the TGS community is, that is my home.

PEMA TSHERING Nationality: Bhutanese Birthday: May 17, 1996 Interests: Soccer, munch on things, listen to music, PERFUME, make my hair, annoy people, try to crack jokes or in other words try to be funny, squint my eyes, and make dragon noises

Favorite food: “spicy” food 3 things I can’t live without: oxygen, food and clothes What makes me unique: I am “Pema Tshering” Best experience this year: Watching Champions league Finals in Munich. I lost my voice for the next three days. It was just CRAZY. Something new I did this year: Swimming in an Amazon River with heaps of crocs, anacondas and caimans

THE WORLD IS LIKE A BEARD. Things are never the same. Things are never still either. There is always something happening to someone/ something. The same concept applies to growing a beard. Sometimes you like how it looks; sometimes it just seems very hairy. Your perspective keeps changing. Change is unavoidable and henceforth the only thing I am afraid of is myself. My perspective of the world is never the same but it is always positive for sure. I look forward to every day, and often my excitement gets in the way and ruins how I act towards certain things. I see the world pretty much the same way as how someone sees their beard. They are always in a dilemma: “Should I shave it or should I keep it?” My dilemma is: “Is the thing worth a try or not?” Having traveled to many different countries and knowing what’s out in the world, everything is worth a try. Traveling has opened my eyes to a much bigger and prettier dimension. I started to appreciate even the tiniest things, from an ant to a giant mountain. Everything has its own charm and those arms make your life beautiful and a life worth living.

ALICE FLEMMING Nationality: SWEDISH Birthday: october 29, 1995 Interests: Music, art, politics, reading, stalking people on the internet Favorite food: Bagels

3 things I can’t live without: Oxygen, carbon-based foods and water? Just kidding. What makes me unique: That I always say what’s on my mind because everyone’s opinion matters Best experience this year: Seeing my first firefly on the Cayman safari in Tiputini Something new I did this year: Zip-lining and having a Mohawk

I have no friends! When I started this year, I met the new students with a 50/50 mix between fear and excitement. It was scary, and fun. As I got to know them better, I realized that TGS really was going to give me friends for life. I know now that people don’t change separately and grow as individuals but that you grow together as a community. We form and shape each other, good and bad. I also know for sure that I will never meet a group this great again because when 24 geniuses (geniae? geniusi? clearly I’m not one of them) live together, all the discussions go deeper than they would otherwise. We’ve pushed each other further than we would ever have come alone. So when I miss the TGS students, it won’t just be when I’m alone in my room with no cats or friends, not even a cardboard cutout of Ryan Gosling by my side. It will also be when I’m in class or when I’m talking to other people. I will miss you when I am put in a new group of people, and I will miss you when I’m feeling shy or boring. I’ll miss your intellect, your courage, your insight, how funny you are and, most of all, I’ll miss who I am when I’m with you. (Or, maybe I’ll just be happy that there are no empty containers of milk in the fridge and that I’m entirely sure that the plate I take from the cupboard is clean.)



3 things I can’t live without: Water, Food, Air What makes me unique: Myself Best experience this year: Every year people gather around to celebrate my rebirth Something new I did this year: Put on a pair of yellow pants, WENT to the South Pole

Overall, there have been numerous learning experiences, highs and lows, times when I couldn’t stop laughing and times when I’ve cried. It has been a year where I was put to the test mentally, testing my reserves of energy when getting out of bed in the morning became the 100 meter sprint at the Olympics. I couldn’t have asked for a better school year.


This year has definitely been a learning experience for me. I look back now at Ecuador (which seems like yesterday) and see a much younger version of myself. I’ve grown physically (I’m now taller than my mom), and mentally I have become more accustomed to the amount of work that I will need to do in the future. Though I have apparently become cynical (I call myself a realist), I feel that I have also stopped taking rest time and breaks for granted. I have begun to understand the true value of family and what it means to live authentically.

Nationality: undecided Birthday: December 25, 1996 Interests: Myself Favorite food: Croissants


DAVID NAVARRO Nationality: AMERICAN Birthday: July 12, 1996 Interests: food, school, sports, telling boring jokes Favorite food: Anything Italiano, except gelato. No me gusta Gelato, es mas o menos.

3 things I can’t live without: Barbecues, beverages, babes What makes me unique: I sometimes sleep with my eyes open Best experience this year: I can’t really choose one. maybe Galapagos, or hiking a mountain on my last day in Cuenca with a couple guys, or the golden triangle, or maybe the barge now that I look back on it, or maybe Munich, or possibly all the bus rides to these places Something new I did this year: getting a full-body massage, eating a cricket in Thailand, watching the Champions League in football

I travel with my head out the window. In Ecuador I really got the chance to bump up my Spanish-speaking skills. I really enjoyed living in Ecuador because I met up with family I had not seen in a while. I enjoy living in different places – third-world and richer countries. I like seeing the differences between the two. You can really see what’s actually a necessity and is important when you’re in a third-world country. In Thailand we lived on campus, so I can’t say I experienced a lot of Thailand or Chiang Mai, but I enjoyed my time there. Especially on the long road trips through Thailand – I had my head sticking out the window the whole time. Germany was great. The trimester went by so quickly it was unbelievable. Berlin is a really hip and artsy place where you can really express yourself. I like European cities because I feel like there is a lot of life and commotion. But I don’t like Europe on Sundays because pretty much everything is closed. I also enjoyed watching the Champions League in Munich. You sit at these long wooden tables with pretzels and big glasses of beverages. There are so many great German foods. I had this massive German meat platter. My table had put in bets on who would win and how they’d win it. This is what kept me excited during the match. I ended up winning because I called the match 1:1 with overtime and then going into penalty kicks. I won five Euros! Another great experience was climbing Mount Wank. I have always loved hiking mountains and the accomplishment of summiting – but I have to say that walking back down really hurts.

Charis Smuthkochorn Nationality: THAI Birthday: January 10, 1997 Interests: music, language AND literature, people, traveling, history, cooking, love, books, why some people are “bad,” stars, mythology

Favorite food: Definitely all Thai foods in Thailand. Ceviche and all ice cream from Ecuador. Currywurst from Germany. 3 things I can’t live without: my guitar, my diaries (since age 5), my bed What makes me unique: I laugh very easily. I have this ability TO force myself to smile, EVEN when I’m really sad. Best experience this year: Arriving in Cuenca. I just came out of the plane from two months of not seeing any TGS people at all. There was going to be new students and new staff members. It was pretty nerve-racking, yet it felt amazing when we met each other. Pema, Gawa and I arrived together. It was amazing to dance around Cuenca with the locals. Something new I did this year: Swimming in the Amazon river with caimans, anacondas, pirañas, and other dangerous animals.

I’M THE MASTER OF THE JELLYFISH DANCE. I’ve grown A LOT this year – or at least, I think so. Sad things that would have “killed” me before are just things I realize would disappear over time. Sadly, I’m becoming less grateful. I’ll gain that quality back hopefully. I also get annoyed easier, but that has taught me that it’s okay to not be nice all the time. I like running now, in contrary to the past 14 years when I never did. My laugh has changed at least ten times the past year. Now, it’s a mixture of a big HA! and taking breaths in with a high pitch, and I have realized that the only dances I really do master are the jellyfish and the barbecue chicken. I’ve changed more in my values. I value emotions less, but I do realize that they shouldn’t be ignored entirely; otherwise you’re going to end up with successes that you don’t really care about.

bailey olivia dobier Nationality: kiwi Birthday: september 3, 1995 Interests: Creating, exploring, smiling Favorite food: FRUIT 3 things I can’t live without: sunshine, nature, happiness (I am aware I sound like a hippie)

What makes me unique: I make completely original and random noises without realizing Best experience this year: Climbing the same mountain as my Grandfather did 8o years ago (Mount Wank) Something new I did this year: Planked on a fake turtle in the Galapagos and tried speed dating in Berlin (neither worked out very well!)

THE True story of a short girl. When I was little I was somewhat tall. This glorious feat of nature ended there. For as long as I can remember I’ve been short, always at the front of school photos, always craning to see in a crowd and always being great at the limbo (I attribute this to my shortness). Since primary school I’ve been stuck at the same height… one meter and 56 centimeteres. Well, not any longer! I have changed. I have grown from the shortness and blossomed into an entirely different human being. I am now one meter and 57 centimeteres! That’s right. Miracle of all miracles I have grown one whole centimeter. For me this is mammoth because although I have never felt short, perhaps now everyone else will see the tall girl that I truly am. Even standing next to the hulking giants of our school, I do not feel short. This is quite a mystery because obviously I am but a mere dwarf in their presence, and you can’t say that my larger-thanlife personality makes up for it either because, as many of you will already know, I don’t exactly have a larger-than-life personality. I’m not the most confident kid either, so when someone said to me one day, “Bailey, you are the most confident person I have ever met,” I was flabbergasted! When I asked her why, she said, “because you’re the only person I know that thinks that everyone loves you and you’re just so happy all the time!” This made me laugh as it was right after I’d gone through a rough patch and wasn’t exactly feeling loved or happy, but this comment was like sunshine to me. Normally I get told that I’m too shy, or reserved or cute, but never in the history of my life have I been called confident! So for me this shows a MASSIVE (had to put emphasis on it somehow) change. I’ve gone from the short and shy little girl from down under to this apparently uber-confident 1m 57cm girl from – well, still from down under, b ut now I travel the world! It’s not just a growth of one centimeter. It’s a growth of wisdom and reality and, of course, confidence. (Yes. I was cheesy. It’s a year- book. Get over it :D)

A’NTONIA BENSON Aka BENY Nationality: Bostonian American Birthday: March 21, 1996

Interests: movies, music, theatre, people, books, laughing very hard, dancing in rain, zombies, sunsets, horoscopes, family and a poop-load more 3 things I can’t live without: a new adventure, cinema/theatre, water is probably important too

Best experience this year: I don’t think it’s possible to say that one of my experiences is the best, but the first one I remembered was when we were in Tiputini. A group of us – all girls – were taking a tour around our area. We had been caught in the rain towards the end and we had two last objectives: take a trip in a canoe on a lake with strange things that kept coming up for air, and take the motor boat back home. We did the first with screams and flying colors; the second was accompanied by Queen and various dance moves that should never be seen again. It was one of those times “Charlie” from Perks of being a Wallflower would have said, “It was like in that moment we were infinite,” with the rain pouring down and us relishing an end to a good day with song and funny theatrics.

Something new I did this year: Every day in TGS I take on feces-loads of new things. Perhaps a big one I might want to remember down the road is when I screened movies during the finals in Ecuador. I would play movies in my single room on the projector with speakers and people would come and go as they pleased before and after each final. I played movies during our goodbye party until the morning we left our home, San Andres. I guess I hadn’t learned my lesson in Thailand when I began reading the full hunger games series during my second round of finals. These are new habits no one, including me, should ever try again they make for good times but heavily inconsistent final scores.

GIJS DE JONG Nationality: Dutch Birthday: April 3, 1996 Interests: Sports, Exploring, Traveling Favorite food: Everything (I like to try out new things)

3 things I can’t live without: Traveling, learning new things What makes me unique: Whenever I like something I will work hard for it and vice versa Best experience this year: Snorkeling in Leon Dormido (Galapagos Islands) Something new I did this year: Eat the Brain of a guinea pig

Mr. george Bernard Shaw It’s been another great year at TGS. I have experienced many new types of cultures and met a whole bunch of new people. One of my most memorable experiences was the Galapagos Islands, a place that I thought I would never visit. Upon landing on the first Island I could feel the heat, and as I walked down from the plane it felt like Curaçao. I remember the water being as cold as ice and swimming next to sea lions. Wonder how they could be enjoying the icy-cold water. Whenever I look back upon the past year it reminds me of what I have been through to get to this very place that I am today, from discovering a new allergy to watching a football match right in the heart of Munich. Never in my life have I expected to do something as amazing as I did in the past year. I have always thought about what I wanted to be, though as George Bernard Shaw said: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

Nationality: Dutch Birthday: may 21, 1996 Interests: European Football, Fooseball, Guitar, Outdoors Favorite food: Chicken Parmesan 3 things I can’t live without: iPod, Guitar, Chocolate What makes me unique: Everything Best experience this year: The Amazing Race Something new I did this year: Went swimming in the Amazon river

I feel i’m more balanced. This year I feel like I learned a lot of things and how to do them differently than I did before. I feel like this year has changed me, just like the year before did. I learned how to longboard, which I feel is a great accomplishment – I couldn’t even stand on the board when I started. I think my perspective changed really in the way that I view certain cultures. This year we went to two undeveloped places, which gave me the chance to really reflect on how other people are experiencing the world.

What makes me unique: I have exceptional control over almost all of my body. Best experience this year: the last night in Tiputini, floating down the river. It was just you and the silence of the amazon and the animals calling to each other. It was the most relaxing moment of my life... Until we crashed into a tree. Something new I did this year: Dressing up as a “Whore” in order to better understand Shakespeare

3 things I can’t live without: An Acoustic Guitar, My Girlfriend, Cologne

Nationality: Canadian Birthday: May 1o, 1996 Interests: Guitar, Sports, Music, food, Girls Favorite food: Indian Food (Butter Chicken)


I BECAME A BETTER PERSON - SURPRISINGLY :-) As weird as this may sound, it is true. Our final assignment for World Literature was to act as a person from 1606 who would have gone to watch a Shakespearian play. My role was that of a whore, which suited me superbly. This helped me interpret the play using a different “lens” other than my own. Besides that, I have changed in many ways, some for good and some definitely not so good. I have become less judgmental, giving people a chance to prove themselves as good people before I brand them with my first impressions. I have also become much more skilled at playing guitar since I needed to impress a certain girl at TGS. A change in me that I know many people have been grateful for is I have become less “insubordinate,” a word that I also learned this year from my amazing English teacher. My mood is constantly changeable. First I’m crazy and energetic; the next I’m huddled away, confined in my own cave. Not sure whether to mark this change as positive or negative, but I have definitely contributed my view on many things. Whether people want to hear it or not, I say it. I have also learned that I am an excellent orator and it is impossible to win an argument against me. But, in all, I have blossomed into a beautiful calla lily and make everyone’s day who happens to cross my path.

cameron leslie Nationality: Australian Birthday: June 17, 1996 Interests: Travel, Swimming Favorite food: Ice Cream

3 things I can’t live without: Ice Cream, Friends and My Guitar What makes me unique: My Life of Traveling Around and Opportunity - Be honest Best experience this year: Traveling through Europe with near-to-no supervision Something new I did this year: Climbed Mount Wank

How Traveling Around the World can make you Less Adventurous. So that’s not the headline I was expecting to write but it probably reflects how I’ve changed most. Going from living with a group of 2 other people to 25 other people is quite an experience. It made me realize how I under-valued being alone as an only child. You could also add traveling around the world full time to that mix. It’s a shock and you can’t quite take it all in. I suppose arriving in Ecuador was the start of that change. It was a “first-dayof-the-rest-of-your-life moment.” I couldn’t be who I was anymore. I couldn’t hide myself away. I had to get out and do things. That’s why I began to spend so much of my holidays alone, with only one or two friends. THINK Global School has taught me that although you should spend time with friends, it’s good to be alone too.

3 things I can’t live without: Water, mom and education What makes me unique: Having a different background and different experiences. To not give up soon. Best experience this year: Swimming in the Galapagos Islands

Something new I did this year: Swimming in the ocean

Ahmad Jawed Sakhi

This year has been amazing so far. The places we visited, the people we interacted with and cultures we immersed ourselves in is amazing to look back on. It’s really hard to see all this coming to an end. This year was full of new things and I feel I’ve experienced more this past year than I have in the previous 16 that I’ve lived! I never thought traveling could bring so many changes to one person in such a short time. But it’s not only about traveling; it’s also about getting an education of the 21st century with amazing kids from all over the world. Observing my fellow students at TGS and their concern for the future of this planet and its people gives me hope and optimism.

Nationality: Afghan Birthday: MARCH 30, 1995 Interests: Swimming, Reading, hanging with friends, musiC Favorite food: Shorwa (an afghan dish)

tgs gives me faith.

EMMA GREENWALD Nationality: American Birthday: September 22, 1995 Interests: Friends, Fun, Traveling and Music Favorite food: My momma’s homemade Spaghetti

3 things I can’t live without: My phone, my friends and family What makes me unique: “Your sense of reality”- Pema Best experience this year: Galapagos, Parties in Ecuador. Everything :-) Something new I did this year: Swam in the Amazon River (Tiputini)

Everyone needs a hug. Looking back at this year it’s really hard to pinpoint an exact moment where I’ve changed. In this environment I am constantly changing. Like my dad always says: “The only constant thing in life is change.” I leave this year feeling happy because I’ve gotten a chance to show everyone who I really am. The biggest thing I’ve learned at TGS is everyone is the same. No matter what countries you come from you’re still bound to feel lonely sometimes and need a kind word or hug. Everyone just wants to feel loved. This year I have had the most unique experiences. Some of my favorite memories are having sleepovers with our buddies in Ecuador. I loved sitting around the campfire at night with the Hill tribe. I loved the tranquility during the breathing exercises and then afterwards the craziness of running around with people. I loved feeling infinite after walking around Berlin at night and seeing the Brandenburg Gate for the first time. I loved gazing at the stars in three different countries. Thank you so much for everyone who made the tiniest contribution to this year. It holds a very special place in my heart. I never had better friends; I’ve never had better teachers. I love you all and can’t wait to continue our journey together.

Anat Almzayyen Nationality: Palestinian Birthday: october 21, 1996 Interests: traveling Favorite food: Hummus and Falafel

3 things I can’t live without: chocolate, music and movies What makes me unique: My country makes me unique Best experience this year: The Amazing Race Something new I did this year: Zip-lining in thailand

To all my Habeebies in TGS: I LOVE YOU! After getting into TGS, my ideas, personality and the method of learning and thinking changed! Because of TGS I’m now much more open-minded. Before I wasn’t taught how to think; I was taught what to think. Before TGS I never had that amazing relationship with my teachers. Joann taught me that everyone is equal no matter who he or she is or what he or she has. She also taught me how to believe in myself and how to believe that I can make a difference. Being in an international traveling IB school is the most wonderful opportunity that a human can’t even dream of. Every single student in TGS taught me something and has a special place in my heart. I was taught how important it is to stay positive no matter what. I was taught how much “thank you” is important. TGS taught me a lot of things about myself. I never knew how much of a hard worker I am. I learned how important it is to ask questions and that there is no such thing as a stupid question! TGS taught me that people come and go and it’s important to learn how to move on with your life. I never liked to hear the word “Habeebi” from anyone as much as I like to hear it from TGS students! I appreciate every single thing about TGS and thank God every day for having these people in my life.

yada pruksachatkun Nationality: THAI Birthday: SEPTEMBER 19, 1997 Interests: Writing, blogging, vlogging, making videos, surfing the internet, playing instruments, watching Ellen videos, pinterest, being really weird Favorite food: Always faithful to my Thai food

3 things I can’t live without: My friends, chocolate, movies What makes me unique: Not TOO many people will talk to their computers, refrigerators AND iPhones, so I guess that makes me unique Best experience this year: the Barge Trip. It was a real bonding experience. we did so many fun and educational things such as teaching kids English, canoeing (Pema and Beny got the best one!), and making mango and sticky rice cake! gosh... I miss Thai desserts so much. Something new I did this year: First time I ate Ecuadorian food. First time I went to a music festival. First time I WENT TO A CLUB.

