World Challenge Expedition to India - July 2017
Miss Gulvin sent us this report:
“Back in July, 40 students from Invicta travelled to Kerala, India, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience – their World Challenge Expedition. For 14 days, our students immersed themselves fully in the Keralan culture for a truly rewarding, inspiring and well-earned end to their examination year.
It is fair to say we all experienced a bit of a culture shock landing in India; the colours, sounds, smells, food, language, dress – everything was incredibly different. Even the coach ride from the airport to our first hostel was an experience! By the end of the trip we were very used to driving past cows and goats, having a rest in the road! The first few days were spent acclimatizing to Keralan life, sight-seeing and orientating ourselves. We met our in-country agents who gave us options with regard to our trek, community project and rest and relaxation time. A vital aspect of World Challenge Expeditions is the students are in control – they have control of the budget and have to work as a team to organize transport, accommodation, food, resources, entertainment and timings. It is completely their expedition.
As part of their community project, the teams spent three days working in a local school renovating existing classrooms so they could be used again by the students. It was fantastic for our Invicta students to experience life in a Keralan school. In keeping with the rest of the trip, it was a very special experience. As well as plastering, painting, digging and clearing to prepare the classrooms, our students also got to spend time in classrooms with students of all ages. Interacting with the Keralan students was a very rewarding and memorable treat.
Another feature of the expedition was trekking the Western Ghats. A 6-hour bus ride out to Munnar took the students to the start of their 3-day trek through the beautiful tea and spice plantations of Kerala. Meeting local rural communities and witnessing another side to Indian life was an eye-opener. Equally as rewarding was the breath-taking views each day of the trek. There is no doubt the trek was challenging but the scenery more than made up for the effort involved! Some students (and teachers!) camped for the first time as well and everyone enjoyed the evenings spent around the campfire reflecting on the day and sharing stories.
Lastly (and possibly the most favoured!) experience was the rest and relaxation time at the end of the trip. The teams had worked hard to control their budget throughout the expedition so that they could treat themselves at the end. 4* hotels, pools, laundry service and KFC were on the agenda! And to finish off, a kayaking trip around the Keralan backwaters – listed as one of the National Geographic’s top 50 places to visit before you die.
Invicta students signed up for a life-changing experience and they were not disappointed. Indian’s call Kerala ‘God’s Own Country’ and it was not hard to understand why. A beautiful state and certainly worth a visit if anyone’s looking for an adventure.
Thank you to all students who took part and made the trip special for everyone involved. And a very special thank you to Miss Woodford and Miss Ashworth who accompanied Miss Gulvin and supported students on the trip. It is very much appreciated.”
A big thank you also to Miss Gulvin for making this such a life changing experience for everyone involved. The memories and lessons will stay with the students forever.