End of Year CAS Reflection

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As the end of this academic year nears, looking back at my initial CAS goals, and the eight learning outcomes for CAS, makes me realize how much I have grown and accomplished this year, as well as the ways in which my aspirations changed and veered in new directions.
FullSizeRender-2Looking back on my goals for creativity, it’s encouraging to see that I have achieved my goals, and exceeded my initial expectations. Having reflected on the blog regarding my progress as a piano player, I am satisfied with my success at live performances, and my improvement in pianistic techniques. However, while I am glad that I undertook the challenge of becoming a better pianist and playing for live audiences, it has also led me to identify areas for growth in my learning.Now that I have experience playing live, and have a better understanding of how to cope with mistakes during the heat of the moment, I aim to take a more central and frequent role in these performances next year, as a DP2 musician.

While maintaining my commitment to playing the piano, I am also really grateful 1that I got the opportunity to expand my knowledge of music, by developing new skills as a violinist. As this was a CAS goal made at the beginning of the year, however, I am a little disappointed at how long it took me to organize a teacher and start my lessons, as it left me no time for reflection on the blog. For next year, I plan to take more initiative when pursuing any CAS activity, so that I have time to blog in detail about it, over the course of the semesters.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 8.25.23 PMA large part of my creativity hours, however, came about due to activities and events that I did not plan to be a part of, but felt a personal desire to try. MUN and Bugsy Malone (backstage crew) are two main events that became a spontaneous addition to my CAS blog. With MUN, I demonstrated my perseverance and commitment to an activity that had overwhelmed me the year before. Deciding to participate a second time allowed me to experience the activity in a new light, made more enjoyable by my prior knowledge and new friends. Volunteering for the backstage crew in our school musical, however, was an entirely new challenge for me, one that turned out to be very rewarding. Aside from teaching me new skills, this event showed me what it is like to be part of OSC, and revel in the school spirit.

Looking back on my goals for action, it is apparent that this is the are where myScreen Shot 2016-02-17 at 8.19.56 PM plans for the year changed significantly, taking me in new athletic directions that I had never thought of before. At the beginning of the year, I was eager to try a different form of action – dance. While I was very enthusiastic to learn, however, I did not find a class to my liking. Determined to develop new skills athletically, however, I joined yoga with my friends during the second semester. Rather different from dance, yoga taught me the importance of having a cal mindset and exercising your muscles to remain healthy. It was a very different area of action compared to badminton, the sport that I have been committed to for the past few years. Badminton allowed me to improve my strengths in technical aspects, such as succeeding in a smash shot, and enabled me to compete with friends in an activity I really enjoyed. Despite my athletic achievements, however, I wish I had been able to play sports more competitively, like in SAISA, something I am planning on working towards for next year.

HFKLooking back on my goals for service, I am glad to report that I have committed to “Hope for Kids” the entire year, a feat made very easy by the wonderful kids and dedicated group members. In the presence of my peers, who are so familiar with this cause, and determined to improve it, as well as my supervisors, who care about us as much as the kids at the hospital, it is impossible to see my service as a mere CAS requirement. Hope for Kids has definitely made me want to contribute to other service projects during my own time, which I think would be a good way to develop as a person, outside of CAS requirements.

For next year, I I plan to use all my ideas from the end of this year, as well as any new ideas I may have over the summer, to figure out new CAS goals.

Colombo Model United Nations 2016

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GA3 Delegation

The 19th-21st of February marked the commencement of the Colombo Model United Nations 2016. After months of research and practice debates, it was time to wear our most official clothes and start debating.

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As a part of the 3rd general Assembly, we heatedly debated on our assigned topic for the first 2 days:

 

 

 

  Dissecting transitional justice to recognize its implications, with special regards to social development”

The first 2 days were intense and our debating was polished by the 3 practice debates, however, in a way, I felt more in my element than during those first few practices because I was much more at ease with my fellow delegates and with my country, Belarus.

Debating on a topic so relavant to the current world allowed me to gain critical insight into issues, such as the post conflict states in the Middle East, and enabled me to project feasible solutions for some of these issues. I thought this was a great advantage of MUN, at a time where conflicts seem endless and unresolvable.