WHY RUN WHEN YOU CAN HIKE? Looking back at my journal entries from a year ago in the Great Wall of China hike, I barely recognize myself. In that journal entry, words like “almost died” and “uncomfortable” turned up. In the memory of the Great Wall of China, I remember wanting to give up the hike, thinking that it was so long and strenuous, of wanting to turn around and head back before reaching the Wall. When I did reach the top, fear of slipping on the icy wall only met me. Now, almost a year later, and halfway across the world, it only took 4 hours to reach the top of Mount Wank in the southern part of Germany. What had happened from from Beijing to now? It is strange that I could barely run three laps around the field in BBIS yet a four-hour hike seemed easy to me. I was high on life and nature; every cold breath opened me up. It was like a runner’s high, but without even hitting the wall. At the top, peering down, accomplishment met me, and I felt free.

piran Baroni Nationality: german

GAWA SELDON Nationality: Bhutanese Birthday: APRIL 4, 1996 Interests: Music, sports, games AND talking Favorite food: Homemade 3 things I can’t live without: music, communication, friends and family

What makes me unique: I don’t register sarcasm as quickly as I should Best experience this year: Getting to know everyone. even if it was just a little, it was a pleasure. I loved our trips to the Galapagos Islands but most of all I really enjoyed the amazing race. I thought it was a wonderful experience that each of us got to share. Something new I did this year: Went to South America, ate guinea pig meat, went snorkeling, floated down the amazon, traveled to Europe, took part in a mini amazing race and met some of the coolest people I’ll ever know

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.” Throughout the course of my first year at TGS, there is so much I have taken away in such a short span of time. Who knew I would learn so much? I was expecting to learn a lot but, really, I had no idea what I was actually grown up. My face looks in for. I look at pictures from the first day and I see that I’ve older and I realize how much I’ve changed. It baffles me to think about all the things that have happened. Looking over my work at the start of the year, I see growth in my writing. From our weXplore trips, I see growth in the way I think and the way I perceive things. It’s incredible to stop and think that even for one second everything is changing all the time at such a fast pace. Thus, the quote: “There is nothing permanent except change.”

Above all, the most important thing I’ve learned from my time here at TGS is how much you can learn from each and every individual. But that’s only if you make the effort and take the time to listen to what they have to say. In a community where everyone comes from places that are so different from each other and everyone is so unique and brings something new to this particular group. A family on its own.

I recall the Me to We project when we were able to spark up a soccer (football) game with indigenous Ecuadorian kids within five minutes of arriving. Since they do not speak Spanish in those communities, it is amazing to me that we were able to organize this without any actual language.

3 things I can’t live without: Peanut Butter, Music and My Mommy What makes me unique: My Unbelievable Mass Appeal Best experience this year: Swimming With Sea Lions In the Galapagos Islands Something new I did this year: As far as food goes, I ate a guinea pig and crickets this year. Another new thing I did was rap.

In Thailand, while building a school we got slightly distracted by having a pretend war with our commander, a nine-year-old Thai boy we officially dubbed “Rambo.” When our translators, Charis and Yada, were not around, we resorted to a combination of hand gestures and facial expressions to communicate. I found this to be surprisingly easy.

hudson cassello

We have now worked on many service projects to benefit children, including those with the indigenous communities of Ecuador and the Hill tribes in Thailand. I can now call many kids from both of these countries my friends, all thanks to the art of laughter.

Nationality: American Birthday: August 31, 1997 Interests: Music, Photography, Skateboarding and depleting the school’s banana supply. Favorite food: Peanut Butter

Laughter is one of the most universal and useful languages in the world.

Hannah Cho Nationality: AMERICAN Birthday: September 18, 1996 Interests: Photography, North korea and political philosophy Favorite food: Blueberries

3 things I can’t live without: My camera, blueberries and Machiavelli’s The Prince What makes me unique: My ability to overthink Best experience this year: Team Yellow’s adventures on The Amazing Race Something new I did this year: Ate falafel!

Houston, We Have A Problem. With our first trimester under our belts, Russell, Isaac, Hudson, Jawed and I were all ready for a holiday. We couldn’t have known that our adventures were far from over! As our group was going through our passport checks in Houston where the five of us were to then separate, Jawed was stopped and led into a room for questioning by an officer of the United States Department of Homeland Security (best said in a Southern accent). Isaac and I, who didn’t have a clue of what was happening, sat outside for over an hour like mother hens, clucking with worry. All the passengers had gone through and the place was deserted and silent. Fearful and frustrated, I marched up to an officer and demanded to know (with shaking hands, I might add!) where our friend was. Soon after, Jawed emerged from one of the rooms and explained that he’d simply been interrogated over and over again. Shrugging, he said, “It happens.” I was incredulous – and furious at this institution that seemed to me inhumane and unsympathetic! It was a side I’d never seen. With a U.S. passport, I was granted a “Welcome home!” and smile upon arrival. Never this.

Nationality: American Birthday: June 21, 1996 Interests: Dancing, Singing, Clothes, Guitar Favorite food: BBQ Chicken pizza from California Pizza Kitchen

3 things I can’t live without: Computer, my toothbrush and Liam What makes me unique: I have blonde hair and brown eyes and I LOVE the sun at 4 o’clock Best experience this year: Finding aN old lighthouse on a rock pier in the Galapagos IsLands Something new I did this year: Went to the amazon. meT the most important and amazing people.


Magical Madness of TGS. Irene taught me to be “honey badger” about anything you can’t control. Separating what I can and can’t manipulate has been a major part of my learning this year. I have learned to see the world through different eyes. Not eyes of another color, but eyes that define, and contrast what is good, bad, wrong, right. And this is what a TGS student strives to attain. Not turning your back in times of need but opening your arms and letting people in to help you. Trust is a big factor at this bubble of a school, and I have learned to trust with everything I have and give the people around me the “benefit of the doubt.” We are a community of loving, trusting, fun and exciting people. This can be overwhelming to some people but, as for me, I get caught in the magical madness of this amazing experience.

I’ve learned to trust my own decisions more because I’ve realized that if you let youself be second-guessed into a corner, you’ll have a hard time guessing your way out. I’ve learned to take risks and to put myself out there. And so, to everyone who has been with me through my stupidity and my slightlysmarter moments, who has been willing to accept my second-guessing myself, and to welcome my victories and my failed risks, thank you. I freaking love you.


I’ve learned how to listen more. I’ve learned how to care more for people around me. I’ve learned to be a little more attentive for other people’s needs and wants. Why did I learn all these things here? Because I had/have people around me who do it ALL THE TIME. Sometimes we can get swept away into the moments of things – some good, some bad – but this was definitely a good sweeping away.

Nationality: CANADiAn Birthday: october 2, 1997 Interests: Languages, sailing, eating Favorite food: Sushi

i’ve changed.

3 things I can’t live without: Internet, Hot chocolate and the ocean What makes me unique: I can talk about absolutely nothing for hours on end Best experience this year: Too many to count... playing tag with a sea lion in the Galapagos!

Something new I did this year: I pushed my comfort zone. With food, with ideas... and I stepped foot outside of North America!

isaaC forsland Nationality: Canadian Birthday: July 1, 1996 Interests: Skateboarding, longboarding, Photoshop/graphic design, Music Favorite food: Pulled pork sandwiches

3 things I can’t live without: Parents, Friends, Pulled pork sandwiches What makes me unique: Creativity Best experience this year: All of Galapagos Something new I did this year: Left Canada for the first time

Google doesn’t show it all. My overall outlook on the world has been shifted drastically. From the amazing places I have traveled to and experienced, I have gained so much understanding personally, culturally, politically, ecologically, mentally, musically, socially, etc. I find it mind-boggling that list can go on forever. The world is not what is shown on pictures found in Google Images; it holds so much more. An unlimited number of lessons can be learned just from visiting a small town in the Galapagos, a distant Hill tribe, or an emotion-filled concentration camp. It felt like it was my obligation to consider and comprehend as much as I could during the travels. The best part about being obliged to this was that I loved what the outcome was: a well-rounded grasp on how the world is impacted by small and big situations.

maya miltell 3 things I can’t live without: My camera, my friends and food Nationality: Swedish What makes me unique: I am very good at time management   Birthday: february 16, 1996 Best experience this year: The trip to the Galapagos and the Amazing Race Interests: Photography and videography, reading, laughing and traveling                     in the end Favorite food: I love trying new things, but I’ll have to say Fruits

Something new I did this year: I tried to eat bugs, twice

I’ve become louder. The most important thing I’ve learned is how different people are depending on where they are from. And it can be small things that differ, but they are rooted deeper than one thinks and can become bigger deals in the end. For example, in Berlin we had a weekly debate on bread bags and cereal boxes. Some (often me) complained over the one person who left the bread bags open, making the bread go stale, and everybody agreed. Though it was that one person throughout the trimester who kept leaving it open. These things seem like nothing, but it is incredibly annoying after a while. Also, just when I came I realized how different cultures affect people in different ways. I waited until someone talked to me before speaking, and I didn’t take too much space. This might have been because of my lack of confidence when it came to English, but I also think it was because of my nationality and culture. In Sweden, we don’t stand out too much. Everything is very mainstream; being too colorful or different can be taken in many different ways. This made people see me as quiet and even smaller than I am. Now, I have learned how to stand out more and speak for myself with a louder voice.

yuan yuan kelly Aka y2 3 things I can’t live without: Iced tea, my friends/family, hugs Nationality: Canadian/chinese What makes me unique: I am adopted from China, my socks, my hair streak, Birthday: october 31, 1997 I can flip my tongue           Interests: Acting, eating, having fun, Best experience this year: Too many to list sleeping, being in outer space (hence my third nickname), being alive                      Something new I did this year: learned to Wait until other people got their food before I started eating (only-child syndrome), went to the Galapagos Favorite food: Chicken curry and Tiputini, watched a soccer game on television, programmed a robot, ate frog legs, ate guinea pig, screen printing

in The Galapagos Islands. A stranger named Josh asked me what was the meaning of life True story. This memory will always remain. I promised this to myself. It must be amazing how much one person has affected someone’s life. One person that only had a first name. He probably doesn’t even remember me, but this one man asked me a question that made me question everything I knew. I responded to him with: “I haven’t experienced enough in my life to answer that question yet.” Now that I look back, I really should have answered it with something more. It was more about the fact that I was afraid of saying the wrong thing. After, I frantically asked my classmates how they would have answered this question. I got three extremely different answers that were all interesting. This was when it dawned on me that there is no wrong answer and that I shouldn’t always worry about being right. This is one out of many experiences here at TGS that I hold sacred. It encouraged me to listen to others’ opinions and understand why they believe what they do. TGS in general has helped me look at things from multiple perspectives, even though they might not be mine.


s I landed in Quito, Ecuador, I had a very clear vision of what I wanted our students to experience in Latin America. What were some of these components? A mixture of Spanish and indigenous presence in art, architecture, language and lifestyle. The diversity of climatic and geographical regions. The bustling of big cities in contrast to the calm of country life. A rich culture of local crafts that reflect the artistic heritage and its continuous growth. A strong history of the struggles every one of our countries has endured as they aim to become a part of a more globalized economy. I had read a lot about Ecuador. Both Quito and Cuenca are Unesco World Heritage Sites. Although my home country is less than two hours a plane flight away, I had never visited before. My first impression as the plane descended was similar to the one I had when landing in Mexico City. You fly over the city, and fly, and fly, and then it feels like you’re going to land on top of a building! I was impressed by the beauty of the mountains limiting the city’s growth. Later I would learn that the city is actually built at the foot of an active volcano! As I stepped onto the tarmac, I was greeted by a fresh breeze and perfect temperature of a city located 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) above sea level. Little did I know that I was about to be blown away by both Quito and Cuenca. Ecuador would meet every single one of my expectations and more.

Scouting for TGS

in Ecuador By Marta Guevara

Here are the reasons why. Ecuador offers a variety of climates and geographical regions. From the high elevations of Andean peaks to the Amazon Basin and the Galapagos archipelago. The presence of Quechua, the original Inca language, is alive and well. So much so that many words are used by all the population in daily life. Their crafts range from world-renowned pottery to leatherwork and textiles. Their food is a combination of indigenous recipes and colonial cuisine. I was to be surprised by an unexpected plus: the people. They are friendly, warm and welcoming. I felt at home in a matter of hours, and by the end of the week I realized I wasn’t ready to leave in the least.

As I scouted for TGS, I realized the main problem would be a very desirable one: too many options to choose from. María del Mar, our ground person, is an energetic and warm Ecuadorian who has already worked on plenty of contacts and places we can learn from. As it is essential in any Latin American country, she is wellconnected and knows all the right people! Amongst them is historian turned tour guide Julio Rivas García.

Julio gave us a tour of Quito I will never forget. He loves his country, its rich culture and his beloved Quito. I saw the old part of the city through his eyes. I found myself hugging the dome of a church, walking on top of roofs like a mountain goat and looking into the workings of a gigantic clock that chimes for the city every hour. But what really made Julio stand out for me was his passion for the indigenous presence that is very visible in all of colonial architecture. He embraces that part of Quito’s past as much as the Spanish colonial side. What other things are involved in moving TGS to a particular location? Well, accommodations, of course! As we grow as a school, it will become increasingly harder for all of us to be together. In the case of Ecuador, Cuenca is a wonderful colonial city. This translates to buildings with big rooms but a small number of them! A host school is essential; we are lucky to always find incredible schools who want to work with us. It is difficult sometimes to have to say we will work with one school versus another. In choosing a school, our main goal is to find an institution that is as excited to work with us as we are with them. Once we have that, everything else seems to fall smoothly into place. Sometimes we have to choose based on logistics of which school we will burden the least, which one is closer to our housing, where do we see the potential of strong relationships growing amongst students and faculty, etc. My week in Ecuador flew by, and it was soon time to return home to Orlando. I needed to get some rest before our last trimester in Beijing. I was disappointed to leave, but I knew I would be returning in September. I kept TGS informed throughout my trip. When I met up with everyone in Beijing, I was overflowing with excitement about our first trimester for the next academic year.  I must admit I was blinded for a couple of days to the new city I was now going to explore for the next three months. Finally, I could focus again on today... I am in Beijing!



Students and Staf f enjoyed a day-long tour through Quito, thanks to Julio. Students walked through Ecuador’s capital city dancin g to mu sic wit h loc al students dre sse d in traditional Ecuadorian outfits before gathering to observe art restoration. Follow ing some sketching and tasting of traditionally made ice cream, everyone glimpsed over the buildings from high above in a church tower. Climbing onto a party bus spilling music, everyone danced as we drove the narrow streets before releasing paper lanterns into the dusky sky.



art class

in quito

Joann with the local artist

Rock-climbing, Salsa, Ceramics For three weeks at the beginning of the semester, cultural immersion classes were held for students. Students were able to learn the art of salsa dancing, how to spin a clay potter’s wheel to create a masterpiece and climb to new heights with a popular local sport.


WHEN THEY SPEAK, WE LISTEN. Yolanda Kakabadse was a founder of the

Fundación Natura in Quito and served from 1993 to 2006 as the executive president of NGO. From August 1998 to January 2000, she served as Minister of Environment in the government of Ecuador. From 1996 to 2004, she was president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Since January 2010, she has been president of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Source: Wikipedia While it would be an honor to witness the World Wildlife Fund International president speak anywhere, the students had an incredible opportunity to have her speak directly to them about some of the most pressing issues in conservation, like the awareness of water, food and energy plights. She also directed focus to the importance of pollination and the invaluable work both bats and bees do for our planet. After an hour-and-a-half of beautiful visuals and eye-opening reality, many rushed to Yolanda afterward to show their appreciation for her talk.

Robert and Sally from TGS with David Brown from WASC Germany 2012

One grade 9 student said:

“That was so moving. I think I know what I was meant to be. A conservationist!”

WASC Accreditation

Jorge Barba Creativist, innovator, information technologist and internet marketing consultant spoke to the students about Ecuadorian history, environmental politics and about making change happen and how to create a smarter world.

In July 2012 we learned that TGS had earned accreditation by WASC, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. This means that TGS can grant high school diplomas recognized by colleges and universities around the world! WASC sent two evaluation visits to TGS, one led by Marilyn George in Beijing, the other by David Brown in Berlin. They examined all policies, procedures, academic and residential programs, and even class outlines and lesson plans! They observed the students and teachers at work, at play, at exploration and (rarely) at rest. They were much impressed at how much the school had evolved from Year One to Year Two, and complimented the TGS students for their international perspectives, their devotion to cultural immersion and experiential learning. Mostly, they thought our students were really smart, compassionate and fun-loving!

What is the IB? The International Baccalaureate is a program aimed at integrated education with a global focus. Authorization as an IB DP World School connects THINK Global School to the worldwide network of IB schools, recognized as the highest quality in educational experience.

By Sally Booth, Director of Curriculum

To earn authorization by the International Baccalaureate was a unique challenge. We were able to demonstrate, in record time, that TGS, with its innovative approach to education through travel and cultural immersion, will provide the foundation necessary for our students to thrive in the rigorous IB DP. The authorization teams were impressed with the coherent approach to curriculum in the 9th and 10th grades in which rich academic and experiential learning about different cultures is combined

with rigorous preparation in the traditional subjects. This background makes our students uniquely poised to appreciate the international perspectives and rigorous learning challenges posed by the IB DP program in 11th and 12th grades. Media, technology and writing about cross-cultural experiences are woven through all disciplines and aspects of the TGS students’ experience. We are so excited that we can graduate our first class of students with a TGS IB diploma in 2014!

Very concentrated planning of the new curriculum

Curriculum review in the fancy conference room

Robert and Sally with Racquel from The International Baccalaureate

“Blessed unrest.” Those were the words that Natalie Greene used to describe the feeling she wanted us to leave with. The itchiness to do something – anything – to save this world for future generations. We started off with a little exercise: telling her our hope, while lighting a candle. One by one we lit our candles. Everything from family and TGS to music came up. Afterwards, she sat us down and began. The modern world has got it wrong, and the traditional world – the world of the indigenous – right. Their connection with nature is something money and greed don’t have, and we have to help them help us help the earth. As an Amazon tribe elder once said, “If you have come here to help us, turn back. If you have come here to join us, stay.” There’s a prophecy that predicts that the eagle and condor, the human mind and heart, industry and superstition, will come together and fly side by side. She told us that the organization started in Ecuador and has spread all around the world, educating people about their cause. Their organization was one of the few that joined with a tribe to preserve their culture and promote their ideas. To awaken our dream, she asked three questions: “Where are we? How did we get here? What can we do to help?” The human dream has changed, become distorted by materialistic matters. To save this earth is to change that dream and make it an ecologically possible one. Our path of short-term profit and unsustainable use is a self-destructive one. We are 30 percent more than what the earth can regenerate, and in the process of life’s collapse, we will too. So where are we? In the last 200 years, our population has shot up because (amongst many reasons) we have discovered how machines can make life easier. As the population shot up, our needs shot up too.

Before the Industrial Revolution, nature and humanity was one since we were few and not too needy. Now, like introduced goats in the Galapagos, we’re killing the endemic species, or nature. We’re just happy because we paid little so that we could keep more money. We think money will lead to happiness but we’re just chasing the horizon. This equating money with happiness will only stop with an economic breakdown. So... what is sustainability? It is the ability to use the resources of our current generation so that it doesn’t compromise the future. With seventy-five percent of our forests gone, and thirty percent of our arable land gone in the last twenty years, our resource extraction is reaching its peak. All the disasters we see today – hurricanes, tornadoes, floods – are because of global warming, which we caused. We’ve increased the intensity of the warming in less time, and the earth is having a hard time adjusting. Ninety percent of the animals in the world are extinct. Although our economic market was supposed to help the poor, two percent of the world holds ninety-eight percent of the money. How did we get here? Videos by the Pachamama Organization showed that the primary problem is the fact that Western civilization separates humanity and natural world. We live in an age which is so focused on technology we have forgotten the roots of humanity. Humans were supposed to be about love and trust, yet now we all just strive for a society which is powerful and advanced instead of honest and true. We have this distorted belief that we have mastered the earth and that this mastery has no limitations.

Guest speaker, environmentalist

Natalie Greene “We think money will lead to happiness but we’re just chasing the horizon.... So...what is sustainability? It is the ability to use the resources of our current generation so that it doesn’t compromise the future... seventy-five percent of our forests are gone... and thirty percent of our arable land is gone... our resource extraction is reaching its peak.”

