Student report by Shauna Vine, Malcolm Arnold Academy: St Vincent and the Grenadines 2018

Friday, May 4, 2018

After two and a half weeks of intense emotional and physical challenges, I can easily say that this trip has been a truly eye-opening experience for me personally. Not only did I meet a group of 11 amazing people from across the Trust, I also had the opportunity to experience the dramatic differences between the British and Vincentian cultures.

I feel a strong sense of accomplishment knowing that I have completed this programme and that I have left the Caribbean with a collection of experiences and lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

As I anticipated, it took me a while to get used to the way of life over in the Caribbean, though with the help of the Vincentian students and my fellow British team, I was able to quickly adjust and continue to build friendships with everyone around me. It was truly fascinating to have the opportunity to build such strong bonds with a group of people that I would have never spoken to if it wasn’t for this trip, and I can truthfully say that I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to meet all of the Vincentian and British students that I did.

Before this trip, I had never really known exactly what we were doing to our planet. I didn’t realise just how much we are damaging the Earth by simply using disposable cups and plastic bags. It was honestly heart breaking to see just how our carelessness can impact the wildlife and the environment in general. One of the experiences that I will treasure the most is the beach clean-up. Before this, I’d never thought about just how much our excessive use of plastic was harming the environment, but after seeing first hand just how quickly the waste can build up on the beaches, I feel as though I will continue to make a conscious effort to reduce my plastic usage.

Additionally, I’d never climbed a volcano before. I feel extremely proud of myself (and everyone else) for having the stamina and persistence to complete the hike up La Soufrière, and to be able to do it with such positive attitudes. Not only will I never forget the amazing views from the top, but I will never forget the sense of accomplishment that I felt knowing that I’d completed the task I’d been dreading since we arrived.

This trip has been one of the best things I’ve ever been able to take part in. There was not a day where I wasn’t learning, and I had the opportunity to take part in so many activitiesthat I would never be able to access back home in England. It’s amazing to know that my team and I have made a difference to the environment in St. Vincent – no matter how small our impact was.

Since coming home, I have tried my hardest to implement the Vincentian ways of life in as many ways as possible – whether this is being extra cautious when recycling or by simply using reusable bottles instead of my typical plastic ones. Words cannot describe just how thankful I am for being able to take part in this incredible experience. Not only have I met a group of lifelong friends, I have gained so much from this trip and it will be something that I will treasure forever.

Thank you so much for everything! I had the most fantastic two and a half weeks and I cannot thank the David Ross Education Trust, the David Ross Foundation and the Mustique Charitable Trust enough.

By Shauna Vine, Year 10 student at Malcolm Arnold Academy

 

The David Ross Education Trust Inspiration Fund is used to invest in pioneering enrichment opportunities like its Caribbean ecological trip. The Inspiration Fund is used to create thousands of incredible opportunities for the Trust’s 12,000 students to help them develop their passions and discover their talents.

If you would like to find out how you or your organisation can support the Inspiration Fund, please contact Geoff Sweeney, Head of Fundraising at the David Ross Education Trust, by emailing GSweeney@dret.co.uk.

You can also make a donation to the Trust’s Inspiration Fund JustGiving page, where all proceeds are used to create outstanding opportunities for its 12,000 students.