CAS stands for Creativity, Action and Service, and is a compulsory part of the IB Diploma Programme. It is not graded, but 150 hours of CAS is required to be able to graduate. Here at LPC (and the other UWCs), CAS and other Education Outside the Classroom things are heavily emphasized, and are considered almost equally as important as your subjects.
The great thing about UWCs is that they will always have a wide range of activities for you to choose from (and if you feeling strongly about adding another activity, you can send in a proposal in your first year, and hopefully lead the QC the year after). The downfall of a normal IB school is that you will often have to find your own CAS activities. If not arranged by your school, it can be hard to find a Service activity that goes deeper than volunteering as a homework helper.
At LPC, you have to take four CAS activities (or Quan Cais, as we call them) in your first year. One Creativity, one Action, one Campus Service and one Community Service. In the second year, you are only required to take two QCs, but one of them must be a service. Many people choose to take more than 4 (or 2) QCs, simply because they’re so much fun. A complete list of all the activities offered at each school can be found on their websites, but here I’m going to talk about my activities:
Creativity – Choir
Choir is a really nice activity – it’s quite relaxing, and we get to choose our own songs. We haven’t yet done any church hymns or slow songs; our songs have ranged from Some Nights to Count On Me, and at the moment we’re singing a Mandarin song with the direct translation of “Mice Love Rice”.
Action – Badminton
I played badminton before I came to LPC but had to take a break for a year due to a conflicting schedule. I thought it might be nice to join badminton here. To my great surprise, my co-year roommate Tiffany also plays badminton! In Hong Kong, tournaments are not as common as in Norway (the focus here is on academics – very sterotypical), so we’ve only played one tournament (that we got second place in, by the way). The only downside to this activity is that there is a large majority of local (Hong Kong) students. This isn’t a bad thing in itself, except from when people start speaking in Cantonese. Then I’m utterly lost.
Campus Service – Campus Ecologists
Campus Ecologists is, I’d wager, one of the friendliest services out there. The atmosphere is always light, and everyone is always happy to be there. One of our main focuses is educating the school about sustainability options in-school, working with the school’s administration on creating more environmentally friendly options (like switching out our printing paper with more environmentally friendly printing paper) and maintaining green space on campus. Before I came to LPC, I think that the environmental factor was the UWC value that I knew least about, and was least invested in. I have learned lots from Campus Ecologists – not just about the environment, but also about my behaviour and how it affects the local environment.
Community Service – Students Against Slavery
SAS is a great community service. At first, we focused a lot on educating ourselves about modern forms of slavery (forced labour, sex slavery and domestic servitude are some of the most common types of slavery), but now we’re moving on to awareness campaigns and activities inside and outside of school – Lorraine and I are actually going to CDNIS (Canadian International School) to hold a presentation about SAS tomorrow. Check out the section on Project Week just below to find out about the Project Week I’ll be going on in March!
Other popular QCs at LPC are Coral Monitoring (two-year Community Service with compulsory Project Weeks, a focus on marine conservation and a whole lot of rewarding work), Dragon Dance and Lion Dance. The last two are traditional Chinese things that are absolutely amazing to watch. Google them, and feel free to ask me if you have any questions!
Other parts of the Education Outside the Classroom programme:
China Week is a compulsory trip for all first-years at LPC. The vast majority of the trips are service-orientated – for example, my group went with Li Laoshi (laoshi is Chinese, and it means teacher) to teach English at a primary school in Dongguan, a southern province of China. I learned a lot about the Chinese way of teaching (huge classes, with vocal repetition as the main way of learning), and also learned how to use chopsticks! Read my blog post about China Week here.
Project Week is another compulsory trip, but for both secondyears and firstyears. The Project Week trip is often connected to QCs you are taking in school – in March, I will be going to Cambodia with my comunity service QC, Students Against Slavery, to go to a centre for trafficked women and children.
CoP days – Change of Pace Days. CoP days are days where normal school is cancelled, and everyone (or at least the first years) does something different. We have gone hiking across Dragon’s Back and down to a beach, and we have also had Sex and Sustainability CoP days (separate days!).
This page will probably be updated as I think of more things to add… Feel free to ask me questions about anything that is here (or not here, as it may be)!