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On Wednesday 16th November, 22 students from Grades 9 and 10 began attended a 4-hour workshop to prepare them for their upcoming trip. Students were divided into four groups and were assigned their supervisor and assessor for the journey. Students learnt how to use a compass to plot checkpoints and they plotted the route they would hike for the 2-day trip on their map based on coordinates provided. They also learnt how to pack their bags properly, considering they needed to carry all the clothing, camping gear and food they would require during the trip.

On a pretty wet Thursday morning, the students left SSIS to travel out to Dongshan by bus. Here the groups were separated and they all began their journey to navigate themselves to the campsite, which was over 10km away. The rain was relentless on the first day, but all students remained upbeat and embraced the challenge of hiking through mountains, whilst carrying pretty heavy backpacks. Groups got lost on multiple occasions but were always able to navigate themselves back on course and all arrived safely at the campsite to begin setting up their tents and preparing dinner on a camping stove.

Thankfully by the next morning, the rain had stopped and students made their own breakfast and packed away tents and began the hike to the final location. Groups were much better at navigating and communicating with each other on the 2nd day and this led to an increased speed and all groups finishing the days hike in approximately six hours.

All groups needed to have a purpose for their journey, which ranged from testing the water quality at various points to making a video blog of the journey to share with others. Students had no access to their mobile phones for the duration of the trip and had to prepare all meals by themselves. They did an amazing job in difficult conditions, there were some trips and falls, but this just made them more determined and the laughter could be heard through the mountains, as they all had to work as a team to complete this expedition.

We looking forward to opening our next Bronze and Silver cohorts next semester.


  • Selena - Grade 10

The Duke of Edinburgh Bronze expedition was a challenging, yet highly rewarding experience. Not only had I developed practical orienteering skills using merely a compass and coordinates on a map, but I was able to do so in a hands-on environment while exploring the Suzhou countryside. We had the chance to observe both its wildlife as well as the architecture of the many villages we had passed, widening my perspective of Suzhou. Additionally, this expedition gave me a great opportunity to bond with my classmates as we encouraged each other on this journey. Each experience on the trip was extremely memorable and was a wonderful getaway from the typical stresses of school life.

  • Soon Hwan - Grade 9

The Duke of Edinburgh trip was an adventurous, fun, and a productive journey; which we were able to learn new skills, and also to challenge ourselves in the physical and mental aspects throughout the journey. I mainly learnt about leadership skills by allowing everyone to have a positive mood during the hikes, I also kept track of time to follow the route cards we have filled beforehand, and to make sure that everyone was safe. Indeed, the hike was exhausting, but I was lucky to be exposed with the breath-taking sceneries after reaching the summits, and watching the civilization from afar that once was a biome. This trip was certainly a refreshing yet therapeutic experience and a “getaway” from the urban environment; it made me forget about the pandemic and all the work piles from school. I look forward in participating the next silver expedition of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.


  • Secondary School