by Irina Maryukhina

After recently choosing their Interim Semester trips, students are patiently buckled up and waiting for February to roll around. Juniors and seniors have chosen trips as far away from home as possible. Students typically pick Interim Semester trips with their closest friends, crossing their fingers and hoping that when their time rolls around, they are able to pick a particular trip and join their friends. 

This year was no exception. It was my turn and I rolled up to room H301 with a big smile on my face. I chose Morocco. I can’t wait to go with my best friend by my side and have the best week of my life, while exploring Islamic culture. 

How am I going to do that? Here are my top ten tips for making the best of your Interim Semester experience and the greatest week of your life: 

  1. Read your packing list. Then read it again. Check off items as you pack them into the suitcase. Packing lists are provided for a reason—you don't want to look silly hiking up Everest in your vans instead of hiking boots!
  2. Take some time out of your busy high school schedule and have a conversation with your Interim Semester teachers. Knowing what to expect and also knowing a little about the teachers warms their heart. Make an effort to make that connection and build relationships.
  3. A lot of us like to keep up with current trends. Get yourself a Kodak film camera. They typically cost fifteen bucks or lower, and they are great to capture precious moments of your trip. With the Kodak, you won’t have to worry about charging your phone batteries and be able to live in the moment, without the distraction of technology. When you return, you can develop your pictures at Far East Plaza for under S$2.00 a piece and save those memories forever.
  4. Get a book that you can read anywhere. Travel takes up a lot of time. Keep your mind running.
  5. Talk to new people. We all got the memo that your best friend is on the trip, but don’t be that person who lives for cliques. This is the only time outside the classroom you get to foster new relationships. Make the best of it!
  6. Make sure to take advantage of the gastronomic culture where ever you go. Food is different all over the world. Don't be picky for a week and enjoy the food that surrounds you. That might be the only time you ever eat it.
  7. Pushing the boundaries of your experience will make you fairly sweaty and stinky.  Don't forget to do your laundry! The access to laundry machines might not be provided, but you’ve got wonderful tools called hands. Use them with soap and wash some of your clothes. Dry them overnight and go out into the next day smelling fresh.
  8. Take care of the environment. Bring along a metal straw if you have one. Saving the world is a continuous task and you should do it no matter where you are.
  9. Thank your Interim Semester teachers. They have spent a whole week chaperoning you and your friends, taught you a thing or two along the way, and even put up with your mood swings. Make sure you remind them of how great they have been!
  10. Back to school and stressing out? Stop and smell the roses! Reflect on your experience.  Be mindful of what happened during Interim Semester week and what you can learn from it. The only way we grow is by choosing  to learn and develop from the given opportunities.

That’s it folks! Follow those ten steps and enjoy your week long trip! Here’s to making more friends and even more memories. 

  • high school
  • interim semester
  • service learning
  • tips



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