This year, eleven SUSS students were offered a scholarship by the Outward Bound Singapore’s Leadership & Service Award (OBS LSA), to take part in the renowned 21-day OBS Classic Challenge Course, a multi-expeditionary programme that challenges participants towards self-discovery and growth beyond themselves.
During the land expedition, our students trekked around the western half of Pulau Ubin, bashed through uncharted forests and assembled a makeshift raft to paddle around Kekek Quarry, where they were filmed by NatGeo. One of the highlights of the first sea expedition was kayaking through the thick mangroves before the tide subsides. The final sea expedition was the most challenging as they had to kayak about 122km over five days and brave strong winds and currents in the open sea! The students felt heartened and empowered to successfully complete the final expedition.
All smiles for the students kayaking in the hot sun during their sea expedition!
They also experienced a solo land expedition to survive in the forest alone for three consecutive days. Essential amenities such as lighters, torchlights and watches were confiscated, and they could only survive with limited items provided by the instructors, with zero contact with anyone. These three days were mostly spent on self-reflection and recuperation.
Students finally back on land, at last!
To conclude the 21-day course, students completed a 15km run as their final activity. It was a run down memory lane as they passed by several landmarks from the land and sea expeditions throughout the route!
After a fulfilling 21 days, students are ready to part ways and end this adventure.
“Overall, we gained invaluable knowledge and experiences. In terms of outdoor adventure skills, we learnt critical land and sea navigation skills such as reading different types of compasses and understanding the tide charts. To enhance our leadership skills, we learnt the importance of self-reflection, open communication and mutual trust”, shared Muhammad Firdaus Bin Zulkfle, SUSS Psychology degree student and recipient of the Outward Bound Singapore’s Leadership & Service Award.
After completing the 21-day course, the OBS LSA team planned and executed a Post-Course Service Project (PSP) that provides a solution to an actual community need. They developed a project for 13 at-risk youths from the SportCares' Saturday Night Lights programme. To fund their project, they conducted a fundraising initiative during the Chinese New Year period and engaged with the Young ChangeMakers (YCM) from the National Youth Council.
SUSS students meeting with the youths for the first time!
Enroute to Pulau Ubin to commence the project!
The youths embarked on a one-day trip to Pulau Ubin, where they completed activities that aimed to inculcate empathy, resilience and teamwork values. In addition, each visited location was a significant learning event in raising awareness and appreciation for the nature and history of Pulau Ubin.
Perfect weather to spend at Pulau Ubin for the day.
The team gained several invaluable takeaways; they learned that giving is truly receiving, as planning and executing the project required them to make tremendous effort and personal sacrifices. However, seeing the smiles on the youths’ faces and how much they had enjoyed the event made the whole experience worthwhile. Internally, they had a greater appreciation of the intricacies in planning a detailed project. Every brainstorming session encouraged them to devise better solutions, which provided an insightful and memorable learning journey for the youths. Lastly, they learned and recognised the importance of open communication, open-mindedness and humility in maintaining cohesiveness and long-term commitment within a team.