Thursday, 4 June 2015

A Mind Blowing First Week In The Maldives

COUNTRY: Maldives
PROJECT: Teaching & Swimming Coaching
WRITTEN BY: Jessica Leask & Kaitlin Foster, University of Sydney, Education

Our first day on the beautiful atoll of Hithadhoo was nothing short of magical. With a delayed flight due to severe weather conditions in Hong Kong, and a change of travel route that included a stop over in Singapore, we arrived safely at our guesthouse in the early hours of the morning. After a good sleep in, we all awoke and were excited to explore our new home for the next three weeks.

Our first activity of the day was to visit our schools. For the duration of our stay, the group has been divided between both the Hithadhoo School and Sharafuddin, which boasts the largest school population in the Maldives. At Hithadhoo School we were greeted with flowers and coconuts during our meeting with the Assistant Principal.

Our first days of teaching here have been invaluable. The schools have been very welcoming, with all of our teachers giving us opportunities to teach classes to the students on our very first day! The local teachers are eager to learn new practices, and as a whole we have learnt so many important lessons from the students already. We have also begun to teach the very eager students how to swim in an afternoon program that will be continued throughout the duration of our trip. In addition to swimming, beginning next week, there will be some lively competition between the students at both schools as we are all coaching netball teams that will be competing each other in the island interschool competition.

In addition to our lesson planning and organising the coming weeks ahead, we have been fortunate enough to be able to plan a few little excursions including snorkelling and fishing. Snorkelling was one of the most mind-blowing experiences for so many of the students on the trip. Firstly the colour of the water is exactly how you would imagine it, the brightest and clearest of blues. Meanwhile the wildlife below is breath taking. It is a whole other world down there with so many creatures to be seen. We were lucky enough to see at least 3 turtles in all different sizes, a few reef sharks and so many brightly coloured fish.

As a group we also celebrated two birthdays this week with a beautiful trip to an uninhabited island on Friday, with snorkelling, swimming and a boat ride. We are all now feeling refreshed and ready to conquer our second week!

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