Mindful that the learning process is not merely confined to the classroom, the Fairview International School in Malaysia has made it a point to organise excursions to widen the horizons of its students.
Towards this end, a group of Fairview students recently came to this island, the first time that the institution had sent students on an educational trip abroad.
"We need our students to have a better understanding of other people's cultures and traditions to develop into internationally-minded citizens of the future," said Fairview's middle-year programme coordinator, Dr Chian Kwok Tung.
Accompanied by seven teachers, 57 students aged between 14 and 16 from the school's campuses in Wangsa Maju, Subang Jaya and Penang were only too happy to pack their bags and take off for the five-day trip earlier this month.
Chian explained that under Fairview's new education framework, students have to go on three excursions each year, including one to an overseas destination.
"It's a compulsory programme for them. Otherwise, they may fail the year," he said, adding that the programme was part of the school's syllabus under the Humanities subject which blends history and geography.
Comprising various nationalities, the city slickers from Malaysia dabbled in a bit of community service as they helped orphans at Denpasar's Jodie O'Shea Orphanage do laundry and gardening, and spruce up the toilets.
Chian recalled that some of the well-off parents of the Fairview students had wondered whether their children would, among others, have nice food as well as access to clean toilets during the trip.
"Well, the children have to grow up and look at the reality around them; how the underprivileged live," he said, noting that the students should learn how to give back to the community to make them aware of how fortunate they were.
And the participants were asked to update their personal journals on their daily experiences.
It was an eye-opening trip for most of the students, including Emad Atarzadeh, an Iranian student from Fairview's main campus in Wangsa Maju.
He admitted to being initially reluctant to join in the activities but had a change of heart when he saw his friends enjoying themselves.
"Even at the airport I learned so many things, like handling boarding passes and luggage and taking care of the other students; of being responsible," said the 16-year-old, adding that the Bali experience was something that "you can't get from reading books".
Malaysian Lina Ruimin Sim, 14, said it was a fun but meaningful trip as she got to learn what it took to be a caring individual, a risk taker and a good communicator.
Being in Bali, she said, was a bonus as she could see for herself how young people were respectful of their culture, "unlike many youths nowadays".
Some of the students learned how to ride a bicycle for the first time during the Bali trip as the school had arranged for them to cycle from Penge village to Marga village, a distance of two kilometres.
"It was really heartwarming to see them helping their friends who had difficulty riding their bicycles. This is what it's all about; being exposed to the real world," said Fairview's Humanities teacher, K.Kavitha.
Besides the orphanage, the students also visited the Jatiluwih rice terraces where they had a closer look at Balinese organic agriculture development, several temples, the Bali Classic Centre, Desa Kerthalangu and the Kintamani hilltop from where they could view a volcano.
Chian said the international school wanted its students, many of whom were accustomed to a life of luxury, to be knowledgeable, thoughtful, caring, inquisitive and communicative to enable them to become not only well-rounded students but more importantly, well-rounded individuals.
"We want to ensure that these privileged kids can go anywhere, safe in the knowledge that they will still be fine," he added.
The Fairview International School was recently authorised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation to provide primary, middle-year and diploma certifications.