We have used up almost three times the earth’s resources, and with a growing population this number will be growing quickly. The forests, the animals and the people. They are not resources. They will not give us their lives all the time. We will use it up. And then we will have near to nothing. Humans have forgotten what it is like to lose. Buying things from the store, we are never paying the full price. For the manufacturing, the labor and the shipping a radio cannot cost only $4.50. And we tend to throw these things away anyway. There is no “away” – just to a different area for someone else to deal with. We think of ourselves as the smartest species on earth, so why can’t we make decisions which will benefit our society instead of breaking it apart? We have to make a change. But how? The first thing we have to do is stop buying things as a substitute for happiness. It doesn’t make us happier. In fact, often it results in the opposite since we can’t always afford what we want and the over-consumption will come back in a bad way. The resolution of the money problem is making things cheaper than they should be. Instead of using green sources, we use the cheapest sources. But, still, the price of the cheap radio is much higher than the price tag says. We borrow that from the earth. Each forest we cut has a price; each eco-system we kill does too, and soon we have to pay back. What happens when our resources run out?
 We also have to change our way of throwing things “away.” What is “away”? Where is it? When we throw something away, what happens to it? It doesn’t disappear, as some of us seem to think. What happens is that it gets tossed onto a big pile of other things

that no one wants anymore. Those piles keep growing, and to make more space we cut forests and destroy villages just so we can get rid of it when we don’t want or need it anymore. So be critical about what you buy. Ask yourself if you need it, if you pay the full price and what you do with it when it’s useless to you. 
 The second thing we need to change is our attitude. A lot of people think: “I can’t make any difference. I am only one person.” Maybe that is true; you can’t make a difference yourself. But what if everybody started thinking: “I want to be a part of the change?” Then it’s not only one person anymore but millions. Together we can make a difference. Stop being selfish. Look into your friends’ eyes; try to find the spark needed to make a fire. Another thing people are saying is: “It won’t affect me.” Well, maybe it won’t, but it will affect your children and grandchildren. We have to teach them about living their life in a different way than we do or used to do. Right now we do the opposite since the kids watch commercials. The commercials tell us to buy more (thus the cycle continues). Instead, we should show educational commercials about sustainability, the rewards of sustainability and the consequences of not being a country focused on sustainability. TV and papers are great tools we have to work with, but now we do it in the wrong way. We only have “tree years” to change the direction of the train, which is heading for a cliff. We might not be able to turn the train around but we can make it change direction. Every single person can make a small difference and, together, we can make an Epic difference.

“What’s the

“What’s the probability that one of us will get bitten by an anaconda?” one of the students asked me. These types of probability questions were a common joke during our Tiputini trip, given that the last week-and-a-half of math classes had been spent on a probability unit. The questions I had been receiving from my students during this trip were actually quite funny, ranging from ‘What’s the probability that if we eat too many biscuits we could get diarrhea?” to “What’s the probability that one of us could die during this trip?” However, ten minutes before we were about to jump into the Tiputini River, the probability of getting bitten by an anaconda no longer seemed like a silly question to me.

After seeing the piranha that our guide had caught from the river we were about to jump in, the probability of my surviving the 2-hour floating journey down the river seemed to lessen by the second. Even though the brown murky water of the river seemed scarily calm, the piranha had assured me that our guides were not joking when they said the occupants of this river included piranhas, caimans, electric eels and anacondas. I stood on the boat in my brightorange life-jacket, trying to process how sharp the piranha’s teeth were and how painful a bite could be, when I heard the

splash of the first brave soul jump into the water. It was Esteban, one of the professors, who had floated down this river numerous times. As I watched him peacefully flow with the current, our adventurous students started jumping into the water one at a time. Megan, Cameron and Cash were three of the first students who fearlessly dove into the water. I stood at the front of our boat, my hands shaking, and the guides encouraging me in Spanish to jump into the water. I had tried asking them previously in broken Spanish if anyone had ever been hurt during this float down the river, and even though they had said no I didn’t believe them.

With much hesitation, I finally jumped. For the first few seconds, the brown muddy water filled my eyes and I kept my feet as close to me as possible, hoping not to feel something swim under me. I surfaced above the water and glanced around me, hoping that there were other people surrounding me, but looking around I saw that most of them were at least 100 meters ahead of me. Before jumping off the boat I had a discussion with one of the kids about how the probability of getting hurt in the water would increase if you were alone rather than with a group. Remembering this discussion, I felt uncomfortable and unsafe and started swimming towards the group of kids ahead of me. After reaching the group I gradually began to relax. Of course there were occasional moments when one of the boys would swim underwater to pass a branch along my legs, and within a second I was terrified again, but even those moments stopped scaring me after awhile.

probability that one of us will get bitten by an anaconda?” Exploring the Tiputini Rainforest By Ambika

The rest of the float down the river was peaceful and calming. I lay on my back in the water, talking to Esteban and Marta, and inhaling the beautiful views and sounds of the Amazon.

Later that night we all sat in silence on the boat, listening to the sounds of the Amazon once again. Esteban said that it was “the last gift that the Amazon had for us,” and it truly was a beautiful gift. It was strange and very rare for 26 TGS students to be absolutely quiet, but I don’t think any of us even wanted to talk. We sat there in complete darkness, absorbed in the sounds around us, but the silence wasn’t long-lived – it was broken by our boat crashing into the branches of a tree that hung over the river! Our 26 students went from being perfectly silent to laughing as loud as they possibly could. It seemed unfortunate that we couldn’t

listen to the sounds of the Amazon any longer, but the sound of genuine laughter and happiness that filled the boat was beautiful in its own way.



Studying among turtles and sea lions

Just another typical day at TGS By Jarre t

arch continues... The Journey into Biodiversity Rese

. After breakfast at the Today was a wild day of exploration headed to the docks to board university campus, our TGS crew water. two mid-size vessels and hit the open Destination: Kicker Rock Biod iversity and to Execute Our Mission: To Explore Mar ine a Bio-mon itor ing Project lty, Prof Luis Vinueza Crew: TGS students, staf f and facu es as knowledgeable from USFQ and a team of guid rious. hila and as they were friendly

of the headed to a relatively shallow area We set off shortly after 9am and observation g both our snorkel gear and our keen usin , tice prac to park ine mar l iona nat 6cm to diff erent species of fish, ranging from ral seve find to aged man crew skills. Our company of over G STINGRAYS (!!!), and enjoyed the perhaps 100cm or more, INCLUDIN er an hour or sea lions that came out to play. Aft 300 sea birds and even a couple of k, or as locals time for the main event: Kicker Roc was it t tha ided dec we tion ora expl so of called it, Leon Dormido.

Kicker Rock is basically a giant rock that prot rudes above sea level by several hundred feet and is characterized by a giant crack about 25m wide through which we, along with s, hundreds if not thousands of organism ding oun surr the e swim - probably popular sinc rent cur le sea is rather choppy with considerab through strength in contrast to the channel carefully er Aft . Kicker Rock, which is rather calm position so that and skillf ully navigating our boat into channel, the pilot the current would carry us into the -lay) and the guides yelled “Dale dale!!!” (pronounced dah could only hold that bellowed “Agua agua!” because we being pulled out of position for perhaps a minute before military efficiency of alignment by the current. With the tically and fearlessly a SEAL team, our TGS crew systema water already leaped over the rails and struck the ker. swimming, aiming towards our mar

of the channel and Once we all arrived at the mou th nil, the bio-monitoring the waves were reduced to almost that remained on began. Those students/field biologists on aft and stern -the boat quickly assumed positions in hand, and began binoculars, cameras and data shee ts e for signs of sea birds to scour the sky and the rock fac riptions (for species and recorded their numbers and desc channel mou th and identification) as the boat left the t the snorkelers/field circumnavigated Kicker Rock to mee snorkeling group spread biologists at the channel’s end. The an incredible array out along the channel and many saw on the left side. Fish of species. Sharks were seen lingering the sea turtles that were spread throughout, but it was ere! As students dove were ubiq uitous! They were everywh

seemed to rise up to down for a closer look, the turtles e experience for all. mee t them! It was truly an awesom data into a master Tomorrow we will compile all our to share the vast data shee t and we will all be able in what quantities array of species that we saw, and they inhabit the channel.

e kicking for food, After Kicker Rock our stomachs wer on another island so we took off for a secluded beach oring. Our students to eat some lunch and continue expl just a short distance found a brackish mangrove swamp cranes and hundreds inland that was home to pelicans, of the boys found of massive hermit crabs! A couple well and insisted on a muddy, stinky sulf ur deposit as all who sat beside wrestling in it, to the annoyance of them on the boat home. day judging from All in all, it was a pret ty successf ul er tonight. the smiling sleepy faces I saw at dinn

Vol c a no Ch ico h i k e They were troopers. Our guides – Geoffrey, Pepo and Franklin, took us on a long walk through the Highlands and along Volcano Chico to witness the various geological and ecological influences on this part of Isla Isabella. Geoffrey used the dramatic background of the caldera to share some truly magical moments from the evolution of the Galapagos. As the World Literature teacher, I was particularly interested in the tales of mystery

surrounding these islands. There are many species there that don’t exist anywhere else. Cactus as tall as trees! Iguanas that are older than the island itself! Sunflowers that look like dead trees! Caves that warm your hands with a touch! These are certainly the beginnings of a lot of inspiration for Magical Realism, which just happens to be the genre we are studying. This made me a happy teacher. - Irene

While on the island of Santa Cruz, we visited the Charles Darwin Research Station and learned about many different types of Iguanas, turtles and finches. Geoffrey also took us around this tourist attraction and filled our minds with a wealth of information. This research station was extremely large and full of local wildlife. The day before we left the Galapagos Islands, we visited the Charles Darwin Center. We learned about the many different types of iguanas, turtles and finches and, finally, Mr. Lonesome George. Lonesome George is a 120-year-old famous saddleback giant tortoise who is the last one of his species. He has been living in the conservation center for decades with two female tortoises – but nothing

has happened. The scientists are desperate for him to breed as it is our own fault that he is the last of his kind. Unfortunately, this has caused them to treat him in not-the-most-natural ways. He is fed only three times a week when he would naturally eat four times a day. He is forced to live in a small place, with less trees, so that the other tourists can see him.

There are different types of tortoises; saddleback is one of the main ones. These tortoises have developed a different shape shell to help them survive. The shell has a slight curve above the neck to help it reach higher for food. I did not know about this feature of tortoises before coming to the Galapagos Islands and I thought this was very interesting.




Sunday, October 30th, found THINK Global School visiting Ingapirca, the largest Incan ruins known to exist in Ecuador. Located in the Cañar Province, about an hour’s drive north of Cuenca, the archaeological site holds the architectural remains of Incan infrastructure. Walking the grounds, students investigated what it was like to live in the Incan age through questions such as, “Were they monogamous?” (all but the king, who had many wives) and “Was the king nice to the people?” (yes, it wasn’t so bad – the economy was based on a communist-style system.) The site is believed to have been originally constructed in the 15th century and was a prime location for the sun- and moon-worshipping population. The largest structure, the circular Temple del Sol, was positioned atop a hill for solstice celebrations. Impressively, all buildings were raised through the fine chiseling of stone so that they would fit neatly together. Ingapirca also has an extensive aqueduct system that provides running water for irrigation and personal use. Visiting the site provided an in-depth look into the history of Ecuador and, more specifically, the Incan empire, which had been a topic of discussion in class.

Photo exh ib

b it ion rk. Lindsay Cla y b d e g n a r ition ar dor. photo exhib auty of Ecua e b A n art and d n a e c ti e injus ut the s to show th to think abo a d w e e ir p m s e in th e le Th eop eant to get p graphy. rt and photo It was also m a h g u o r y. th oted a local charit to n issues prom e iv g s a money w ere sold and w s e r tu ic p A ll

Guest speaker

Maria Virginia Farinango By Bailey

The book, Queen of Water, written by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango, gives us insight into the world of Ecuadorian Children’s Rights, especially that of indigena. This is apt because of our children’s rights project, Wrist4Rights, which we are implementing in our current host country, Ecuador. In Wrist4Rights we are promoting the rights of the child and spreading awareness throughout the world as we travel. In our current home, we are trying to find out how rights of the child work and what we can do to help enable more children’s rights or raise awareness on the rights already in place. Queen of Water details the early life of Maria Virginia Farinango and is based on her true story growing up as an indigenous Ecuadorian girl. At age 7 she was effectively sold to a “white” Spanish family to become a slave. This was not an isolated event; the same thing happened to her sister and hundreds of other young indigenous girls. Of course, some would be treated better that others; however, no one should be subject to slavery or the extent of work they were, especially at such a young age. A scene in the book that vividly describes

how children are treated in Ecuador is when Virginia is found reading by her “employer.” “She smacked me with the book. ‘Dirty longa, dirty girl!’ She smacked me again. ‘I never want to catch you with this trash again, understand?’ This scene was repeated throughout the book, with Virginia being repeatedly beaten for no good reason at all. At her age Virginia should have been at school, not working for another family, and especially not being beaten. Walking throughout the streets of Cuenca there are many similar scenes. Children, some looking as young as six years old, are working for their parents. They’re on every street corner and in many shops. I believe what Virginia (and many others) went through was horrific and that no one should ever have to experience something like that. I strongly believe in equality and cannot comprehend how we can label some people as higher and more valuable than others. We are all of the same species and all have the same capabilities. What makes you better than me? What gives you the right to own me as a slave and treat me as something less than you? Nothing! And that is the way it should be all over the world. We need to step up to the plate and look human rights issues straight in the eye because if we don’t it will come back to bite us.

A word from

our host school

Dear TGS, Well, let me start by saying we miss you! Our students and staff had gotten used to you guys being around and doing something exciting and awe-inspiring every week! Everyone I spoke to, students and staff alike, agree that your presence has broadened the perspective of our students, opened their eyes to new cultures, new ideas, new ways of thinking about our world. One student said it helped break down prejudices that our students might have had about other countries they didn´t know much about, but having met students their age from those countries they now understood their culture much better. Another student said that the TGS students’ contagious enthusiasm and appreciation for all things Ecuadorian had made him appreciate the beauty and cultural richness of his own country much more. The buddy system helped our students bond, and they had so much fun together at the various events TGS organized, like the film festival and the photo exhibition. Their talent is truly inspirational. Our students had the opportunity every day to practice their English in real-life communicative situations with their TGS buddies and they made a real effort to improve since they wanted to be able to converse with your students. One (female) student´s English has improved dramatically owing to the special attention of one of your (male) youngsters! And many keep in touch via Facebook and so the sharing goes on. TGS organized speakers that we could only have dreamed of coming to visit us. I mean, how often does the head of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) come knocking at your door? Yolanda Kakabadse gave an inspirational speech beautifully illustrated with vivid images and videos that raised awareness among our students about environmental issues that are not much discussed here. Virginia, the other guest speaker, was the author of the book the TGS students were reading about Ecuador. It was also such an uplifting experience and a lesson to our students about the racism still endemic to Ecuadorian society. Our staff were able to mingle too. Thank you so much for the delicious welcome dinner, and we hope you enjoyed our goodbye buffet. Our sushi nights will not be forgotten either! All the staff I spoke to said that they were impressed by how polite and kind your staff and students were – always asking, never demanding. The staff especially wanted to thank Bob for his excellent training day on Brain-based learning. We all got a lot out of that. And last but not least, thank you so much for all the material things that you have donated to us. I personally thank you for all the support you have given to the jungle charity Puma Rumi. The Wrists4Rights bracelets which the TGS students designed will be sold in order to raise money for a community living in absolute poverty in the Amazon region of Ecuador. Thank you for the piano, the printers, the projector and the extremely generous donation to our library. We can practically double the amount of books in there now! From all of us here at the Colegio Aleman, Cuenca: Thank you, TGS!


When schools help schools

The end of the trimester trip in Ecuador found TGS students and onsite staff traveling north along the Pan American Highway for a week-long service trip. Located in the Chimborazo province, the small hillside village of San Miguel lies several miles down a dirt road filled with deep crevices that make it impassable when it rains due to mud. Chimborazo is Ecuador’s poorest area, which is evident merely by its location. It is home to indigenous people who have struggled against adversity and poor farming conditions, and who also have had little access to adequate education opportunities. Over the course of five days, TGS students and staff dug the foundation for a new school building, painted a mural alongside newly constructed toilets, beautified the outside of a classroom block and learned the intricacies of how to hand-make adobe bricks to be used in construction.

The lighter side of Ecuador

Another signature TGS dish

cute cat. sexy cat.

Gotta hide from those darn paparazzi

Glasses are known to make you look intelligent. In this case, not so.

TGS Love

Team Blue Eyes

Dolls bring out the little girl in Ash

Don’t confuse the coffee beans for M&M’s...!

Jimi Hendrix go home

Soccer allows you to use your head?

Who farted?!

Clown dressed up as Hudson, or Hudson dressed up as a clown?

The beast and the beauty

Cultural Immersion An introduction to the Thai language, the traditions and its history.

how to stop an unemployed elephant from begging. Students and faculty cry, smile and bathe elephants at their visits to an elephant sanctuary in northern Thailand.

Color adjust

Elephants are a national symbol here in Thailand, long used for labour and battle – now almost exclusively for tourism. With the logging ban in 1990, thousands of domesticated elephants were out of work and their mahouts turned to tourism or elephant-begging in the streets. This has brought elephant care and treatment into the international spotlight and has been widely criticized, especially in the West. Some elephants were given stimulants to increase their productivity and claims of widespread abuse were publicized. Videos were released on the internet documenting an apparently “typical” wild-elephant training or crushing ritual called the pajaan. These videos created international outcry for the savage and cruel treatment inflicted upon elephants. But was this the real story?

TGS decided to examine this issue. In January, we went to Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary for mistreated and abused elephants, and learned some of the more tragic histories of Thailand’s elephant working class. We were even shown one of the elephant crush videos, which had a heavy impact on staff and students alike. In a more subdued manner, we then spent the rest of the day feeding and washing elephants in a river. Was this the whole story, though? These elephants at Elephant Nature Park were “safe” now, but how does preaching “don’t touch the elephants” help improve elephant treatment in the ubiquitous juggernaut of elephant tourism in Thailand? TGS decided to investigate further... Read later about our visit to Think Elephants International at the Golden Triangle.

“When arriving in Thailand, I had the idea that the weather would be somewhat cool. According to Ashley’s packing list, it was suggested that we bring somewhat warmer clothes. So I was quite surprised when I took my first steps into the hot, humid air. This might be considered ‘cooler weather’ for people like Kiwis and Aussies, but, eh, I’m from Canada..! When reading about Thailand, I gained a greater understanding of the inequality that lies in the country’s economy. The more wealthy citizens got privileges while the poor would suffer having to ‘face the lottery.’  I had no idea how to speak Thai. Thankfully, we had a presentation on language, culture and traditional clothing. We were all very grateful for learning the basics. The language consists of lots of confusing tonal words, ended in either ‘kraa’ or ‘krab.’ At the same event we had a chance to see how Thai dancing connects culture and tells stories. This involved banging on drums, hand ‘dancing’ and playing with fire.” - Isaac

“I am very interested in Thai politics since Sweden is also a constitutional monarchy, and yet the countries are so different. It seems that Thais are not as ‘close’ and touchy as the Ecuadorians. Great. Now I don’t have to touch people.” - Alice

Global Studies teacher Andrew McLean and World Literature teacher Irene Krugman coordinate a cross-curricular field trip to Baan Haw Mosque and Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Students learned what it’s like to practice Islam in a Buddhist country and then engaged in a conversation about Buddhism with a monk.

Bailey taking notes on her iPhone (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

Where worshippers wash before entering a mosque


challenges for the next

g e n e r at i o n of

Buddhist monks By Yada Pruksachatkun


hailand, like the rest of the world, is rapidly changing and moving towards a more Westernized state in society. When modernization takes its course in the conservative world of the East, Buddhism faces pressure as the people of the country are continuously distracted from the purpose of the religion while trying to keep up with the fast-growing world.