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OSC Delegation with our Chair (far left)

Looking at world issues such as Iraq and the KRG seeking independence, solutions seems far out of the reach when even comprehending the entire conflict is a difficult feat. MUN takes a unique approach to these situations – breaking crucial parts of the conflict into different discussions through moderated and unmoderated caucuses. For me, and hopefully for many others, this enables me to look at conflicts in an analytical way and search for solutions. I think MUN is a great way for students to get involved in global issues instead of feeling lost when they’re brought up.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 10.44.03 AMDebating for hours on end about political issues for a long weekend can get somewhat daunting. This made my friends and fellow delegates and amazing support system during this whole event – the fun we had debating, an the jokes we made out of committee made the experience a unforgettable memory to to look back on with my friends.

 

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Day 3 – In our national costumes at Cinnamon Lakeside

The third day of conference was by far the most eventful and the grandest.Upon meeting up at the Cinnamon Lakeside hotel in our national costumes, all 3 General Assemblies merged to debate upon a simulated crisis. we were all seated with the other delegates of our country, where we would offer solutions for the crisis as a joint delegation. as there were no other delegates of Belarus, I was the only one in my delegation.

Our crisis started off with a crack in the Mosul dam in Iraq and quickly escalated to a massive break down which killed thousands of people. Our job as delegates, was to come up with directives – immediate short term solutions – to mitigate the crisis. I felt that this really showcased our knowledge on issues of global importance and improved our critical thinking and ability to quickly brainstorm solutions. Furthermore, the many discussion times we had during the conference also improved our ability to collaborate with others, especially in times of crisis, when effective teamwork is crucial.

My time working towards the COMUN conference, as well as the actual conference itself, has allowed me to make friends from different schools all over Colombo and learn how to collaborate with them and think critically as the youth of this country. The knowledge and experience I gained throughout this journey is truly invaluable.

For more information on COMUN and a new perspective on the global issues discussed, visit:

http://content.educationtimes.lk/print-edition-1/7236-22-years-of-comun-by-osc

http://www.osc.lk/comun/

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Tea at Cinnamon Lakeside

 

Being involved in issues of global importance

During our CAS block this semester, we have been focusing on individual CAS objectives in order to gauge whether we are fully engage in each one. Last block, we discussed a CAS objective that requires us to look beyond ourselves and take responsibility for the issues in our world.

During the discussion, I reflected on the two very different ways with which I am currently approaching issues of global importance.

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Thursdays with the kids

Through my service, Hope for Kids, I am able to better understand the gravity of issues such as cancer by interacting with patients in our local community. Raising funds to make the lives of these tiny patients more joyful becomes much more meaningful after communicating with them and working together. I feel that my service, in addition to providing hope for kids, also enables us, the members, to face such problems head on and teaches us that contributing to our community does not stop at simply donating some money.

Through MUN, I come across and engage with many global issues, although in a very

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Resolution Writing in MUN

different capacity to Hope For Kids. In MUN I have improved upon my debating skills and have learnt to look at world issues in a more critical and analytical way. Having participated in MUN, I have realized the importance of not only being informed on current issues, bit also actively looking for a solution.

Being able to address this CAS objective in different ways has allowed me to truly engage with it and make progress towards it.

 

MUN Practice Debates

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GA3 Practice Debate [Photo Credits: Smriti Nagarajan]

COMUN 2016 is soon approaching and I am currently polishing my debating skills in the practice debates. Over the last few months, I have attended two practice debates and am fervently researching for the third, which will take place on the 30th of January.

The topic for the final debate is:

Developing a framework to mitigate the detrimental effects of a rapidly emergent sex tourism industry with special emphasis on the South Asian Region.

As the delegate of Belarus, I will need to approach the topic in my nation’s interest and make sure I represent the country’s foreign policy accurately.

IMG_5457The practice debates have allowed me to once again familiarize myself with MUN procedure from last year and gain invaluable practice at drafting resolutions and posing comprehensive ideas to debate. Additionally, the practice debates have allowed me to get to know my committee, GA3, as well as my chairs and fellow delegates. Having several other delegates from OSC in my committee has allowed me to debate more confidently as we always make it a point to support each other and ensure we all have fun debating. Although we hadn’t met before, the other members in my delegation were also very friendly and helpful and allowed me to make connections with other schools in Colombo. Building relationships and connections with the other delegates will really help me in COMUN 2016 as I will have to work with them to make strong resolutions.

Going into the third practice debate, I am drawing upon my experiences from the last two, and have formed specific objectives to achieve. For the third practice debate, I am aiming to:

(a) Strengthen my moderated caucus topics so that they will be debated in committee

(b) Communicate better during unmoderated caucus in order to be more involved in operative writing

(c) Bring up more pertinent points during debate

Having gotten into the flow of committee procedure, and having gotten some much needed practice during school meetings, I am looking forward to taking part in the third practice debate.

