By Chris Stanton
Students and faculty recently traveled abroad to Cambodia and Thailand to attend the International Round Square Conference. The conference’s theme, “We Walk Together,” embodied the purpose of the trip and the conference.
From Oct. 1 to 15, senior Zoé Fiske; juniors Jessie Ralph and Madelyn Tournat; sophomores Katherine Richardson and Catherine Kurtz; freshman David Harris; and faculty members Chad Detloff, John Nordquist and Jeff Mercer journeyed together through Southeast Asia.
The group arrived on October 1 at the Phnom Penh International Airport in Cambodia. Over the next seven days, the Chadwick group partook in many activities and experiences such as playing soccer with Cambodian children, building houses for Cambodian families and experiencing immense culture shock.
However, many of the group members agree that the service they did was the most rewarding aspect of the trip. Over their two full days of service, the group constructed five basic houses for poor, local families outside of Phnom Penh and also visited two local schools to help teach the students English and play games with them.
“Playing soccer with the kids and seeing how different their lifestyle is was really a touching experience,” said Kurtz.
After their seven days in Cambodia came to a close, the Chadwick representatives yet again embarked on another journey, this time to Thailand to attend the conference.
They resided in dormitories in Pattaya, Thailand at the Regents School. In the school’s gym, the Chadwick representitives met other students and faculty from all around the world, and together listened to a variety of speakers.
Most of the group members agree that the conference was both hectic and fun because they were meeting so many people from all over the world left and right.
While in Thailand, the group participated in even more community service. The group was split up and representatives were sent to a variety of locations, including a vocational center for the disabled, a women’s center, a center for children with parents who are unable to support them, a convalescent home, a center for blind people and a school.
As they returned from their international adventure, the group of Chadwick students and faculty couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. Not only did they aid communities in Cambodia and Thiland, leaving a substantial impact on the global community, but they managed to have fun while doing so.
Round Square’s goals were successfully represented in this global experience. The conference exemplified multiple aspects of the organization’s core values: internationalism, democracy, environmentalism, adventure, leadership and service.
Reflecting on the trip itself, the group remained thankful for their opportunity. “I felt so grateful to be able to have such a deep impact on these people’s lives,” said Richardson.