The early influence of the Western culture on Buddhism was seen about two centuries ago. “By the end of the 19th century, western interest in Buddhism became both intensive and extensive,” says author Donald K. Swearer in his book, the Buddhist World of Southeast Asia. The few early Western Buddhists were responsible for the creation and promotion of the modernized and demythologized version of Buddhism that was easier for Europeans to understand. The Westerners of the time have made several contributions to Buddhist scholarship and have founded the Pali text, and some even took a personal interest in the practice. In the book Buddhism and Politics in Thailand Somboom Suksamran talks about the idea of having modernized monks. This term refers to monks who are self-consciously or generally known as modern. As the world around starts adapting to the various changes brought by the new world, monks too want to keep up and to have access to technology and such. It is especially hard to keep young monks on track as everything today is so easily accessible. There are also the ones known as “political monks.” In fact, we regard two kinds of “political monks,” says Suksamran, the first being monks who campaign for the underprivileged, Buddhism and nationalism; and the second those that embrace political action in response to what they perceive as threats to their personal status, privilege and position. In modern Thai society, mainly Bangkok, people may easily feel like they are in big modernized cities but can feel like they have warped back into a simpler time just by visiting another part of the city. Although Lord Buddha taught about giving up all materialistic desires, monks today are seen in malls, fully dressed in their bright-orange robes, purchasing computers. Within the past few years, there have been several changes in Buddhist

education. Monks have been getting educated and have laptops with access to the internet so that they can do their homework. Even more so, monks have been known to join social networks such as Facebook. This has a very negative effect on Buddhism because it dismisses the teachings of the Buddha and its morals. This is shown by the monks who chat with girls online and go through their pictures, which goes against giving up all materialistic desires. So, the ultimate Thailand Buddhist governing body, the Sangha, is making an attempt to rid the temples of these “bad” monks. But, in reality, the governing body has not put in much effort to make this happen. Although one could argue that times have changed over the past two millenniums, people are more educated and concepts such as globalization do exist; the teachings of the Buddha are still followed by approximately 95% of the population of Thailand. Yet there have been cases where the Thai media have reported fake and exploited monks who have been caught and charged with inappropriate sexual misconduct. (Traditionally, monks are not permitted to have sex, families, or even talk or occupy themselves with such matters.) There have also been incidents where Thai monks have gone in the opposite direction, such as the article about the “planking monk” which was posted on the website “Tasty Thailand.” The monk has reportedly been charged and arrested because a Thai official thought that his planking photograph was worrisome and that it would be misinterpreted as if he were flying and showing “supernatural” powers. Examples like these show how Thai culture in some cases is still very immature, superstitious and maybe even a bit uneducated. Today you don’t see that many older monks but instead see a majority of younger monks who are not as educated in the teachings of the Sangha or as obedient and true to the rules that apply. The possibilities of where Buddhism in Thailand is headed are endless. These days most of the monks are modernizing with the world, and even though there are a few conservatives left, no one can tell what will happen when it’s time for them to leave Buddhism in the hands of these modern-day monks.


nstead of reading in books about how ever ything around us is connected, we decided to go experience it at the local farm on the actual campus. The farm is about five acres, complete with rice patties, an herb and vegetable garden, chickens, a lemon orchard, goats, water buffalo, maize, pigs and a flower garden. As of now, ninety percent of the farm’s production is used in the school cafeteria and the other ten percent, mostly lemons, is sold to markets in Bangkok.

On the first day we let the students explore the farm to get a general idea of what it has to offer. We asked the students to draw a resource flow map of the farm. Resources included physical ones such as animal waste, crops, water, animal products, plant waste, insects, etc. We also had the students include resources one cannot see, such as sunlight, nitrogen, labor, money, and educational capital. By drawing these processes out and showing where resources are flowing to and from, it is easier to view the farm as a large interrelated system. It is also much easier to see where possible inefficiencies lie within the system. This is the space where research and development projects will take place.

Learning about research and development

PTIS Farm Overall, the students did a great job of beginning to think on a large-systems level. By the end of the lesson many ideas were floating around about ways to tighten up the system, limiting the number of resources that were needlessly entering and leaving the farm. Some ideas included sorting out waste products in order to use them more efficiently, building a methane cooker for bio-gas production, utilizing more of the animal waste to be used in compost in order to eliminate fertilizer usage, testing pollution levels in water, building a new habitat for the pigs, a shed to grow mushrooms, and even an insect farm to use for educational purposes among the primary levels.

When pregnant women don’t smoke, society pays the price.

• Liamis •

Cut out and save


By Jarret

Making elephant toothpaste. What kind of toothpaste does your elephant prefer???

There are three different concentrations of B and four types of C. What kind of toothpaste does your elephant prefer?

That was the question posed to the budding young scientists at TGS during their second Applying their knowledge of the scientific method, teams worked collaboratively to decide chemistry lab in Thailand. upon variables; design experimental procedures; Huh? What’s he talking about? learn proper lab safety protocols and use The chemistry lab experiments are sometimes appropriate safety gear; concoct various mixtures the stuff of legend that students remember for that fizzed and oozed out all over the place; the rest of their lives – like when Miss Smith develop hypotheses for the relationships dropped a beaker and almost blew up the lab between the different variables; and run test or when Diego’s hand turned blue for a week after messy test to finally discover what they from some potion he spilled on himself – but thought was the best toothpaste for their more often than not, chemistry labs tend imaginary elephants, and present in a scientific to be cookie-cutter follow-the-recipe-type report their procedures, their findings and a “experiments” where the main focus is reflection on everything that went wrong along reduced to making measurements and the way. cleaning glassware. Here at TGS Science we This was our model for lab work for the aim to do more than that – our science is a rest of the trimester – applying the principles journey of discovery, testing boundaries and of the scientific method to performing research learning how to search for the truth. of personal interest – and within a few months,

PROJECT In the experiments pictured here you see TGS students were designing their own students doing just that. The only information independent research projects at the PTIS farm! They didn’t know it at the time, but they they were given was: were secretly practicing for IB science ;-) and I If you mix A with B and add a catalyst C, think that now they are ready to begin. you are going to make elephant toothpaste. And then we learned how to clean glassware!

“I thought of Thailand as an impoverished country covered by rolling hills of tea fields. I later learned that Thailand is a country with clusters of cities filled with busy streets full of bicycles, mopeds and motorcyclists zooming past every red light, something that would pose a great threat in any Western city. Thailand is also a temperate country with a not-sosuper-stable government. The people, in my opinion, are hypnotized by the ‘great’ king and can’t seem to face the facts that he’s not all that great.” - Willem “I first came to Chiang Mai at five years old, bewildered at the gold braces of the long-neck women of the Karen tribe. Now, however, I feel it is easier to appreciate and attempt to understand this culture. I’ve noticed the older generation is less approving of tourists, while the youth are excited to see foreigners; they see us as an opening, a portal to a world outside their bubble, beyond what they know. I look forward to this trimester in Thailand – the food, the dancing, the language, the clothing. It’s all so upbeat, intense and brilliant. One can’t help but be whisked away by it all and be left in absolute silenced awe.” - Hannah

“My highlight was dressing up and acting like a boss. I liked achieving everything that our country wanted.”

“My highlight was the smaller meeting with UNESCO where we debated the resolutions and Hannah owned everyone.”

Model united nations

The best-dressed bunch of teenagers north of Bangkok

e v o l e h t e r Sha

A few of our girls spent their lunch educating the youth about our Wrists4Rights initiative and helped them understand the importance of children’s rights!

Wrists4Rights is a student-led human rights and leadership development program that arose from a workshop in Sydney with social entrepreneur and human rights activist Rob Wetton. TGS students developed an understanding of human rights and created the content, time line, responsibility chart and marketing plan for a children’s rights awareness campaign to run with host students throughout our travels. Wrists4Rights is based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international human rights treaty, and includes both an advocacy component as well as the sale of charitable wristbands printed with phrases representing the key 42 articles of the Convention.

Music creates awar


Wrists4Rights affords TGS and host students the opportunity to advocate for children’s rights while developing leadership and organizational skills. As we develop Wrists4Rights, we will provide the resources for host schools to become long-term advocates, spreading the program throughout their school, and informing nearby schools about the Convention and its importance.

Rob Wetton works with the students in Sydney

The beautiful campus at PTIS – and so big that a bike comes in handy

Jungle cooking with COSA

Midmorning on Sunday brought the students to the campus farm for a lesson in “jungle cooking.� Members of the local group COSA joined us and together we created a feast. From about 10am until noon time, students chopped, cut and cooked shishkabobs over tiny enclosed fires. Tomatoes, mushrooms, green eggplant, chicken, tofu, sweet potatoes, sticky rice, omelets.... once it was completed, we sat around small bamboo trays heaped high and shared the delicacies that had been created. My mouth still waters thinking of it.

The hard-core 21st-century explorer takes her iPhone EVERYWHERE!

Zip-lining through the rainforest

By Maya

We are all standing on a circular platform pierced by a big trunk. The thick canopy spreads avocado and spinach green in the valley below us. The air is thick and moist and the sweat is bursting from our pores. I can smell the damp hot forest and hear the excited voices from my fellow students. In front of us is the long wire joining the two hills.... We are spread out, and like a dandelion seed stuck to the stem head, we are attached to the middle by ropes tied to our uncomfortable harnesses. Beneath us the wooden floor is creaking a bit, and some of us try to lean back and rely on the ropes to hold our weight – literally letting our life hang by a thread. My second carabine is picked up by our guide and attached to the runner on the metal wire. Click. The other one is taken off the safety by the trunk and locked to my harness. Click. The platform ends an inch from my toes. I step back until I feel the hard tree hitting my back. Strong hands push me as I leap forward, and for a tenth of a second I drop. With nothing pushing or dragging or cutting anywhere I fly for almost no time, and then gravity does its work and I sit in the harness with the ground ten meters below me. I can hear metal against the tiny wheels on the wire above my head and I can see the landscape zooming by below me. My body stretches to catch the cooling wind that’s whirling around me. I want this moment to last. Then, after a few seconds, I’m done, and it is not until then that I realize I’m smiling....

The unofficial TGS Open By Gijs

Together, Gawa, Ambika and I formed a tennis tournament within a week’s time! We had 12 people participating throughout the whole tournament. We decided to create doubles teams and split them up into two different pools. In the end we had our finals (which were at night). Ambika and Liam vs.Gawa and myself. Playing for the third place, we had Willem and Alex vs. Lin and A’ntonia. Gawa and I were victorious placing first, with Ambika and Liam second and Willem and Alex third. We played from 1:30pm to 6pm. The whole day most of the TGSers were outside watching and supporting the teams. We had a large variety of players, from beginners to pros. We had a lot of fun. Ballboys running left and right and Pema being our official umpire throughout the matches! It was a day that everyone enjoyed – the outdoors in the open sun and laughing at the players’ mistakes. Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to do this again in Germany. It would be a tennis tour around the world! Let the tournaments keep coming!

It’s a gentleman’s game

The coolest ballboy in the history of tennis

The shades are to distract the opponent

Screen S



Becca, Maya and Megan dedicate their Thursday afternoons to taking care of stray dogs that have been adopted by the temples in Chiang Mai. Although the monks look after the dogs on a daily basis, the Exploria that these three girls were a part of – Hand to Paw – helps the dogs stay healthy, vaccinated and flealess.

Hill Tribe Volunteer Trip

Hill Tribe By Monique Lefebvre

TGS spent the past weekend up in the mountains of rural northern Thailand assisting a Hill tribe village in creating a space for their young children attending school. We left on Thursday afternoon and drove the 1.5 hours to reach the Chiang Dao province where we were tasked with creating new toilets at the school, as well as a fence surrounding the entire school property and laying down cement. Over the 2.5 days that we spent in the community we were welcomed with open arms and plenty of assistance from the local children. Work started Friday morning in the community, and TGS was split up into three different groups to start taking on tasks. Students were working together to dig up a large enough hole to create a fish pond that will help to promote more sustainability within the community, as they usually go to the river daily to fish. A pond will allow them to maintain the fish longer and help teach the children responsibility. The dirt was repurposed to help bring the level of the ground even with the outside of the building where we would be laying cement. 

Another group lugged over large bundles of bamboo and spread out along a barbed-wire fence. The bamboo has been cut into thin lengths, and we weaved the pieces in and out of the barbed wire to create a fence that was more pleasing to the eye – not to mention a little safer than having a fence of straight barbed wire. As TGS took to making the fence, local children came out and started helping by handing bamboo to us. Some got right in and started weaving pieces themselves!

The new toilets for the school already had the wood beams erected. Students got to work mixing cement and laying bricks to create walls around the space and close it in. There were numerous local people who were helping keep the brickwork level and in line, while giving tips to the students about how to mix cement and the right amount to lay out to keep the bricks together. Groups switched from task to task every hour or so, and there were plenty of breaks for shade, snacks and water.

We broke for lunch each day around noon and were treated to what I can honestly describe as the best food I’ve had thus far in Thailand. Pad Thai, fried rice with vegetables, fresh cucumbers. It was so, so good and even better after having been out in the sun working. We were even treated to fried crickets one afternoon! They were surprisingly delicious, although I can’t quite grasp the right words to describe their taste.

The students’ work ethic was absolutely awe-inspiring. We were able to accomplish the physical tasks at hand, but what really took me back was what we accomplished in terms of personal growth. The connections that the students made to the local community in the short time that we were there were nothing short of incredible. We were able to work with them and not just for them, which helped develop a sense of community and togetherness immediately.   When we returned to our lodge at night, the conversations were centered on reflection. Sitting around a campfire our last night there, we did an activity in which each person was assigned a different role to play. The game

was called “The Pretender” and the conversation topic was to discuss the prospect of bringing mass tourism to the area we were in. According to your assigned role, you were to argue the benefits or negatives of mass tourism. We had students who were speaking for the trees, speaking for the children, speaking for the young people, the backpackers, the hotel owners, the beggars. Conversation went on for over an hour and we finally had to cut it off because we could have discussed endlessly. The viewpoints and arguments that were brought up amazed me as well because these are students who were thinking about every angle and every possible argument that could be made. It was evident how the weekend had affected them. The sense of pride I had for their brilliance was nothing short of overflowing.

We had done other activities as well based upon reflection. The first night we were there, Ashley, who was visiting with us, led breathing exercises and then went into a discussion of things for which we are grateful. A majority stated they were grateful to be alive, to be there in that moment, to be there with each other. Our last night we did an activity in which you stated what you appreciated about the person to your left and something you had learned about them. There were meaningful statements, as well as candid ones that were so funny that we all laughed out loud. After, we spent time singing songs as the guitar was passed around, or even practicing spinning poi! One night we even had a treat of Banana Boats. Taking bananas and splitting them down the middle, we stuffed them full of chocolates, wrapped them up in tinfoil and threw them on the hot coils. Mmm...melted and gushy banana chocolate goodness.Â

There’s something about sitting around a campfire together after a long day of dirty work in the sun that really fosters a sense of togetherness and community unparalleled by other experiences. It helped me to take a step back and truly appreciate what we have here at TGS and what we are becoming. The entire weekend as a whole helped us to grow and continue to make a difference within ourselves, each other and the world that surrounds us.Â

“The first thing that surprised me was the beautiful jungle that I saw when I was on my flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. I didn’t know before that Thailand would be such a beautiful country. Learning about Thai culture on the second day I got to know that there are a few similarities between my country, Afghanistan, and Thailand. Fot instance, when you go to the rural villages you respect the locals by sitting if they are sitting or standing if they are standing, which is just like back home. I truly appreciate how Thai people have kept their old traditions throughout time.” - Jawed “My initial impression of Chiang Mai was not what I expected. On previous visits to Thailand I had only been in Bangkok, which is like a concrete jungle, but there isn’t really any comparison between Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Chiang Mai is more spread out and less crowded. It’s also much cooler here than in Bangkok and there are more trees. The fact that the country is so different and the culture varies so much from north to south is amazing. My first impression of the Thai people is that they are very hard-working. You rarely see anyone standing around doing nothing. People here are focused on what they need to do and get it done.” - Cameron

Hill Tribe

By Maya

The first thing we saw of the community was a bridge. A home-built rough bridge made of thick trunks and tree planks. It was one of those bridges you don’t really know what to expect from, but as you walk on it it’s surprisingly stable. I feel like this bridge mirrored the village and their habitants well. I didn’t know what to expect from them at first, but when we started working they helped and made the day so much better. Especially the kids. It was amazing to see how these small 6-year-olds would just grab a hoe from one of us and start digging, or join our chain and pass heavy buckets of cement or dirt to the next person. I felt like they were truly grateful for our help, and they wanted to thank us with more than words. It might not be true, but that is how they made me feel.

I don’t know how I’d feel about the visit without the kids there. I would’ve gotten a great experience, but I’d probably not remember it as fun and a place I’d want to go back to. Working with smiles and laughter surrounding you makes any labor a thousand times better. When two kids come running towards you and start tickling you with broad grins on their faces it enchants your day. The language barrier didn’t matter, but lucky as I am, we had Yada in our group. She could pass on information like the fact that I apparently have “a giant’s teeth.” I have not only learned how to build a bathroom, make a barbed-wire bamboo fence and how to make concrete (I still remember the proportions of one sack of cement, fourteen buckets of sand, twenty buckets of gravel, etc.), but I’ve learned a lot about my fellow TGS friends. I thought that after three months with them I’d know almost everything about them. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Now I’ve seen people I could never imagine with children be the center of attention and people I could never see do dirty jobs build barbed-wire fences while stepping in “human waste.” Also, I’ve learned more about myself. Apparently, I’m deadly scared of a Swedish lullaby, as Alice kindly reminded me. I’m awfully bad at remembering Thai names and I can actually sleep on rock-hard pillows. This is a trip I’ll remember forever. At first I didn’t think it would top the Chimborazo visit. I thought it would be the same hard work with TGS and fun nights. I was right about the hard work and the fun nights, but it was so much more than that. Instead of working for the Hill tribe, we worked with them. 

Light up the night After a long day’s work nothing is better than hanging out with your friends while being mesmerized by fire. Tonight was especially exciting because we not only had a bonfire to sit around but some poi to play with. Poi is a performance art that involves swinging tethered weights in a variety of rhythmical and geometrical patterns. We all tried with regular poi and I was impressed at how quickly the students got the hang of it. After warming up a bit we set them on fire and put on a little show. I originally learned how to spin poi from my boss when working in India and it was great to be able to pass on the pastime. The highlight of the night was the campfire. We had mellow acoustic tunes, tasty treats roasted over the coals, great dialogue about issues facing the local Hill tribes and an overall good vibe. For me, this was the best night in Thailand.

- Brad

Guest speakers

Matthew Albert

is the self-proclaimed “biggest fan of the IB” – the International Baccalaureate programme. On February 17, Matthew spoke to the TGS and PTIS students in Chiang Mai about the daunting IB programme and how to tackle this big endeavor.

Guest speaker Harvard Professor By Yada

Tony Wagner

We had seen him in the back of the class, walking around, watching us. With a shock of peppered white hair and a smile permanently tugging the corners of his mouth, he is the picture of a man happy with his life. He didn’t speak much; sometimes he’d ask us what we were doing. It was only until two days later that we were formally introduced to him, the Harvard professor Tony Wagner. Dressed in a Hawaiin-inspired shirt and casual pants, few would have expected the man who walked onto the stage to be of such responsibility and passion. Most would think such dignity and wisdom would be encased in a suit and tie and a serious expression to match. “They enter smart and they leave smart. The question is, are they innovative?” His eyes light up and he waves his hands while he speaks, drawing out the problems in education rarely spoken about. There are seven skills that young people need to succeed.

Dave Martin

A former Warrant officer with the Royal Logistics Corps, Dave has spent numerous years operating in some of the world’s harshest environments, from the Arctic regions to the jungles of Central America. Students asked questions, saw videos and tried out the equipment one uses to trek 745km through the coldest, driest, highest desert in the world.

Critical thinking and problem-solving Collaboration across networks and leading by influence Agility and adaptability Initiative and entrepreneurship Oral and written communication skills Accessing and analyzing information Curiosity and imagination

Joann is listening with the CEO of PTIS

“They enter smart and they leave smart. The question is, are they innovative?”

