2017’s Immersion Program to Singapore
(by: Andreas Aris Ardianto)
I never thought I could visit schools in Singapore.
Singapore, a small country in Asia, is one of countries with the best education systems in the world. When I browsed about list of countries with the best education system, Singapore will always appear—along with South Korea, Finland, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, and Poland.
As a teacher and education enthusiast, I have a dream to visit those countries, or, at least, one of them. Singapore can be the most possible, because I live in Indonesia, so the country is not too far from my country. Besides, I also want to visit that country because of some reasons. It is because I heard that the country is amazing. The country is a small country with lack of natural resources, but, it is a modern and well-developed country. It is famous for its cleanliness and its citizens who follow rules. I’m curious about those things.
Yet, I didn’t think that I could go there, because I just didn’t know how to go there. Visiting schools there? Observing the teaching learning there? That seemed more impossible to do. It is because the rules there are very strict. The Government must have rigid procedures to follow by someone in order to do that. Therefore, my dream would be always a dream.
However, I was thrilled when the Principal of SMPK 6 PENABUR, the place where I work, told me that I had a chance to accompany students of the school to do immersion program to Singapore. The program lasted five days (Monday to Friday); and among the days, three days would be spent to visit schools there.
Counting days to go, I came to the day where the immersion program started. It was Monday, February 6, 2017. I arrived at Sukarno-Hatta Airport, Jakarta, at around 4.30 am or 4.45 am. Then, I met students of SMPK 6 PENABUR there. We went there with other PENABUR students. They were from SMPK 2 PENABUR and SMPK 4 PENABUR. I met them, too, there. I also met teachers of those schools there; they were Mam Yuni, Ms. Zippora, Mr. Okky, and Ms. Illona. Mr. Bahari, our travel guide, also joined us. In fact, I can say that without him, the immersion program will not be able to run.
The team went there by Singapore Airlines. The plane was nice. The flight was good. I really enjoyed it.
Day 1, Feb 6.
The team arrived at Changi Airport. Mr. Bahari’s friends and travel guide welcomed us. Then, the team took buses to some places in Singapore.
Along the way, I saw clean environment and road where people drove in order. I saw many apartments. Everything in Singapore is in order.
The team and I ate in a Korean Restaurant, then we went to Universal Studio. We spent our time there.
At night, we arrived at the hotel YWCA, Fort Canning. It was a lovely place. We ate there and had some rest.
Day 2, Feb 7, and Day 3, Feb 8.
We visited Naval Base School. That state school is one of the oldest school there. It is called Naval Base School, because the school was built by English Navy.
The school that has a Latin motto Enitamur In Altiora, meaning be the best, is a colourful school. There are so many pictures, paintings, and art projects in the school. Later, we found out that it was the school’s goal to make school as an art gallery and garden. Therefore, there many products of art which were made by students displayed there. The school also has some small replicas of some world’s works of art in the school.
The school has complete facilities to make students grow—not only cognitively, but also affectively, and psychomotor. There are many trees inside the school area. That condition makes the school very clean and cozy.
We went at this school for two days. This school has a unique morning assembly. The students (they are called Navalites) and teachers hold morning assembly every morning. They sing national anthem and watch/ pay attention to certain topics. The Principal has a chance to deliver a speech in the morning assembly once a week. For the other days, morning assembly will be led by students. The topics can be various; from study tips, national hero, sports, hobbies, science, etc.
The students of SMPK 6 PENABUR and SMPK 2 PENABUR performed traditional dances there. And, a student of SMPK 4 PENABUR told a story about the legend of Lake Toba. The students and the teachers of Naval Base School were interested in watching those performances.
We also went to Chinatown and Orchard Road in Day 2 and Day 3. We bought various things there.
Day 4, Feb 9.
We went to Westwood School. Westwood School is a state located in the western part of Singapore. This school is quite big. The school has some houses. It is like Hogwarts in the story of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. In Harry Potter, the school has four houses. They are Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. The houses were based on the name of the school’s founder. However, in Westwood, each house is named after a name of a tree.
The school aims to develop students’ competences in all aspects. Therefore, it is not only in cognitive, but also in affective, and psychomotor. The school has many programs to facilitate students enhancing their skills and competences, like entrepreneurship and immersion program to other country, including Indonesia.
The school also has morning assembly every morning. In the morning assembly, the students (they are called Westwoodians) sing national anthem. Then the students read books which they have prepared by themselves. It is amazing how the students were quiet and so into their books when they read books in the morning assembly.
The students of SMPK 6 PENABUR and SMPK 2 PENABUR performed traditional dances there. And, a student of SMPK 4 PENABUR told a story about the legend of Lake Toba. The students and the teachers of Westwood School were interested in watching those performances.
We also went to Bugis in the Day 4. We bought various things in Bugis. Most items there are quite cheap. Next, we went to Singapore Discovery Centre. We knew the country better by visiting this place.
Day 5, Feb 10.
We went to the River Tour on the last day. We saw Singapore from the river. We were staggered by majestic view that we had. We saw some high and big buildings are intertwined with old buildings. However, all buildings there are so in order, they look neat. The old buildings are clean.
Next, we went to Science Museum. We learned many interesting topics in this museum.
We also went to the center of water purification. We saw how Singapore collecting used water, and, then, purifying it. We also had a chance to taste the water and it tasted great. The water has not been officially used in Singapore, but it will be used in the future.
Then, we went to Changi Airport to return to Jakarta. We used Singapore Airlines to return to our country. It was a lovely and memorable visit in Singapore. We will surely miss the moments we were there.
We arrived at Sukarno-Hatta Airport, Jakarta, at about 6.30 pm. Parents of PENABUR’s students had been waiting for their beloved sons and daughters enthusiastically. Smiles and laughs painted on their faces when they saw and met their children. They surely missed them as they had not been with them for five days.
We went home with beautiful memories of our moments in Singapore. For me, personally, I went home with a fulfilling feeling, because I have been able to experience being in Singapore’s schools.