 

Colombo Model United Nations 2016

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COMUN 2016

Last month, on the 23rd of November, I joined the MUN team at OSC. Having done MUN once before, this time I am looking forward to improving my knowledge of international issues and the UN and developing my speaking skills.

Currently, during our meetings on Monday, we focus on the different aspects of a MUN session, such as drafting resolutions and making moderated caucus topics. Additionally, as the committees have been created for COMUN 2016 in February, we have also given consideration to which committee we want to take part in. This year, I will be in GA3, the general assembly on Social, Cultural and Humanitarian issues. I am really looking forward to this as many of the major global issues that interest me, such as women’s rights and humanitarian affaires, fall under this committee.

Throughout the following sessions and practices debates, I hope to:

(a) Challenge myself by improving upon my knowledge of global issues

(b) Strengthen my debating skills as that is an area I need more development and growth in

(c) Improve my engagement with others in COMUN through negotiation and unmoderated caucus sessions

(d) Recognize the importance of the issues being discussed during conference

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COMUN Workshop at OSC

By the beginning of the COMUN conference on the 19th of February 2016, I hope to have met these objectives so that I can give my best performance during debate.

UN DAY 2015

On 9th October 2015, the day before the mid-term break, we celebrated United Nations Day in the Overseas School of Colombo. As OSC is an international IB school, with over 45 different nationalities, UN Day is an important and well-appreciated event that is commemorated with many different activities.

My favorite thing about UN Day is that everyone comes to school in their national dress. I came to school in the Kandyan saree, the national dress of Sri Lanka; it was my first time wearing this kind of saree, and although I may have tripped once or twice while walking around school, I felt really proud to be a Sri Lankan and share my culture with the other students. I also really enjoyed seeing what my friends and classmates were wearing; I ended up learning about their culture and the effort they had put into representing their countries added to the enthusiasm of the celebration.

Image Credits to Luke Hess

After we arrived in school, we headed outside for the flag parade and introductory assembly. For the flag parade, the oldest student of each nationality carried their flags, and were followed by other fellow classmates of the same nationality. It was a beautiful and colorful event, and although it started to rain, we made it to the gym for the assembly without a hitch. At the assembly, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adapted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, was addressed, giving me a deeper appreciation for UN Day. In addition to celebrating our diverse backgrounds and cultures, UN Day also commemorates our ability to communicate and collaborate together in order to ensure that all humans are treated equally.

After the inspiring introductory speech, those of us in secondary school returned to our assigned classrooms in preparation for discussions about global issues that may concern the UN. Each group consisted of a mix of Grade 10, 11 and 12 students, meaning that our discussions had many different perspectives and mindsets. These discussions were led by MUN students, and after an informative presentation, our group started discussing our debate topic: ‘Should marijuana be legalized?’. This is a controversial topic in the current world, especially as certain countries and states have already legalized this drug. Before this discussion, I had given this topic some thought, and was firm in my opinion that it should not be legalized. Throughout the discussion, however, I was surprised, and interested, to learn that there were some compelling and reasonable arguments for the legalization of marijuana, many of them related to economical benefits such as a reduction in the black market for the drug. After giving my opinion about the situation and listening to what others had to say, I realized this was a matter that had to be given a lot of thought, and although I still stand with my previous stance, I now realize much more reflection has to be put into such a decision.

After that heated discussion, I was eager for the UN Day food stall, organized by the PTA who had generously provided us with a variety of delicious and diverse food. The rain, which had decided to once again pour down at that fateful moment, did not stop most of us from running between the food stalls located outside, sampling all the different types of food available. Although it was not easy running around in the rain in a saree, the food really made it worthwhile.

To end the day, we all gathered in the auditorium for the final assembly. As I got there slightly early, I helped the MUN students, who did a majority of the organizing for this event, by welcoming parents and classmates at the door to the auditorium. During this assembly, we had a keynote address by US Ambassador Atul Keshap and an enlightening speech by an invited speaker, Una McCauley who is the Sri Lanka country representative for UNICEF. Both speakers gave me insight into the UN and emphasized the privilege we have to go to an international school and interact with such diverse people. In addition to these speeches, many of our classmates performed cultural dances and compelling theatre pieces, which provided the perfect ending for such an eventful UN Day.

I think the UN Day was a great way to start the mid-term break as it reminded us of the privilege of attending an international school and getting to collaborate and communicate with many nationalities in order to strengthen our understanding of, and contribution to, global issues.

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Image Credits to Luke Hess