The world operates digitally now and education must be adjusted to suit the younger generation as “digital natives” and the hope for the future. Education is the most isolated part of society in evolution, falling behind science and technology. Wagner mentions how even the best schools rely on textbooks, a one way “consummation” of information, nonexistent student/teacher relationships and rote memorization. This education completely contradicts the working world where information is at our fingertips and collaboration and communication are key. How can our children be expected to solve the mounting world problems when the skills needed are not cultivated in them? His honesty cuts deep into everyone. Educators are leaving the education system outdated because they are so isolated themselves. They live most of their teaching lives alone, not seeing the importance of digital devices and communication skills. Because of the problem trickling down the stream from educators to students, students come out of high school unable to formulate their own thoughts into clear concepts, unable to analyze and unable to solve problems. After a moment of silence, questions start pouring in: “How can students form good, trusting relationships in big classes?” “What about the schools without digital devices?” “Aren’t we ‘consuming’ you?” “How can IB teachers incorporate digital media into the curriculum when the IB exam is a written one?” Wagner smiles at each question and answers with a heartbeat’s hesitation. Many of the questions are met with a nondefinite answer, but for every question he struggles to answer he brings up and deepens other points such as the expanding technology world and the outdated methods of even the most prestigous curriculums. In the span of an hour, the unorthodox-looking man had joked, explained and smiled his way to a convinced audience. With a quick laugh and bow he was off again, in the same quick and energetic manner of a youth. Rebecca and Jawed run the microphone at the Q&A session

Program ns Schools g in bal Citize it lo is G V For ducation E l tia n Experie hool lobal Sc Think G ruary 2012 F eb Visit 22 – 25 Triangle taff n e Gold S 9 ents & 25 Stud

ry 22 Februa kfast ea aton 0730 Br art North for Th ae Kok River ep on by M ibe 0900 D h at That nc ill Tr Lu H 1200 Lorcha sit Baan g 1330 Vi e at Mae Salon n riv tio Ar ta 1500 Tea Plan - Tour of accommodation e into ttl Se 1700 Salong inner on Mae entation creation 1800 D lk & pres re 1900 Ta lection, rest and ef along 2030 R rnight at Mae S ve 2200 O ry 23 Februa kfast ea iangle 0730 Br art for Golden Tr eum ep Mus 0830 D t Hall of Opium si 1030 Vi h nc odation 1230 Lu e into accomm ttl le Se 1330 n Triang de ol G t si 1430 Vi y to Laos Island rr Fe nd 1530 Thaila eturn to iangle 1730 R ner olden Tr on the G in entation creation 1800 D es pr & lk re 1900 Ta lection, rest and Triangle ef 2030 R rnight at Golden ve O 00 22 n ry Foundatio 24 Februa kfast Elephant ea le Asian 0730 Br t Golden Triang si 0900 Vi h nc 1230 Lu art for Mae Sai ep 1330 D ore Market pl ai Ex 1400 Chiang R epart for 1530 D e in Chiang Rai riv odation m Ar 1700 to accom - Settle in r ne in 1800 D t Night Bazaar Rai si 1900 Vi rnight in Chiang ve 2200 O ry ple 25 Februa kfast hite Tem ea g Khun W 0800 Br art for W at Ron Condoms & ep 0900 D abbages nch at C ai 1200 Lu art for Chiang M ep 1300 D e at Traidhos riv Ar 1600 inner 1800 D t and recreation es os 1900 R rnight at Traidh ve 2200 O Learning 0 unity for , Chiang Mai 5018 m n Comm Generatio Huay Sai, A.Mae Ri50180, Thailand e– re Th T. 3, g Mai Traidhos : 234 Moo m, Chian ae Ri dress Street Ad ess : PO Box 1, M dr Postal Ad : +66-53-301500 egenerati ndar@thre Telephone )53-301-460, ly ati (0 er 6en +6 eg x: thre Fa michaelc@ Email : re : Website

On an early Wednesday morning, TGS loaded into several vans and headed north three hours to the city of Chiang Rai for a long weekend in Thailand’s Golden Triangle. We spent four days learning and exploring all the area had to offer. It was place-based learning at its finest!

The Golden Triangle

Bailey tries spinning wool for the loom

Students avoid the baking sun while watching weaving

The nicest bu ild in is the church


Local woman wearing the traditional hat

Visiting the Baan Lorcha Hill tribe

in Thaton

ends past, this Hill tribe Hill tribe a couple week a th wi en be d ha we pping that While thods of hunting and tra me al ion dit tra re mo showed us some ey trapped animals s explained to us how th wa It d. an ail Th in d ct was a giant occurre e most interesting aspe Th . ds bir as ll we as s such as wild pig e. Several students s of wood and an old tir ce pie ge lar of t ou de ma g to the Hill sw ing but the use of the sw in n, su e th in g in sw a g took to enjoy in al festival. The per year during an annu ce on ly on s me co le op it is a time tribe pe ned by the shaman, but mi ter de is al tiv fes e th occurrence of tion. Villagers wear ether in harvest celebra tog me co to ity un mm co the appropriate for the nces. It also represents da rm rfo pe d an g in th traditional clo fying that they have g “woman’s attire,” sig ni in ar we gin be to ls gir their hand at time for d the opportunity to try ha s nt de Stu y. rr ma to become of age 3-4 days to weave which shockingly takes s, ck so ol wo of ir pa a g to us that the weav in m. Sadly, it was reported loo e th h ug ro th nd ha when done by e craft, instead g interest in learning th in los e ar ns tio ra ne ge r younge eady-made pair in tow n. simply purchasing an alr

Fu n at the local “p laygrou nd”

Dr. Peter Holmshaw talks about the history of opium

The Opium Museum

was commissioned to be built by the Thai government and the current king’s mother to help raise awareness about the history of opium and its problems of addiction in Thailand. Walking through the three floors of the museum, we were introduced to opium as a medicinal substance that has been grown in the area for thousands of years. It became abused when the British began trading in opium for other products. The free trade only helped fuel the demand for the drug in Thailand and greatly assisted in the increase of addiction rates. The area has been known as the Golden Triangle because opium was being traded similarly to gold. The Opium Museum was a wealth of information, not just about the history of opium in the region but also its use and how it was smoked. Creating it is a lengthy process of boiling and straining several times over. What really fascinated me was how liberally it was originally used in drugs, with the commonly known company of Bayer introducing it early in its medications. The museum now stands as a place to educate and inform, while encouraging help for those addicted to this powerful drug.

“I was greatly surprised about the complexity of the country and the differences and contrasts that lie within it. Before I came to Thailand, as soon as I would tell people I was going they would immediately tell me about infamous prostitution and ladyboys. I later learned how to be respectful to the culture here and I realized it is actually quite a conservative country. A traditional woman’s attire shows almost no skin. In the more rural villages showing affection between men and women is very taboo. Thailand is a very happy, energetic place. All the people give you big grins, and it seems like they are very aware of their country.” - Emma “The biggest impression that I know will stick with me is the beauty of the PTIS campus. They have everything, ranging from the most relaxing time to feeling as if you need to throw up from exercising so hard. Sunsets are gorgeous when everything turns orange and lights up the pond in the middle of the campus. I have only been to the city briefly in a mall so I cannot say much more other than the things I have experienced, but I can say that this trimester is definitely a contender to knock off Sydney as being the best trimester.” - Liam

the Tea plantation I was fascinated to learn that almost all types of tea come from the same plant – it just depends on what part of the plant you’ve purchased and how many times it has been processed. We walked through the rows and rows of tea plants that covered the surrounding hillsides, and it was honestly very picturesque as you looked off into the distance. Afterwards we were served several different types of tea: white tea, green tea and oolong #12. They were all brewed right in front of us and poured into small tea cups. It was tasteful.

Tea lecture

The Golden Triangle

with Dr. Peter Holmshaw That evening at our hotel we had a lecture about the Mae Salong area and its tea production. Sitting 4,500 feet above sea level, Mae Salong produces and exports a large amount of tea. The area was originally settled by the Chinese Nationalist Army. The Yunnanese, coming in from China’s Yunnan province, were the first in the region to begin migrating and trading within the Golden Triangle. Tea, which has arguably become the world’s favorite drink, was first used as medicine in China 5,000 years ago. It’s native to Himalayan foothills and now grows wild in Thailand. As mentioned before, all tea comes from one plant, whether it’s black tea, green tea, etc. The different types of tea include: white tea, which is the tiniest, tiniest buds that are air dried; green tea, the most popular in Japan and considered healthiest; oolong, the most commonly produced in Mae Salong and said to be the “champagne” of tea with its subtle and various flavors. Black tea – think Lipton – is what most Westerners drink. Pu’er tea comes in bricks and is processed wet so it ferments and ages over time. 100-year-old Pu’er teas are for sale. Jasmine tea is a flavored tea, but usually isn’t the best-quality tea if you have to add things to it. Herbal tea (chamomile) technically isn’t a tea because it’s an infusion of several flavors and different teas, which I never would have guessed. Some people appreciate tea in the same manner that others do wine. There is an aroma, a body and a taste to tea that can vary greatly according to the type of tea or region it comes from. Tea-tasting should be done as so: Swish it around in your mouth to get the taste and then exhale through your nose and it will help you to get the taste of your tea. The Chinese art of tea is meant to be in a relaxed and informal atmosphere with time to appreciate the aroma while savoring the environment, art and music. Tea harvests occur six times per year, and there should be two leaves and a bud. There shouldn’t be any stems in your tea unless you purchased the cheap kind. Tea, overall, is great for health with many benefits such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and increasing body immunity as it is an antioxidant and stimulating without the crash of caffeine.


We visited the research site of Think Elephants International, an NGO run by Dr. Joshua Plotnik from Cambridge University. Here Josh and his team investigate elephant behavior and intelligence. They work alongside mahouts and a local tourism company to foster positive change in the tourism industry.

ONE OF THE MANY THINGS we try to do in science as we travel around the globe is examine regional environmental value systems and explore local issues in conservation management. We began this investigation in Ecuador with our trips to the Amazon rainforest and the Galapagos Islands. We have continued the tradition this term here in Thailand by examining the controversial situation with domesticated elephants. - Jarret

The Golden Triangle

Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation is a fascinating

program that runs in conjunction with a very popular hotel in Chiang Rai. The initial idea was to help Thai mahouts and their elephants get off begging in the streets of Bangkok. The founder of the program recruited mahouts by “renting” their elephants instead of simply purchasing them. The idea is novel in that mahouts are not driven to take purchase money and go out and buy another elephant that’s been taken out of the wild; instead, maintaining ownership of their elephant with a company that pays them to be there. GTAEF has 30 elephants that are living at the Anataran and Four Seasons resort. Only 12 work with tourists where they do tourist mahout training for an hour or two a day at most. Eighteen don’t work at all, but instead help with research on elephant intelligence tests. These types of experiments are helping to obtain further information about how elephants see their world. Any donations to the organization are put towards protecting the wild populations that still exist, and toward elephant hospitals and corridors for elephants to move between national parks. Not only did we get to interact with the elephants, we were also witnessing some of science activities as well as given lectures about these amazing – and beautiful – animals.

Monique is photographing the local hunk

Walking through the depths of hell Visiting the White Temple Wat Rong Khun By Monique and into heaven As the last excursion on our trip to the Golden Triangle was the amazing Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai. It’s said to have been under construction for only 11 years but is expected to take 100 to fully complete.



in k


at Wa t Ron

The Golden Triangle

g Khun

The temple is an incredible blend of cultures coming together. When you walk through the temple it is as if you begin in the depths of hell and walk through to reach heaven on the other side. The walkway into the temple is surrounded by hands reaching up out of the ground, as if they were beneath you sinking away into the depths of hell. Crossing over a bridge into the temple you walk over a waterway with huge koi fish swimming beneath. Once inside, there is a large Buddah, but what is really breathtaking is the mural that adorns the walls of the temple. Within the face of a dragon there is a painting that reaches from floor to ceiling following a similar motif – going from hell to heaven. The bottom is adorned with images of Western popular culture mixed in with some from the East, and rising up along the wall are images of guns and other negative influences. At the very top there kneels a girl praying before a Buddah. The symbolism and imagery are overwhelming, and it was easy to see why the temple remained packed the entire time we were there. Students and staff alike spent some serious time staring at the painting, taking in everything that was represented, mouths agape.

The Golden Triangle

I never thought I’d walk into a temple in Thailand and say, “Look at the Angry Birds dive-bombing the World Trade Center!” but that is exactly what I said upon visiting the shrine inside the Wat Rong Khun.


The assignment was to use our trip to the Golden Triangle as a text through which to explore the concepts of Cultural Diffusion, Cultural Assimilation and Cultural Imperialism. The trip was rich in learning: The Opium Museum taught us how war, exploration, immigration and emigration have shaped the trades of opium and tea across Southeast Asia, and also explained the presence of Mandarin-speaking populations across Thailand. At the Akha Hill tribe, the students learned how to work a loom and then heard that the younger generations prefer to buy their clothes instead of making them in the traditional way. At Think Elephants International, the students learned about social and cultural clashes and partnerships among mahouts, conservationists and scientists (see Jarret’s blog) in the preservation of elephant species across Thailand. Although these pieces and many more were laid out like breadcrumbs across the path of our trip, the other faculty and I worried that our students would not process all of the clues. Walking into the shrine at the White Temple, it all came together. As we drove up, the Wat Rong Khun temple appeared like a surreal specter along the highway, something straight out of a fairy tale. My mind jumped to Hansel and Gretel gnawing on their gingerbread house; I wondered what good or evil lurked within. Even with my overactive imagination, I was not prepared. Wat Rong Khun is cast in cement and reflective glass. The surrounding compound is awash in the same materials: severed cement heads hanging from trees with Lai Thai detail surrounding them, hands reaching up from the depths of mirror-like ponds surrounding the bridge into the shrine. The outside is enough to make your head spin, but what waits inside will blow you away.

Emma reflects on the influence from other Asian superpowers

The mural inside the White Temple is a riveting amalgam of Western and Thai culture. Towering images of the Buddha and the Boddhisattva are inundated with Neo from The Matrix, Michael Jackson, Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush. One student turned to me and said, “What’s up with the skulls? Those are messed up and awesome!” Intricate Lai Thai imagery links all of these disparate images into one (as yet unfinished) breathtaking mural. I am faltering as I write this description because the artistic expression of cultural diffusion, assimilation, imperialism and social critique is truly indescribable. The experience of visiting this temple was the living embodiment of everything that I have been teaching, and everything that we, at THINK Global School, believe is enriching about place-based learning. Lindsay and I gave the students one hour to sketch. We asked that they choose either cultural diffusion, assimilation or imperialism and create a visual representation of this concept inspired by the Wat Rong Khun or any of their other learning on our Golden Triangle trip. When we returned to campus we gave them one week to create a mixed-media interpretation of this concept and loop in their learning from at least one other discipline. This project was designed so that students could process the real-world issues behind their learning and so they could begin to see the ways that their learning in each discipline can come together to create a holistic sense of the world.

Isaac’s take on the role of opium in cultural imperialism

Alice foresees the influence of Western culture and corporations

Rebecca links cultural diffusion to our reading of A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants

Overall, most of the students showed a clear grasp of the concepts introduced and a rich engagement with their experiences during our trip. Based on their output, I’ve learned that we still have some learning to do in terms of helping the students link concepts across disciplines. In the future I will continue to design assessments which ask the students to reflect on how their learning in other classes affects their learning in mine. The consistent challenge for me as an educator in the wake of these trips is to maintain the excitement of discovery as we bring our reflection into the classroom. Projects like this are definitely the beginning, but I also have work to do as a teacher to make sure that the glimmer of discovery never ceases to leave my students’ eyes. Pema’s collage represents cultural assimilation in Southeast Asian cultures

“When arriving at the airport, I walked with Alex, Beny and Willem to immigration. A Thai women greets us with a smile and points us in the direction of the Passport line for the Thai people, the shortest of them all. We are obviously not Thai but the woman insisted. This illustrates perfectly how considerate and kind the Thai people are (which we already knew knowing Charis and Yada).” - Rebecca “Before coming to Thailand, I had views of a culture much like the one that I experienced in China, but I was extremely mistaken. China is a place that is built on the remnants of a dominating superpower, one which has grown over decades after the Great Leap. The types of music, dance, architecture, learning and development show a culture which, in Thailand’s case, has prospered without the outside influences of colonization and Western cultures. What I have read from these stories is a culture which grew after centuries of emotion and positive influence, yet was deeply affected by the globalization which brought tourists to the country, bringing strife to the lower classes of working people. Being in Chiang Mai for a few days has shown me the growth of a culture, which slowly grew into a power within Southeast Asia. The thousands of years had Thailand developing a culture filled with dance and music and beautiful ideas that have flourished.” - Megan

Reaching T hailand’s Northernmost Point

like our

? s m r o f i n u l o o h c new s



The Barge Trip Monks crossing th e river

On a slow boat to Bangkok The air of Thailand was unusually cool as I climbed upstairs to the deck. Nobody was awake but the empty space next to my bed told me the birthday girl was.

She was on the front of the barge, looking at the view as the barge travels. Everywhere along the river you saw the famous water hyacinth. You’d think it was native, but it was in fact brought from Brazil to Thailand.

We’re getting close to Bangkok now, but there was no sight of buildings yet. There were temples, though, and more temples. I’m a Thai, but I never knew that we had this many temples. What sets a temple unique? We saw one that had the influence of a European church - with tiles from Italy and stained-glass windows. It’s strange to see Buddha instead of Jesus. Another interesting temple was the one that looked similar to the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I really liked that one. It was brown instead of the usual white and gold. In this same temple we saw a sleeping Buddha that became famous when the flood in Thailand made it look like Buddha was floating on water. 
 The sky was slightly pink as the sun rose. The birthday girl and I just sat and enjoyed the view as everyone else was waking up. The usual TGS commotion added a tasteful hue to the picture. Today we were going to go to the market and shop for our own breakfast.

Investigating water Hyacinths

by c ha ris

We all had our big baskets and bowls so that we didn’t have to use plastic. The Thai people were confused. Not everyone knew about being eco-friendly. Things got more complicated when it came to sauces and my group had to use some plastic. It was fun to decide what to eat. As a Thai, I recommended some food that they would say is disgusting but then tried it and thought it was delicious. We visited Koh Kret, which was famous for its pottery. It was a small island, set aside from the mainland by the river. We got to talk to a woman about how hard it was when there was a flood. People in this island would be stuck in their houses, just on the second floor. Food was scarce and water was impossibly hard to find. She still seemed pretty happy, though . I found it inspiring to see people go through rough times and still look happy. Other parts of that day included kayaking in the river and attemp ting to teach Thai kids English . The problem was we didn’t know much about their standards and ended up with a prepared lesson of things they already knew.
We left the barge not long after that, taking some vans to Karnch anaburi. My favorit e part at the barge was probably laying on the roof looking at the nature surrounding us and hanging out in the “bedroom” with the others. Both were good bonding moments that led me to feeling really happy.

Giving Alms to a monk in Thailand. The values of Buddhism are that of peace, selflessness and unity. Being able to help in one’s journey to achieve purity puts your mind at ease and also gives you a warm feeling that you helped someone. These young boys spoke no words to us, which is not very surprising. They were most likely not used to foreigners, especially ones that towered two feet over them.

– Liam

Giving ALMS to the Buddhist monks

OThneem7-ordwninarg fwnice wknokame up at around 5 to give alms to the Buddhis

t monks. e I received from m y peers was Sleepy, a known trait of mine prominently , so obviously I was not too thrilled abou Nonetheless, this was t the timing. such an amazing ex perience that we ha food was wrapped in d. All of the banana leaves (the traditional way) beca ar e incredibly bad fo us e plastic bags r the environment, but people who give nowadays. We walk alms us e them ed from the barge to a road alongside River in search of hu the Chao Phraya ngry monks. Coming across two monks, w on the ground and e knelt held up our tray of fr eshly cooked br ea kfast. First came the rice, steamed to perf ectio n. I placed it carefu into a stainless-stee lly l bowl, trying not to touch the rim that was considere as d disrespectful. Then the cooked meat. It didn’t have to be m eat, of course, as m uch as any cooked dis Then came the fr h. uit and drink. I ac cidentally scraped th back of my hand e on th informed that as lon e edge of the bowl but was later g it wasn’t on purp os e I was fine. He closed the lid and I gently placed the ivo ry lotus, a symbol of purity, on top. I knelt down to the concrete ground, bowed my head an d held out the tray . Then came the most perplexing, yet beautiful chants I have heard yet. He was blessing me. Apparently he was blessing me for a prosperous lif e, fu ll of fortune. I don’t know I feel any mor e blessed th an I was before, bu t it was an amazing new experie nce. One that made in touch with the m e feel mor e Buddhist relig ion . – Yuan Yuan

An act of selflessness

Teaching English to local schoolchildren

“Venice of the East”

A UNESCO World Heritage Site


We ventured through Thailand with a speedy train that seemed many years older than us. Our voices were loud until the afternoon came. We quieted down and needed inspiration for excitement. Andy stepped up to the plate and zipped up his hoodie and put on his headphones. He was a big black Teletubby. He did a little jig which made all the students snicker.

What our amazing teachers will do to entertain us on a boring train ride to bangkok.

