About ISLE 2016

ISLE is many things to many people. To some, a group of young Singaporean students engaging in international service may seem too ambitious an endeavour – tokenistic, even, or bordering on elitist. After all, really, why couldn’t we settle for doing local service in our home country? Click on this post to find out.

This year, the International Service Learning Elective comprised 2 distinct teams, Team A and Team B, with 35 students in total. Throughout the year, we prepared for a final trip in November to Batam, Indonesia to two schools, Sekolah Dasar 012 (SD012) and Huria Kristen Indonesia (HKI) respectively.


ISLE 2016: Days 9 and 10

With the main bulk of the trip over, both teams took a step back during R&R to physically recuperate, as well as to think and mull over the work we’ve done, aiming to see how things could be done better the next year. During the two short days, we visited an amusement park, watched Disney’s Moana, and once again shed tears, whether at the final intense debrief on Monday morning or back at Harbourfront Cruise Centre. Something had changed within all 35 students, something more intangible than the presence of the words “ISLE” on a CV or mere superficial smiles on our faces – memories were made, bonds were forged, lives were touched.

ISLE 2016: Days 6, 7 and 8

Thursday, Friday and Saturday brought with them the final stretches of painting, gardening and cementing, the final English lessons for the schoolchildren, and an emotional farewell on Saturday morning which left many of us with tears on our cheeks. Every day brought new challenges, adding on to the cumulative stress and fatigue which had been weighing on every team member since Day 1; in a way, this could be said to be the climax of our trip, as we fought through the negative feelings to achieve our goals within the limited time.

ISLE 2016: Days 3, 4 and 5

Monday rolled around and the real brunt of the work hit both teams hard. Lessons were to be conducted for the students, meaning that every team member had to work hard to deal with the incessant noise, running children and the ever-present language barrier. Each day, after lessons were completed, the teams would get down to the physical work: painting, cementing, scraping, gardening, and so on under the blazing Indonesian sun. Each night, the teams would end with a late night debrief, before quickly retiring to bed desperately hoping to grab at least a good 7 hours of sleep.

ISLE 2016: Days 1 and 2

The final ISLE trip began early in the morning, with both teams meeting at 8.00 a.m at the Harbourfront Cruise Centre on 26th November. For the past two weeks both teams had been preparing intensely, spending entire days cooped up at the back of the Raffles Leadership Institute and classroom C61 for Teams A & B respectively. Everyone was clearly apprehensive as to whether their plans would succeed in coming to fruition the next few days.

About ISLE 2015

This year, ISLE took a different approach towards our service learning as the programme was condensed into just one team. Our one team was given the autonomy to plan and execute our service independently, without the support/framework of existing volunteer organisations.

We are a team of 18 passionate kids in the International Service Learning Elective who headed down to Batam, Indonesia to serve the local community there, specifically Veritas Primary School and Huria Kristen International (HKI). Unlike previous years, where teams worked with specific NGOs, ISLE 2015 partnered with Yehonala High School in Batam to help create a safer and more conducive learning environment for Veritas Primary School and HKI.