Andy the Teletubby

The Wat Yai Chai Mongkol was built back in 1357 and then restored in 1982. The Ayutthaya was the ancient capital of the southern Kingdom of Siam from 1350 until 1767. It was Founded by King Rama Tibodi I, Ayutthaya absorbed Sukhothai, the older Thai kingdom, and destroyed much of the Cambodian Khmer kingdom. The Ayutthayans also tried to control the northern kingdom at Chiang Mai but were unsuccessful. The Ayutthayan kings adopted Cambodian customs and their laws were based on the Hindu religion. Located on the Chao Phraya River not far from Bangkok, Ayutthaya was an important center for trade and farming. The area surrounding Ayutthaya is fertile and known for its rice production. The city once had 1,700 temples and over 4,000 golden images of Buddha. In 1767 the Burmese virtually destroyed the city in a series of famous battles. Today the area is mostly ruins with few remaining intact structures. On the grounds are countless, probably hundreds, statues of Buddha – all with their heads missing. Their heads were cut off by the invading Burmese. Only a few remain intact including the head. Visitors are cautioned not to stand behind a headless Buddha and take pictures as it would be disrespectful.

“(NMo plaasi ticsabaig,tploeaosen.) g ka”


foc us on our barge trip wa s sustain ability, becom ing aw are of the wa ste we produc ed and our eco log ical us foo tprint s. Our gui des took to a loc al marke t wh ere we bought loc al foods, carryin g t them in bow ls we’d bro ugh sai fro m our kitc hen -- mai too ng ka! We took qui zzes cal cul atin g how eco -frien dly we live d at hom e, and I wa s stu nne d to find that my ge! foo tprint wa s dau nti ngl y lar we At the end of eac h qui z, were abl e to cal cul ate the num ber of ear ths we wo uld nee d to con tin ue livi ng in this ged sam e wa y; the result s ran

fro m 8 to 16! Most people are aw are of Ear th’s wit hering resources and the nee d for on change but are slo w to act on it. Wit h horrify ing num ber s , me at k the pag e staring bac ue it wa s impossible to con tin of jolt a on in this wa y. I felt te mo tivatio n. This feeling is qui of ling fam iliar; it is the fee , wanti ng to change the world -nce and to mak e a diff ere really, do it this tim e. Sad ly, I find that by the tim e I’ve reache d hom e, exh austed by ing the journe y, the qui ckl y fad is memory of feeling inspire d mil es aw ay.

I learne d a lot abo ut The barge wa s a trip wh ere den ts as a whole. my self and abo ut the TGS stu spoke to many We visi ted many tem ples and y first tim e that mo nks . This tim e wa s the ver t Bud dhism is in I ever realize d really how vas rse I hav e rea d abo ut it Thailan d. I me an, yes, of cou r 95% of the pop ulatio n before and the fac t that ove pop ulatio n is religio us, is Bud dhist, and 99.8% of the d to gra sp. Com ing and yet the con cep t wa s har the pop ulatio n is fro m a cou ntry wh ere 90% of tra st, and it even non -religi ous, it is a big con so many people follow seems qui te str ang e that like d it. All mo nks one belief. How ever, I really ver y pea cef ul, and nun s we me t see me d be that is the and I was thinking that may way to live.

Be au tiful su ns et on th e Ch ao Phra ya (Th ail an d)

By Emma During our barge trip I was introduced to a new addiction: the hunger games trilogy. On the 12-hour train ride, I sat on my seat silently and devoured the book . And thanks to Beny’s negotiation skills and Charis’s Thai we were able to plan a trip to see the movies during our night in Bangkok .

Perf ormi ng th e “Bu dd ha Dr am a”

All of the 10th-graders headed off to the theat er. The chairs were comfy leather giants. It was so much fun. We dominat ed the theat er and we all laughed at random times in the movie. Anat’s laugh always filled the theat er and triggered everyone else to start laughing. Beny set a worl d record for buying the largest bucket of popcorn I have ever seen. Af t er the movies we took a midnight tuk tuk ride to the hot el and melt ed into our cozy beds, our first night in Bangkok .

A’n to nia’s st ick y ric e an d ma ng o bir th da y cake

Hellfire Pass

A poem from one of the prisoners of war building the Thailand-Burma railroad under terribly trying conditions. 

Hellfire Pass is the name of a railway cutting on the former “Death Railway” which was built with forced labour during the Second World War, in part by Allied prisoners of war. The pass is noted for the harsh conditions and heavy loss of life suffered by its labourers during construction. Hellfire Pass is so called because the sight of emaciated prisoners labouring at night by torchlight was said to resemble a scene from Hell.

GRAND PALACE Home of the Kings of Siam No visit to Bangkok, Thailand, would be complete without taking a stroll through the grounds of the Grand Palace. TGS spent the final day of the end-of-trimester trip in Thailand’s capital city taking a boat ride down the Chao Phraya River to get a glimpse at 200-plus years of history. Each and every TGS member gazed upon the intricate detail of the buildings before venturing into Wat Phra Kaew – better known as Temple of the Emerald Buddah. The famous Emerald Buddah is carved from a single piece of jade, which is considered a precious stone. Those in attendance delicately removed their footwear before entering the temple to take a few quiet moments of reflection.

Student Government On this day, May 13, 2012, We the students of THINK Global School hereby form the official Student Government to improve, support and engage in all educational activities concerning TGS and its afilliated partners. The Government is represented by the following democratically elected students:

Student Welfare

Appointed student: Miss. Charis

Provides link between teachers, ResLife and students Meets with both teachers and ResLife on a regular basis Addresses academic and ResLife issues that students have

Event Planning Host School Relations Appointed student: Miss. A'ntonia

Plans events with host school and within TGS community Introduces TGS to each host school Plans welcome and goodbye parties Plans events in the city, etc.


Appointed student: Miss.Yada

Keeps minutes and notes of meetings Keeps time during meetings Creates summary to share with students and staff Types prints materials for student council officers


Appointed student: Mr. Alex

Handles all funds Presents proposed budget of activities to student council Keeps precise records of income and expenses Reports at each meeting on money matters Works with Event Planner to coordinate fundraisers


Appointed student: Mr. Cash Represents entire student body Develops agenda for meeting Votes when there is a tie Holds regular meetings with staff Keeps structure of meetings

teaching these kids wears you out

the cure for underage drinking

Think twice before you ask these girls to pose

squid-flavored cheetos - really?!

What’s “Say cheese” in Thai?

sharks or very cold water???

Just another typical picture of mr. navarro

Ate too many crickets, Willem?

yeah, i’m with that guy...

The lighter side of Thailand

A really, really tired TGS student!

free interpretation of buddhism

Where has T hailand gone?!

on the ve lea we ore bef ics em ad ac of ek we t las the ing We’re fac felt it d, de en r do ua Ec n he W it. e iev bel ly rd ha n ca I Barge Trip. ht. But T hailand? strange, but I was more ready than I thoug for me gh ou en g lon re he n bee t ’ ven ha e W . nd ila ha T t No No. to feel that it’s over. Alas, that is so. red class wrap-ups and In academia, that past week has featu Wednesday, and the students final projects. Exams start this coming iews and studying, with have spent this weekend balancing rev Tonight we have a group trips to the pool amongst other things. and restaurants while heading to an “artsy street” full of cafés nute mi t las y an for ar za ba ht nig the to go l wil up gro another gift buying. - Monique

Thank you, PTIS, for hosting, educating and inspiring

we’ll stay in touch

Hi, Ashley –

but remember You are brilliant....this all looks fabulous and I can’t help t and the day in the meeting room when I suggested Matthew Alber didn’t even have any contact details for you. our kids How amazing that you have brought it all together and that our teachers are going to hear him... they will be inspired – and so will and CM community. . Thank you so much for your persistence and professionalism I appreciate it enormously. Maxine, Head of PTIS

Youngest person to ever ski to the South Pole. Alex McPike - 15 years old

3rd trimester > germany









Bailey and Alice talking to new German friends

A’ntonia and David introduce TGS to BBIS

All right, kids, now we play by the German rules

Hey, you look familiar...

Can anyone translate...?

b e r l in

s c av e n g e r h u nt

u,ve yo l ti un y tr un co a kn ow Yo u ca n ne ve r re al ly tiny restau ra nts, on up e bl um st ll wi u Yo gotten lost in it. Â e liv es of th e pe op le . th d an s ,d fĂŠ ca c ti an m ro e W . id d TGS at y wh B er lin , th at is ex ac tl in nd ke ee w t rs fi r ac es to vi si t an d pl O n ou ed d en m m co re of er h un t, a lis t - Ha nn ah be en g iv en a sc av eng on es . We w er e off ! a si m ca rd fo r ou r ph

t s Lo g n i t t Ge i n B e rl i n By Emma

h e streets were fres Th . us ha ll Ba ’s en y was Task One: Clarch citement of the da ex e th d an r ai g ls in w ith morn ; I assume the loca ul ef ac pe l il st as alking rising. Outside w t 10 minutes of w ou ab er ft A . ep le ted as were still e looking for: a da er w e w t ha w ss en we stumbled acro llhaus.” Without ev Ba s n’ he rc la “C ad sign that re k of f towards staurant we snuc re n ai m e th ng like going ri ente the stairs. It was up d ce ra d an s ep llroom the side st ng “pause.” The ba si es pr d an ne hi ring the into a time mac exact way it was du e th d, he uc to irun remained stand still. The m e m ti e se to l fu ti delier war. It was beau llet holes, the chan bu h it w ed nd ou w room rors were alked around the w e 

W . ly ul ef ac t down and still hang ing gr d the piano. He sa te ot sp am Li l y ti in awe un tes. Willem took m no h it w om ro e ding to played, filling th nd the room preten ou ar d le ir tw e w to hand and smiled. I decided d an d he ug la e W German boy be back in time. hen I saw a little w rs ne rt pa e 3, nc sw itch da . He was about 2 or ay w or do e th om ith me. spying on us fr nds and danced w ha y m ok to y il pp ith and he ha n in g, fi ll in g us w or m al ic ag m a was as It w come. A fter al l, it to y da e th r fo t excitemen only 9am.

Task Two: Kunsthaus Tacheles (Art House Tac heles) It would have been nice to know tha t we were still follow ing the scavenger hunt sheet when we entere d a damp urine-smelling building and continued to climb eig ht stories until we reached the top, only to find locked doors. Luc kily an artist was behind us holding a key. Every single inch of the building was covered in art. Creativ ity smothering the air, covering the walls with details. My eyes had no idea where to focus. Everything was different from any thing I had seen before.

FAVOURITE PART... I down the w s


a t bright co reets in Berlin. W s walking with M lours of t andering e he around, t gan harshly, he yet beaut street art and th e ifully, int su n w a s o my eye buildings cut w s. The fee sweater. arm, way too war ling of th The smel m, and so e lo came ass aulting in f perfumes, choc I took of f my olate and keep Meg to my no an se, co into alley away from her co and I had to, yet f fee again, wa ys wa s f fee addic t the coole ended in st part. W ion. Wandering a dark tu ha nn within th e city itse el was actually a t looked like it s l mall com f. Shops, I heard t cafés, mo he munity re s tre e t English a chatter of Germa a rt. n, st music. Lo he people walked French, Spanish a ud, bass-d n around m e. I also h d ropping m Sweet. It ha e a rd usic. The ta yet the cr d character, so it was kind ste of the city? unch ma de of pronounc ed. - Rus the sweetness eve crunchy, sell n more

ter RUSSIAN LOVE ... Afin g around having

morn ventured for the whole a, Liam and I – Berlin, my group – Emm break at Alexander decided to take a short ntain adjacent Platz. We stopped at a fou TV tower. We to the City Hall and the tower which seemed tiny next to the . I took a break literally towered over us g on the lap of by the fountain by sittin ens. The maiden one of Poseidon’s maid golden sickle, protected herself with a a communist. which proved her to be

b erlin

scave ng e r hunt

o ohte Ph t of R Y EA

be rlin scavenge r



,, SIDE DOWN !” By Hanna h and Alice

With hot pastries in our stomachs, Alice, Bailey, Becca and I set out to Kunsthaus Tascheles, an abandoned depar tment store that had been turned into a grung y space for local artists.  

Marveling at the art plastered on sides of buildings – something you’d never find under the tight bonds of Singapore – we continued on. The walls of a small art shop, dimly lit, were spread with an intrig uingly abundant number of Kermit the Frog paintings (in somewhat compromising positions, I might add). “Guys, I think we’re going the wrong way.” “No, I’m follow ing the map.” “Hey, Hannah, I think we’re looking at the map upside down.” And we all burst out laugh ing. 

 The time for our checkpoint at the Pergamon was nearing... we found our way to the bridge on Museum Island and encountered a older woman – a fashionable one too! – who filled the area with gentle, swaying accordion music. We attempted to speak to the accordion lady in German. This did not work out, however, as we didn’t speak the language... and neither did she. Laughing at our bumbling syllables, we used the universal code of Charades to ask: May we dance to your music? Take photos as well?  She gestured to her bowl filled meagerly with coins, and we kindly obliged. Becca and Alice waltzed around in front of the dear old busker, gathering the attention and goodnatured chuckles of passersby. Soon after, the woman startled us with an offer to let us play her accordion! Becca gave it a go, and I did as well, though I felt quite stupid as I furiously pressed buttons and keys and no music came. (I realized I had to stretch and compress the instrument to make any sound!)   We ended our scavenger hunt with lunch at an Italian place where the salad I got was the size of a small mountain. When it was time to pay, all of us had large amounts of coins to pay with. We ended up handing over a bucketful of coins. The waitress just smiled and said goodbye.


An engraving, permanent and everlasting, will weather the storms, and prevail through the howling winds. A padlock, though, is seemingly interminable. Two beings step out of a fairy tale, one that little girls and big girls dream of. Embracing each other passionately, she pulls an object from her overcoat. He tentatively reaches out for her hand, a source of ,warmth and safety, from winter s icy glare. On a bridge over troubled water,  they stand. I cannot fathom their history, past, or future, but at this moment they link,  unbreakable. The padlock is fastened on the railing, with a heavy click. And there it will stay, throughout history. Then comes the key, the only one that can  make the bond surrender , between the padlock s body and gripping arm. She releases it from her grasp, and down down down it falls. It cuts through the icy air and plops into endless azure, sending ripples through the deep. Lost? Gone forever? Quite possibly, but that was exactly what they hoped to achieve.

This poem is about what I saw during the scavenger hunt in Berlin. There were padlocks with engraved names everywhere. Lovers put them there and threw the key in the river to represent their unbreakable and everlasting love.



RFALL IN LOVE This city has really surprised me. Never in a million years did I expect to love it this much. The past weekend when we went exploring was a very happy time for me. With all the graffiti and art everywhere it was like the city had an attitude that I couldn’t help but notice. There was an actual character you could truly feel. Even if you didn’t want to, it was there, in your face. It was liberating. It was the first time in a long time I was told a story completely through the people that had left it behind and realized fully I was transmitting it. It made me want to do something, to feel something, to paint something, I wanted to get in a fight or fall in love. Instead of walking around and getting lost it seemed I was discovering myself again by not knowing where to go, what to do, where to be. There was one piece I fell for especially. It was in the abandoned building filled with all kinds of expression from all kinds of different feelings with the things we all do but may be too afraid to share. In this haven for ideas, as dangerous as they are, was a poster with a header reading, “JOIN THE REVOLUTION, FALL IN LOVE.” It went on to say that love is the ultimate way to get back at the system, to feel the things we are told to stifle, to let people know what you feel and make sure they listen, make sure they respond. Oppress the growing apathetic army and fight! Fight with hugs! Fight with kisses! Fight with your heart! Screw your mind, unless it helps you get your heart’s desires, and don’t be afraid to realize them. This poster... it had bewitched me. I can’t stop thinking about it, can’t stop wanting to embody it and push its message through. But then I think of all the repercussions my love has given me. All the tears, the multiple blows my heart has taken, the growing number of shards it has, and it makes me angry. It makes me angry that I give such a wonderful, powerful thing, and most

of the time it gives me back a cosmic, steaming pile of feces augmenting and augmenting in an exponentially growing pit in my heart. But, then again, maybe I’m just chicken. Maybe I’m blocking out my good times with the bad because it’s easier that way, it hurts less. Maybe I’m selfish. Maybe I only want the good times without the bad and just remember the bad instead of the good because I’m greedy. Because even though I know that without the times in life when you feel like a sack full of rotten, unwanted fruit, one day those neglected seeds will blossom into a once again ripe bunch. Thus is the cycle of life. And what a glorious life it is, am I right? So it’s okay to love. Love me, love your friends, love your neighbor, and tell them that from time to time. Give them a hug. Even if it may be highly unpredictable and dangerous, all the best things are. Feel everything you were meant to because dying with a heart still together is godawful boring.


Liam and Alice challenge each other in literary circles

by Jawed

Finishing up a week with a nice visit to the city of Berlin. A city with rich history, a city that has trained so many great leaders of the centuries in itself and a city that has been so important in the history. A city of happiness and music.

Ambika and Gawa doing math on a mirror

So it’s a Saturday and I’m off to go explore this city. I’ve had my Turkish chicken sandwich, which was so good, and then there was the big day. I have Cash and David with me. It’s totally amazing. I don’t like how the weather gets hot and hotter in this city, but it’s a good change. Today I came across something that I didn’t expect to see in Berlin. It’s the street markets. This is where I felt a bit like being back in Afghanistan. I saw different types of people trying to sell their goods to some tourist and people who visited them. This moment reminded me of bargaining, but I didn’t do it cause I thought it might be rude. It’s pretty nice to be in this city, far away from war and worrying about what might happen in the next street. I feel freer. I feel that I can do anything but of course within the rule and regulation frames. I feel like being myself. Discussion group

Global Studies teacher Andrew explaining WWII geography

Lin teaching Mandarin

Classrooms... oh yeah, we use those too.

Ambika explains geometry

The life of a world literature teacher goethe’s tragedy, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers from 1774, gained him enormous fame as a writer in the Sturm und Drang period, which was the early phase of Romanticism...

Of course I can explain it to you...

don’t pick me. don’t pick me.




Fascinating, isn’t it? Now, who can explain the Sturm und drang period...?


maybe next year...


to be continued...

Guest speaker

GR E T H E ROS T BØ L L Guest speaker

Nicholas Kulish By Hannah

A few days ago, I met Nicholas Kulish, the Berlin correspondent to The New York Times. In short, this man has (one of) my dream jobs. 2 am calls, traveling all over the world, including two danger zones. To some, this may seem dreadful. For me, it’s absolutely wonderful; it’s a roller-coaster life.

“For those of you who want to be a journalist, I highly discourage it.”

She was a candidate for the Danish Parliament and later Denmark’s Minister of Culture between 1990 and 1993. This vibrant woman was very much involved with the issues surrounding immigration and the demographic shifts in the Danish population occurring at that time! Grethe is a strong proponent of global consciousness and cross-cultural understanding. She says: “Cross-cultural dialogue creates the necessary language of understanding.” She is now working to facilitate exchange programs for Danish youth and is fascinated by the TGS educational project! Grethe will be doing a workshop with TGS students. She will discuss explorations of cultural heritage and the impact of travel-based learning on cross-cultural dialogue. She will ask students to look at Germany with a critical lens – seeing it as a new nation, reborn after WWII, that is working hard to grapple with its historical legacy.

We laugh, but the question lingers: Why not? It’s tough, I learned; there’s pressure from every direction. Kulish wrote an article about how Obama couldn’t force the Europeans to do anything (in terms of the Euro Crisis). Amusingly enough, he received criticism from one side, the government, who didn’t appreciate the portrayal of Obama as not having power, but also from the complete opposite extreme, from people who demanded to know why on earth Kulish was making excuses for Obama! Journalism is truly no simple feat. “Europe is like a family. Germany’s the successful brother who worked hard to get his law degree, let’s say. Other countries are the lazy siblings who need help. On one hand you’d like to help them, but on the other hand you feel they should suffer and endure troubles just like you did to get where you are.” To be honest, coming to Berlin, I knew close to nothing about the Euro Crisis. His analogies helped me connect with a global plight that I’d felt completely detached from previously. ..........

I never thought of how we choose what we read until Bob brought it up. That really makes me wonder if, in the future, we’d just be blocked in to what we like because of the wide variety of choices. It’s strange how the wider variety of options limits us. - Charis

TGS with guest speaker Grethe Rostbøll

Guest speaker

J oseph P e a rso n A man of many words and a seemingly infinite amount of knowledge on the city of Berlin and Germany as a whole, Joseph Pearson took us through the history of Germany right from the beginning. Being so very enthusiastic, it’s hard not to want to hear what he is saying. Definitely a visual learner, he described his teachings through drawings and illustrations on the whiteboard, giving us all a better understanding of how Germany came to be the powerful country it is today. His wide range of knowledge astounded us all, giving clear and vivid answers to our thought– provoking questions. - Liam

By Cameron Anzac Day means a lot of things to me. Of course, my definition might be different from that of one who is from New Zealand or another country. In my opinion, Anzac Day is a day to remember all soldiers who gave their lives for their country. It was started in remembrance of Gallipoli. It then grew to be a much bigger occasion to remember all soldiers, both dead and alive. What I think Anzac Day has turned into is a day on which you remember the vets for five minutes and then relax as you realize you’re on holiday. To me, Anzac Day seems more of a day of celebration than remembrance. It seems to glorify war. This is why I have never been particularly interested in it – and why I have never particularly cared.

My Grandfather, John Aitken, was a pilot for New Zealand in the Second World War. He was a major player in the Berlin Airlift and was a highly decorated soldier. He was awarded many medals and even received a letter from King George V. He was so well remembered that the local military base organized a flyover upon his death in the late 1990s. He never celebrated Anzac Day. He was a strong believer that Anzac Day was a celebration that glorified war. Because of that, my Mum never celebrated Anzac Day either. There are multiple war vets we know who don’t celebrate Anzac Day. The ceremony at the War Graves was different. It was small and non-celebratory. It was solemn. It was a true day of remembrance. That is what my opinion of what Anzac Day should be like: a solemn day of remembrance.

S i l e n ce By Yada

Silence snakes its way through our words.
 The courageous, the brave. The ones who tried. 
 Young Johnny, not yet grown, who never would cry. 
 The ambitious pilot, the darling son. 
 Such a terrible fate, when what’s left is none. Mothers, brothers, sisters, friends.
 You can feel the roots here, growing from blood and sweat. “Dearly Remembered” read the stones. 
 Who shall remember, so separated by land? The rising song of the hymns float, light as a feather, dense like smoke. Silence snakes its way through our words. Because of the dead, because we don’t know. 
 We are silent.

e r a s t o o r Your our home is. y e r e wh e i B e h t g n i t i s i V

w o h S t r n nale A da & By Ya

A n at

tion exhibi n a s i here lants. nale, t wa s p n e e i e s B m ld In the he roo u c ou T o . y s t l l n a la ugh. where , budding p g t h ro n i n g i n ’s h i Grow light s T he r e t . o n p e s e r g ,a is dark on rows of p u Rows g else. ng nothin g rowi e r a s l a nt from di ng p l. Growing d u b hat T he s e itz soi ld us t o w t h y c e s u Th plant from A rrif ic place. t and n a l o p h k new ke a such a uld ta r they e o t c f e A n ted . anyo y insis hey go e t h r t e , v e e r alestin a plant with it whe rom P f ke m a ant e to ta m that I d and pl e t i c n e i k v n ca n ta and co ully I f e p o me. H stine. ale it in P

I’m a Palestinian girl who dreams to have a country and to have a stamp on her passport that says the State of Palestine. It made me feel so proud of who I am. We have a Palestinian passport but we are missing the stamp. In 1948 my grandparents became refugees after they got kicked out of their house. They were told that they are going to come back, so my grandparents took the key to their house with them. Tens of years have passed and still they have the hope of going back to their home. Each time I visit my grandma she starts telling me stories and brings back all of the painful memories that happened that day.


Grass on the roof...? what are they smoking? Katharina and Stephanie from Niche

Niche architecture is a company that introduces people to green architecture. It uses natural energy sources such as the sun. They use solar cells or panels to produce the energy used in the offices. I really like the idea of “green” architecture as it helps in the reduction of the wastes that are being produced during construction of “normal” architecture. The place we went to had solar cells on the rooftop, and they also grew grasses. Growing grass on the rooftop didn’t get my attention until the guides brought it up. The reason for that is to increase insulation during the cold or rainy seasons. So, basically, during the rainy season the grass sucks up most of the water and keeps the rooms warmer. Isn’t that such a brilliant idea?! - Pema

Illustration by Alice Classic art meets new technology

concert with AUSTRA, The Hundred in the Hands and berlin Miike Snow may twenty-six two-thousand twelve

Finding myself

In front of my grandfather’s childhood home

Waiting for the local train back to Berlin

Studying the local map in front of the Karlsruhe Castle

Often you walk through life a little lost, your edges undefined and your horizons blurry. At this stage you don’t quite know who you are. There are pieces of you that are lost, like that 1,000-piece puzzle you could never quite finish, while other pieces are simply stuck in your shoe and need a little shaking to dislodge. Sometimes we need to go on a journey to find ourselves, often a big mid-life crisis where you troop across the globe hoping air mileage and new food will help. Somehow I have encountered my mid-life crisis early, having already traveled halfway around the world several times, trying plates upon plates of new food and often questioning myself. Only recently, however, I have gone back into the past to understand myself better. I have traveled back to my grandfather’s childhood and a town in Germany called Karlsruhe. Bringing up old memories on a couch one evening, my grandfather posed the idea, “You should go to Karlsruhe. See what you can find out.” I pondered on it, Google-searched it and decided it was a good idea.

through history A flight, a few weeks and a conversation in a café later – Lindsay was at my side. On the weekend of Model United Nations we tackled subway maps, customs and a missed bus before finally settling down in Karlsruhe for the night. Over the next three days we encountered astonishing amounts of kindness, old records, memories and new thoughts, while Lindsay filmed every step. I stepped into my grandfather’s old home, his school, walked the streets he used to roam and imagined multiple places that had long since disappeared. I realized how there is really no such thing as the present, only fleeting moments of future moving into past. The past is quite a magical thing, becoming more mythical as time ripens it. I discovered this upon coming home after my trip and talking to my grandfather about his ninety years of life. The stories he told were amazing and heartwarming, definitely something I was glad to hear. My newly dubbed quarter life crisis has dealt me a few cards of wisdom, realization and appreciation, all the while bringing me closer to my grandfather. A huge thank you goes out to everyone at TGS, especially Joann for funding the trip and Lindsay for being the most amazing mentor, camerawoman and source of laughter. I owe a lot to you both.

My family’s stumble stone

Writing my journal while tracing my heritage

L e g o R ob ot ics A project involving science, math, physics... and teamwork.

MAIN GOAL: To build a robot that shoots when something is in front of it and turns around when it sees light. OBJECTIVE & PARAMETERS Basic Objectives: • Design an algorithm and a NXT program that will allow a robot to sensor and avoid obstacles, and at the same time sensor and attack enemies. • Construct an effective rover that shoots well and is strong. • Build a robot that shoots whenever it sees another object (motion sensor) • Build a robot that turns around when it senses light (light sensor) • The robot must be able to navigate and maneuver around objects in the lounge (the area) and must not get stuck anywhere Parameters: • You must include a 2D kinematic and a dynamic analysis of a sample shot in the report • Include a diagram of a parabolic arc • Expressions and calculations of x & y axis • Include a position and a velocity time graph • Calculate/Measure initial and final Acceleration, Distance and Time for x and y axis • Measure angel of shot

celbots Left-side view: The yellow plastic rectangles are protective shields. Underneath the shields you see our Motor C that is connected to the wheels. At the front you see the light sensor and Motor A at the back of the robot which is attached to the motion sensor and the ball shooter.

Rear View: From the back of the vehicle both Motors C and B are apparent as well as the back wheels (the only wheels). You can see the side view of the shield and the ultrasonic sensor looking straight at you and next to it is the ball shooter.

WRITTEN STRATEGY Celbots was working very well in this mission. We started off the mission with making a timeline, with goals for each day. We aimed for building the robot and finishing the sample shot before working on programming. Liam did the construction of robots and helped record with the video physics program. Emma and Charis worked on planning the algorithm, timeline and making sure we were doing what was required. There weren’t many obstacles this time because we tried to get it done as fast as possible. We stuck to our own timeline, which was faster than the one designed for the class. We used it to build our robots and to discuss what we had. We worked harder during the class than during science study hall. One big obstacle was programming. The sensors weren’t always working as programmed. To solve this, we did a lot of experimentation. Whenever something really didn’t work, we would have a program that specifically dealt with the problem. It is basically dealing with every variable so we know that every detail is working exactly right and find out what is wrong. That method worked well.

Front View: Located at the front middle of our robot you see the light sensor connected to the NXT program with a wire. On either side of the robot are yellow protective shields.

Charis: Lego Robotics Kits. When I first heard it, I didn’t know what to think. Robots sound cool, but I know myself well enough to know that I am not an engineer. The five missions I have done in this trimester with this kit have taught me much more about time management and working in a team than physics. I think the Lego Robotics Kits taught me most about programming since I was the programmer of my group. It was also about field work and how we had to experiment as much as possible and about setting up ratios, logical reasoning and problem-solving. You had to think exactly like the program, which was to be step by step. Every detail mattered. Teamwork is very important here. It’s especially important to have set due dates so we don’t get too distracted. This course has taught me about experimentation, being extremely patient (before this project, I thought I was already patient; I was wrong), believing in people till the end and being very direct with goals/time in group works.


The winning robot

Liam: Using robots to learn physics was a very good way of applying what we learned into a three-dimensional setting. Many students ask the question, “How will we use this in real life”? Giving proof of how we can use our newfound skills can encourage students to be actively engaged in their work. Working in teams is beneficial in a way that we can ask our peers for help while working towards a common goal. “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” I found it much harder working in a larger group as it is more difficult to ensure that everyone is activly participating and is understanding the material. The “smarter” people were also left to do the majority of the work while the “lazy” ones simply drifted around aimlessly. Definitely waiting until the last minute is not the most affective way of completing an assignment. It leads to rushed work and mistakes. Having a plan and/or a timeline is a great way to ensure proper time management and to complete the task stress-free. In the future, I will assign evenly distributed roles to every member of the team and create a timeline which everyone can agree on.

Alex: Being an avid builder at home (though generally using wires and a soldering iron), the chance for us to study through using the NXTs was fantastic. It is just the way my brain works. I enjoy building things, and I enjoy learning how to build things better. I have even begun to think of ways to implement what I have learned back home with my NXT. In summary, I have learned a great deal more than I believe I would have had I learned in any other method. Though it didn’t teach me only how to build; it taught me how to deal with other people building as well and how to manage a group project where largely only one person can be actively making a difference. The group work is where I honestly feel I have made the biggest improvement. All of us in fact have learned how the others work and how then to develop and optimize our work time to get the most out of it. When it comes to getting work done, most people are either the biggest help or the biggest detriment. Generally people realize where their strengths are and use that knowledge to go about getting as much work done as possible. Though at the same time we can manage to distract each other as well.

I am the essence of the unknown, I am that solitary fish wandering in endless azure, I am the brink of laughter and tears, I am the undecided answer to your question, I am a missing puzzle piece, I am an unfinished thought, I am how did things get so darn complicated ? The filling of an Oreo, grasping both worlds to my core. I I I I I I I I I

am am am am am am am am am

the essence of the unknown, the limit of the universe, the feeling of love, the cure to cancer, what it means to be perfect, the future, what is pure in the world, life and its purpose, what if ?

I am the essence of the unknown, I am the petals of a daisy. He likes me, he likes me not... I am what you make me to be, I am the dream you cannot fathom when you wake, I am the endless possibilities when you take a leap of faith, I am the various flavorful layers of a lollipop and the number of licks it takes to get to the center. I am the essence of the unknown. - Yuan Yuan

Photo by Hudson

Arbeit Macht Frei

work makes you free visiting the dachau concentration camp


Those kinds of slogans were set by the Nazis to trick the Jewish people into thinking concentration camps were nothing but “re-education camps.” Nobody knew that the “Final Solution” was extermination, not even the charities like the Red Cross who came to examine the camps. Dachau was the first camp – the model. Situated next to a Nazi soldier and guard training center, this was where 60,000 people were shoved into a space where only 6,000 should have lived. Jews, homosexuals, asocials, Jehovah’s Witnesses, communists... they all filled the crematorium and the mass graves. The people sent to these camps did the internal management themselves. The gangsters ruled the top of the chain and did the dirty work for the Nazis for an extra food ration or money. The different groups of victims were turned against one another to battle each other before they were gassed and cremated.  And, still, everyone thought everything was fine in these “re-education camps.”  Coming out of the concentration camp my mind is racing, but not with emotion. Why did I not feel anything? Maybe it’s because all that is left is perfected and redone. Everything looks pretty... the trees all green and the gravel carefully lined up. It’s like the history has been “retouched,” and that creates a detached feeling. It would have been more impactful if the camp was left untouched and all the horrible memories would linger in the air. It’s almost an oxymoron. This is where millions were killed, yet everything’s so perfect. The one place that touched me was the torture room. When the guide told us about the people who used to be hanged here and tortured, chills crept up my spine. That I wasn’t prepared for, and maybe that’s why I didn’t feel much. I had mentally prepared myself for the cruelties that happened at the concentration camps. The problem with this memorial is that it relies more on facts than emotion. It turns the victims into numbers, not individuals.

a few people broke down. but all of us grew up.


There is a somber sky above us and rain pattering around us. We shuffle forward off the bus and quickly make our way into the modern tourist center. The chilly temperature stays the same. I quickly pull on my jumper and stand at the back of the group. The tour guide, still wearing his trademark black sunglasses, is giving us an overview of what we were about to see. Slowly we make our way outside. The warm glow of the lights fades away behind us as we walk along the gravel road. The path to the camp is framed by trees, and the only colors are grey, grey and more grey. The mood is dark as well. Nobody is smiling; smiling here is sacrilegious. Eventually we made it to the entrance. The words “Arbeit macht frei” are ironically fused into the dark iron gate. We stood there for a moment, among friends, although the mood was anything but friendly. Everyone turned into an introvert. As we walked through the gate and out onto the large gravel square everyone prepared for the worst. We made our way around the corner and into the building. My heels were hurting - I hadn’t been wearing gym shoes of late and wasn’t used to walking without their softness.

The pain in my heels aside, we walked in and stood around while the guide talked, his eyes hidden behind the ever-present black sunglasses. There isn’t much to be said about the museum, but you could see its effect: the maps, tales and statistics have taken their toll. We begin our walk along a large tree-lined path. The mega fauna showed no signs of the horrors that took place here. The gas chambers were next. We stood outside of them, looking at statues of thin men dressed in clothes that were too large for them. We walked into the gas chamber. It is a small, dark room, far too small for people to stand upright. It is infested with shadows. The crematorium and the rusted old furnaces still ignite a flame of fear into everyone who sees them. The age, depth and lives that they destroyed make them the closest thing to black holes we have on earth. And we were standing right in front of them! We get back outside, somber, but nearly giddy to be back out in the fresh air and sun. Most kept himself or herself together well and a few people broke down. But all of us grew up.

comfortably numb By Bailey

The gravel ground was there, as were the barracks and the whipping posts. There were memories and ghosts, yet what did I feel? Nothing. I walked through the gates, mind heavy with thoughts and the expectation of overwhelming emotions. I remained untouched, looking at the camp as if it were a movie set – nothing more than a bunch of inconsequential buildings and stones. My mind felt blank and not because I was numb but because it didn’t seem to mean anything to me. This puzzled me. I expected to feel a connection, a sense of loss, something that would remind me of my relatives. But the only time I felt something was when I looked at the gate and the crematorium. I pushed myself to imagine a time when the crowds of gaunt, starved and innocent men walked these grounds with weary feet. I envisioned my greatgrandfather, then my opa, mum, dad and brother all in this camp. It still didn’t seem real. I still didn’t feel anything. I don’t know why, but I think my mind stopped me from feeling anything. Maybe it was an unintentional defense mechanism.

But it stopped me from believing any of what I saw was real, even when the evidence lay before my very eyes. Interestingly, I noticed the funny, small, inconsequential things and thought about those rather than death. As we walked past a barbed-wire fence I studied it, catching sight of a tiny dandelion head bobbing in the wind. It was clutching on to the barbs for dear life, struggling gently but never being set free. It seemed ironic to me, as dandelions are used to make wishes yet it was trapped just like any prisoner would have been – tangled up in the barbs of the fence, struggling for freedom to no avail. It was as if the thousands of unanswered wishes held by the prisoners were all being collected at this one moment, just waiting until the right gust of wind came to finally be set free. For some reason this fragment of time stuck in my mind and I cannot shake the image of the dandelion from my head. Even so, Dachau and the Holocaust still felt very distant to me. The dots are disconnected, and the puzzle is still missing pieces.

For me, this showed the importance of the preservation of such historic sites. Even after seeing it first-hand, I had a hard time believing the Holocaust actually happened. Perhaps without this memorial many more people wouldn’t believe such a tragic event in history actually happened. Of course, I would hope that such a thing would never happen again, but looking at humanity I doubt that’s possible. “It seemed ironic to me, as dandelions are used to make wishes yet it was trapped just like any prisoner would have been – tangled up in the barbs of the fence, struggling for freedom to no avail.”

As for now, I am waiting for the ghosts to catch up to me, for them to make me feel and understand. When they catch up I will finally see the gravel, the barracks and the whipping posts for what they truly are.

THE SHOWER ILLUSION - By Megan Being at Dachau was hard. I had many ideas of what it was going to be like. Just sitting on the bus I had to take a moment to comprehend that I was heading to a place where so many people had been killed by the Nazi regime. The hardest part for me was the crematorium. There is a scene in Schindler’s List where the females are taken off the train, then stripped and shaved, before being shoved into a dark room. They see that there are showerheads inside and begin to believe that they (like the rumors) are about to be gassed. Women and children start crying when water begins to pour from the showerheads. They then realize that they are safe. This was exactly what it was like to walk into the Gas chamber at Dachau. The doors were heavy. The only light came in through the holes for the chemicals, and there were many fake showerheads in the roof. To realize that they would shove up to 150 people into that tiny, dark room was horrible. I hope I never have to repeat this experience.

it might be cold at the top, but there’s a helluVa view hiking up mount wank 3,200 meters above sea level.

Mother Nature... come to Daddy

the confession of a sore student:

NEVER hike with a messenger bag ~ by a le x ~

One of the silliest things you can possibly do is bring a messenger bag on a hike. The entire time you walk you’ve got this big bag bumping the side of your hip, and it will eventually be bruising you! Your shoulders will hurt from switching the bag from side to side and your back will be killing you from the strain. You’ll jealously watch all the people with backpacks walking along with the weight evenly balanced on their shoulders. The silver lining of all this, though, is that it makes you appreciate your hike more. Each step I took sucked more air out of empty lungs. My face red, body steaming, we were approaching the front of the pack. David, Cash and I were determined to make it up the mountain in record time. I had my phone in my bag (which was bouncing along on my hip), timing our ascent. We made it up the mountain as the first team in 58 minutes, and we learned that slow and steady really does win the race – even with inappropiate equipment. What really did it for us, though, was the view. Every few minutes we would look to our right and see the Alps in all their glory, coupled with the quaint little German town. The snow helped too. The mountain still had patches of snow in the shade, which became a luxury the higher we got. The more we walked the more we wanted the snow, yet there was less shade at the top of the mountain to keep the snow frozen. Overall, though, it was the walks through the forest that were my favorite. I stopped for a while and sat down to look up at the trees. The air was fresh. I couldn’t remember anything more peaceful.

Phew... we made it to the grassy, sun-filled top. TGS relaxed and had some lunch at the summit, while Lindsay led her new Media Lab. Students reflected on the jaw-droppingly gorgeous surroundings and overall feeling of accomplishment one gets when tackling new heights. Luckily, a gondola ride on the well-known Wankbahn brought relief to the students’ tired legs back down to the base. The hike also provided something everyone loves: a quiet, sleepy bus ride back to Munich. Even Julie Andrews would have needed a nap after such an excursion.

my sically o t l u f e t a r g rever r helpin g me, ph.y o f e b l il w I s fo t hat mountain able. t n e d u t s w o fell mentally, up and un forgett and ruly gorgeous A’ntonia It was t

FuSSball is no joking matter. Back in Munich, we found ourselves at a beer hall hosting a UEFA Championship Final viewing between Bayern München and Chelsea. It was the first time in Championship history in which the host city also had one of the competing teams. Needless to say, Munich was nothing short of a madhouse and provided an in-your-face cultural experience. The atmosphere was indicative of just how passionate the fans are from the respective teams. Most of TGS cheered loudly for Chelsea, while the rest echoed the entire beer hall in favor of Bayern München. In a battle that literally came down to the final penalty kick, Chelsea won, much to the dismay of the entire city. It turned into a very quiet and speedy walk back to the hostel through a thick fog of disappointment. Chelsea defeated the hometown favorite to win their first-ever UEFA Championship, and this legacy won’t soon be forgotten by any football fan. It’s the overall experience that TGSers will recall for ages.

Mr. and Mrs. BALUN

From the Bahamas, Austria, New Zealand and Italy, now representing the U.K.

Baltic Model United Nation Rostock, Germany Back to the negotiation table.

Just like on TV...

The lighter side of Germany

TGS is known for their beautiful teachers

They were told the girls like the mature look

Did you know: Girls are blonde (with an “e”) but boys are blond (without an “e”).

the new blonde girl digs my guitar

Got that?

On three... Everybody, look at Hudson Very concentrated or very clueless

is he on Facebook again!?

you called me what...?!

you know you’re successful when your picture is on a dollar bill

birthday gang-hugging

TGS is one big hug-fest

The new convertible suitcase Stay in school or...


Team Shark Week

Team ORANGE The Corn Cobras

Team yellow Cheese, Bumblebees & Calculator Cases









yuan yuan




Team green

The LamborGreenies


Team Blue Your Mind

Team Purple

The DEWCs and Dutchess













June 24 - 28, 2012

“What would be the big end-of-the-year trip?” Students wondered and speculated for months as little word came from anyone about what could possibly be planned. Starting at the beginning of the Berlin trimester, the ResLIFE team carefully and secretly plotted a Race across five of Europe’s well-known cities: Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Salzburg and Vienna. Each city posed new challenges and activities to complete in order to receive enough points to become the winning team of TGS’s Amazing Race.








The day started out pretty slowly with an alarm that rang at 6:30. My head was like cotton. I didn’t even know where Prague is. Czech Republic? Are we even going to Prague? A bus took us to Brandenburger Gate, the face of Berlin. There we had our first challenge: find Lin, get a pen and write the “guidelines” for this trip. The first two teams who got it would take an early train. Now the adrenaline started pumping. Who’d want to stay four hours in Berlin just waiting? We didn’t, and due to our determined spirits we won and left for the early train – after a coffee at Starbucks.


The train ride was four hours long through beautiful landscapes and idyllic towns with faded pink buildings and houses made out of wood. We planned our day, mapped it out and decided what was important with this trip: to have fun. Never mind the points. Just have fun.



Prague was one of the Orange Team’s favorite locations. We thought that the people were very nice and the spirit of the city was hopeful. We saw the house where Kafka was raised as a child, patted the St. Nepomuk’s dog insuring our return one day to this beautiful city, sang in front of the John Lennon wall with the Purple Team, took a second-place for the lock challenge and searched for a nonexistent book in the National Library of the Czech Republic. This day was especially fun, hilarious and eventful. We started off the day with wonderful provisions and beverages from Costa Coffee. During the visit to Kafka’s house we were forced by one of our lovely teachers to punch a man in a beer suit. Also, we counted steps up a mini tower resembling the Eiffel Tower, then took a detour to a very impressive castle with an inside church that was absolutely breathtaking. - Beny Watch us sing at: www.

JOHN LENNON 1940 - 1980

After finishing all of the tasks we decided to split ways and do what interested us most. Alice went to sleep with the Blue Team, and the rest of us went with Pema and Gawa to a really good vegetarian resturant recommended by Brad. It took FOREVER to find but we had a lot of fun going there and back. Later that day we took the night train and headed out directly to Budapest for another day’s exciting activities! - Beny

It’s a race, right!?

As we stepped outside to the city, we were faced with gothic vibes, winding roads that go up and down. The weather slightly humid but breezy; it felt like there was much in the air. We walked into the city. We asked directions from a really nice guy who showed us to the sandwich place. Willem took the challenge and ate three sandwiches. Then we walked into this area where the buildings were just so close to each other and the streets were small. There were colorful roads, and then there were old buildings. “Comparing Prague to Berlin,” Willem said, “it is a lot older.” We found the Russian doll place at a street with puppeteers and music, then walked to the St. Charles Bridge. I think that was one of our favorite moments. We were awestruck by its beauty. It felt like walking to another world as this doorway just led us to open grey skies with water surrounding us. We had dinner and rushed to the Astronomical Tower and made it just in time for the “performance” when the clock struck 9 pm. Old faces came out to greet us. It was creepy in a way but definitely interesting. We spent the rest of the day on top of the tower observing the city and watching people. It was a BEAUTIFUL DAY. - Beny

find the lock



The second day of the beautiful city of Prague was equally good as the first one, but without stomach aches. In the morning we rented bikes to get around quicker and they were really worth it. We could even visit the cathedral on the top of a hill across the river, which was not one of the activities. For each activity we did we got a number, and my team soon figured this would have something to do with the lock-bridge we had to cross multiple times. And we were right. The challenge of today was finding your right lock and getting the right combination from the numbers your team was given. Unfortunately, our team didn’t win. Though we still got the prize of going early to Budapest and sleeping at a nice hotel. - Team GREEN



The Corn Cobras New city. New challenges. New blisters.

Budapest, Hungary, was an amazing location. Our team’s patience and cooperation helped us get to where we wanted; however, the place we needed to go to was different from the one we had in mind. After getting off the overnight train we jumped straight into the challenges. The first one was to get to a spa/royal bath. Not completing this task led to our team’s downfall. We were close behind Isaac, Bailey, Russell and Yada’s group but decided to go our own way. This is because we did not read the clue completely and thought we were supposed to go to a royal bath in general rather than the royal bath in a grand park. We raced all the way across the city on foot to get to the right bath (that Alice actually went to previously). After running and arriving at this bath, we realized that this was not the right one. Ouch! We then had to call Yosefa to let her know that we wouldn’t be making it. Our day started off rocky, but we completed all the other challenges. Next we had to meet at the memorial where the Hungarian people died fighting for their independence. Here we met Bob and Jarret. After completing this task, we took the train to the Hummus Bar. Beny’s challenge was to finish an entire plate of liver and onions. Next was the Chain Bridge and the Funicular. We met a very nice old lady on the bus named Tatiana. She was born in Budapest, moved to Connecticut, but moved back to Hungary. She took us to the Chain Bridge and gave us directions. After that, we went to the caves under Buddha’s castle. Following, we raced to taxis to take us to the train station for our next destination. Our driver was very funny and competitive. He helped us win 2nd place.

The Budapest Funicular The line was opened on March 2, 1870. It was destroyed in the Second World War and reopened in 1986. A feature of the line is the two pedestrian foot bridges which cross above it. Length: 95 metres Height: 51 metres Maximum gradient: 48% Capacity: 24 passengers per car Trip time: 1 1/2 minutes Source: Wikipedia

DAY THREE Those were the two first words on the red clue. Stepping out of the train station, it was like stepping back in time. Sprawled out, the magnificent architecture of towers and stone and intricate carvings and statues guard the city. It was like walking into a museum. We walked by a theme park, yet no one was playing...? Budapest is a really interesting city. Some parts are stuck in post-war communism; other parts in the 80s, with garbage and an unpolished metro feel, and then there are places that are beautiful, modern and divine. After walking for 45 minutes we made it to the baths that Budapest is so famous for. We met up with the other teams and found out that we could’ve used the metro! However, the walk helped us locate Heroes’ Square where we helped a little girl down from a statue. The bath was really relaxing. Big pools, whirlpools, saunas... it was a wonderful start to the day. Then we went to the Hummus Bar, which was situated in one of the beautiful parts of the city with white marbled buildings and cobbled streets. Russell took “The Eating Liver Challenge” and found it rather delicious! Afterwards, we made our way over the bridge. “Hey, that must be the king and queen’s palace,” Isaac said, pointing up at the mountain. And after half an hour of intense climbing, which Yada found very strenuous, we realized that it wasn’t the palace, and after many confusing encounters with locals on the tram system we finally looped our way back down. The Labyrinth was really fun and slightly creepy with the abandoned movie theatre and scary music. It was a very exciting way to explore Budapest. Who would have known such an amusement park would be steeped in such history? Oh, we also bought a very elegant headpiece for Clifford, our mascot :-)




Splish splash.

Budapest facts: Population (2011) City 1,737,000 Area City 525 km2 Metro 7,626 km2 First settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-42 Unification of Buda and Pest in 1873

“ I bet Monique organized Today’s activities; it’s more girly” The small garden opened up. There were statues upon statues, flowerbeds and beautiful bushes. The grass was manicured and it was interesting to see the flower beds and the patterns they made. It was swirls of yellow, orange and red that merged in and out of each other. You’d think that the more flowers, the better, but these flowers really were beautiful because of how they were arranged. Somehow, empty spaces are beautiful. Here, there are little beggars who kneel on the ground and ask for money. Talented musicians fill the air with “Hallelujah” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” while others mime or pretend to be statues. For our first task, we had to re-enact a poster from The Sound of Music. We had a lot of fun trying to make everyone pose perfectly, as people looked at us with equal death looks and curiosity. A group of Austrian teenagers actually joined us in the posing, climbing on top of one another and making the peace sign.



The hills are alive with the sound of music!


Day 4 of the Amazing Race, Team Yellow/Cheese/Bumblebees/Calculator Cases arrived in Salzburg, home to both the classic film The Sound of Music and composer-pianist legend Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As one of our challenges, we stuffed our incredibly “legit” hiking bags with baguettes, sliced meats and cheese, fruits and (of course) Nutella for a lunch picnic along the river bank. With full bellies we proceeded, and brought our rubber Mozart duck to his birth place. The very large fountain in front of his house, and in which he was baptized, was a great place for our duck to swim. As we reached the pretzel challenge, we were still overstuffed from our lunch, but we prevailed and, despite the nausea-causing pretzel overload, my love for the Bavarian treat is still intact. I’ve further embarked on the journey to find the perfect “Apfelstrudel,” learning that pastries doused in vanilla sauce and whipped cream are just not my cup of tea.

Left: Purple Team is getting assistance from a local. Above: Anat and A’ntonia from Orange Team is “baptizing” the Mozart duck the loving TGS way.

We later blasted back a century into the past, taking vintage 1900s sepia portraits of our teams – top hats, lace and all. The thrill of playing dress-up, even at this age, never really wears off! Many of the groups took traditional posing to a whole new level. We then made our way to the Salzburg Castle where our clues directed us to piggybacking each other and making a four-person pyramid. But what are TGS students if not law breakers but law-bend-twist-innovate-morphers? Four teams met at this fortress and at first decided to create one massive pyramid but upon failing thought to make two separate pyramids and connect them with a planking Alex!


e g n e l l a h C l e z The Pret

catch? Only one hand e Th t. ris w a as k ic all had to rso and as th e allowed – and we zel – the size of a to er et w pr s) ve th si ou as m m t a ei t lb ea We had to ice choked body parts (a ducted, like when Al pretzel and no other e de e th er ld w ho ts to in ed po , us ed ere us could be ed. If more body parts w had 9 points deduct am Te ge an Or t, ris eat at the same time. our mouths! w hed Beny’s ch the pretzels with un m d an ld and the pretzel touc ho to ng we had lots os of us tryi Global Porkers, but very interesting vide k e in m Th l so r al fo us e e ad ak m m is Th allenge designed to ds. This was a sadistic ch laughs and good stories to tell afterwar of



What are Mozart Balls, you ask? They are these amazing chocolate balls with pistachio in the middle, then nougat and marzipan and a thick layer of chocolate on the outside. We bought four of them but had to go back for more!



What I got from this was that we’ll always love each other, no matter what. We can be angry, annoyed, sad and happy, and we’ll always find each other because of what we have in common. TGS is our bonds, what put us together, and we can’t get rid of those connections. Even if we’d want to. But who would?



“The world is big, yet so small” was what everyone concluded. We’ll always be different because the world is too big to allow anything else, but we’ll always find support when we need it. Moist eyes and streaming tears were seen for another fifteen minutes through Irene’s and Brad’s speeches.


After a lovely dinner, all of us sat down in a circle where the crazy pretzel competition had been. The square was dark, with a weak light from the illuminated castle on the hill. Slightly sugar-high after ice creams and apfelstrudels, both student and staff giggled through the first activity where we expressed our appreciation of people during the year. Then when Bob started to speak we all listened without interrupting. The words were about this being our very last day together like this. He said how we have to remember this very moment since it shows how we’ll always be together since we are the only ones sharing this. And how we have to appreciate each other, always and everywhere.



We started out our day as the early birds riding on the 9:01 train to Vienna. The ride was nice and steady. Beny and Alice took naps on each other, and we arrived at 11:44 for debriefing. After dropping off our bags we headed off on the local subway, the U2, towards Prater Amusement Park. Here, we were actually given points for riding certain rides. One of them was the “Prater Turm,” which was underwhelming for some of us and nauseating for others, but we did it! Then we had to find Brad and Monique who were waiting at a ball and can game stall somewhere in the park. It took us about 30 minutes to find them, and it turns out we passed them in the first five minutes of searching without even knowing. After that we had free time to catch some thrills. Alice and Yuan Yuan played games in stalls. Then the whole team partook in a lively session of bumper-car driving, which was exhilarating to say the least. Anat, Yuan Yuan and Beny rode the “Snake” and their screams could be heard for miles. When the shenanigans were over we met up with a staff member and then released at 3:15 to race to Schonbrunn Palace. Our morale was a little in the depths due to one of our TEAM challenges not going as we wanted, BUT we arrived at the castle in 5th place!!! (This may seem feeble and lame to you reader, but just know we owned that fifth place.) The Corn Cobras finished strong and together we ran to Irene who signified the end of our crazy but beautiful Amazing Race.


Orange tackling the pyramid challenge in Salzburg. Very fun and enjoyable... to some people.

e enD

“we owned that fifth place”

Monique - A cool cat


Resident LIFE

Our 24-hour local guides, logistic wizards, party planners, dorm sheriffs and the answer to most students’ prayers... they are the glue that holds the school together.

Ryan with his girls. He helped us in Ecuador.

Yosefa & Monique with their favorite guide, Julio. Cuenca 2011

Yosefa, the director of Residential Life. She has a way of getting things done.

Brad helped us in Thailand and Berlin

Like chimpanzees, they clean each other, finding lice, ticks and bugs in hair and fur.

The male has bright colors and makes a high-pitch whistling sound.

Like amphibians, they thrive in water as well as on land.

Their caring nature and love for other animals’ offspring, make them perfect teachers.

advanced biology 2 .0

How to r ecogn i z e a TGs t e ach er To the surprise of most people, there’s an amazing resemblance between a TGS teacher and animal behavior. By studying this page you’ll be able to spot a real TGS teacher in the wild.

Because of their camouflage, they are able to hunt at night. Their highly developed hearing allows them to hear other animals, and danger from far away.

Strange behavior is often seen among females traveling in larger groups.

The traditional mating dance.

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20 21

Missing in this picture: Herbert Battise Lee Carlton Razi Shlapak Lee Cannon Pearl Hahm

1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21:

Sally Booth, Director of Curriculum Ryan Szepan, ResLife Ashley Silver, Head of Operations Lin Cheng, Mandarin Teacher Jeff Tilson, IT Specialist Jessica Levine, Projects Learning Coordinator Mike Hourahine, Director of Technology Elinore Tappe, Head of Student Services Joann McPike, Founder Razi Shlapak, Controller Maria del Mar, Cuenca Host City Specialist Yosefa Gilon, ResLife Robert Spellman, Head of School Andrew McLean, Global Studies Teacher Jarret Voytilla, Science Teacher Marta Guevara, Spanish Teacher Lindsay Clark, Media Specialist Laura Gardner, Assistant to Head of Operations Irene Krugman, World Literature Teacher Monique Lefebvre, ResLife Ambika Dani, Math Teacher

As the Director of Residential Life for the 2011/2012 school year, I had the wonderful opportunity to enable students to become better people and watched them grow and mature. As I stood by the sidelines and witnessed students interact with each other and learn about others and themselves, I too learned. Through my travels and adventures prior to joining TGS as well as the amazing experiences we had last year, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I am much colder than everyone else. I was almost always the first one to have goose bumps and the first one to say, “I’m cold.” I attribute that to the fact that I’m from California. I learned that I can’t leave my house/room/apartment without a snack. People soon caught on to this and they knew they could come to me if they were suddenly hungry in the middle of the day. I often have visions of me later in life as a mother with a diaper bag full of snacks. I also learned that I love to plan adventure races. I love designing them so much that I dreamt about the TGS Amazing Race for months before we revealed the race to students. There were a few mornings that I woke up with logistical details racing through my mind and I had to write them down so they wouldn’t be forgotten. I learned that after about 10 months of enabling, watching, facilitating, adventuring, traveling, working and living with teenagers, I can fall asleep upon sitting in a seat on an airplane and wake up more than 10 hours later as the plane is landing in California. I am excited and curious as to what lies ahead for the 2012/2013 school year. – Yosefa Gilon


M r. samuthai

the real david

Dav id the mime

Dav id the RH I NO

M r. S mo ot h

The King of “You Gotta be Kiddin’ me” the LATIN INTELLECTUAL


Ashley Silver Head of operations

Laura Gardner

Executive Assistant to Ashley Silver

Pearl Hahm

HR Generalist/Office Administrator

The people

Lily Just

Director of Admissions

Mike Hourahine Head of Technology

Jeff Tilson

SPOT Developer/IT Analyst

Jessica Levine

Projects Learning Coordinator

Razi Shlapak Controller

Herbert Battise bookkeeper

behind the scenes

Lee Carlton IT Analyst

Sally Booth

Head of Curriculum, PD and Research

Avi Levine

business consultant

Sally from TGS (Green shirt) together with Randi Dickson who helped with curriculum - Ecuador 2011

Robert with Edda Mally-Schilling, CASC Rectora Ecuador 2011

Thank you for making this the best school year ever.

Joann McPike with PTIS Head of School Maxine Driscoll Thailand 2012

Sally from TGS with David Brown from WASC Germany 2012

Thomas Schaedler BBIS - Berlin 2012

Robert with PTIS’s ML Tri Devakul - Thailand 2012


You will always be a part of the TGS Family.

In over 25 years of working in schools I cannot name a group of people that I was closer to than all of you. You will never be forgotten. This year has given me a new love for the field of education, and I will see a bit of each of you in every class and every school I work with in the future. It is my hope that I gave to each of you at least a fraction of the support and kindness you shared with me. Our six values hung on the wall of the dining room in Berlin, and now as I write this it is these words that come to mind to define the 2011-2012 school year. Those values are: Responsibility, Thoughtfulness, Empathy, Integrity, Resilience and Synergy. Looking back on this school year I can name countless examples of each of these values demonstrated by both students and staff. I hope that as the new year begins and the school moves forward that these values are not lost and people continue to use them as their compass. The other theme of the school year was TRUST and the many responsibilities that come with TRUST. You all saw that over the school year trust was built, and by the end of the school year we all spoke about how important it is and how fragile it can be. It is my hope that the trust we have developed continues in the years to come. In closing I thank you all again for what you have given me and hope that I hear from all of you in the years to come as to the success each of you strives to achieve. Sincerely, Bob

THANK YOU for being my family.

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WHO IS WHO? Guess and win a life supply of fried Thai crickets A1 ___________________ A2 ___________________ A3 ___________________ A4 ___________________ A5 ___________________ A6 ___________________ B1 ___________________ B2 ___________________ B3 ___________________ B4 ___________________ B5 ___________________ B6 ___________________ C1 ___________________ C2 ___________________ C3 ___________________ C4 ___________________ C5 ___________________ C6 ___________________ D1 ___________________ D2 ___________________ D3 ___________________ D4 ___________________ D5 ___________________ D6 ___________________ E1 ___________________ E2 ___________________ E3 ___________________ E4 ___________________ E5 ___________________ E6 ___________________ F1 ___________________ F2 ___________________ F3 ___________________ F4 ___________________ F5 ___________________ F6 ___________________



number of flights taken:

# of miles traveled



28 101,242

number of countries visited

400,050 number of


number of currencies used

# of different phone numbers monique had


TGS 12 By the



Numbers counted by monique


# of UNESCO Heritage Sites visited

# of beds slept in over the past year

the number

of countries

represented by students (by country of birth)


# of photos taken # of Gigs photos take up on the computer: 133.67

THINK Global School Yearbook 2011-2012