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Bali Field Course 2015
As students of the Environmental Earth System Sciences programme in NTU, work in the field is a key aspect of their studies. This year, the students who are under the Asian School of Environment embarked on their first year field course. This is the first batch of undergraduate students to participate in the Introductory Field Experience course offered. The course was held in Bali, Indonesia for 2 weeks. During this course, students were able to use the concepts that they have learnt in the classroom and apply them during the trip. By doing so they were given the opportunity to attain a better understand of the Earth and environment.
Students completed three modules while they were at Bali. The modules included Rice Ecology, Volcanology and Coastal Ecology. During each module, students conducted various experiments. For example, for Volcanology, students learned how to identify rocks and map out lava flows from different eruptions by looking at their layers. Students were also tasked with mapping an entire rice paddy and measuring water fluxes in the system. The snorkeling activities also gave them an opportunity to study the organisms found in the seawater. Through these experiments, they were able to learn various practical skills and will be better able to anticipate challenges in a practical environment.
As this was the first ever field trip for the undergraduates, the organizers and instructors took almost a year to plan. Several meetings were held to brainstorm and identify the key learning objectives of the trip. Activities were also planned to engage and challenge the students. Preparations before the trip included purchasing and testing all equipment to ensure smooth execution of the activities.
The main goal of the trip was to enable students to experience what it was like to work outside Singapore and in the field. They were asked to work in teams and assist each other to meet the various learning objectives. The students fared very well and developed throughout the trip. Initially instructors had to give specific instructions on how to carry out their duties and how to work within their own teams. However after a few days, the students themselves took the initiative to split up their responsibilities and work together. They bonded and learned the strengths and weaknesses of their team mates. This allowed them to effectively and efficiently complete the tasks given to them.
With every field trip, students are left with invaluable experience and memories. Julia Ang shared that ‘The most memorable thing was looking at the diamond-filled night sky at Prana Dewi on the second night of the trip. The sky looked like a piece of dark blue paper sprinkled with hundreds of glitter. It was something that I have never seen before.’ Similarly Jefferson Fu shared that ‘doing a field course in your freshmen year is an experience you can only have once in your lifetime. But there were, 28 of us and all field trip team members, exploring and plunging ourselves into real-time natural objects in Bali. Personally, it gives me that sense of wonder and joy few other things of this world can offer.’
Overall, the organizers of the trip were satisfied with the experience and were glad that the trip went smoothly with minimal hiccups. They shared that they were impressed by the students’ efforts and were happy that the field trip provided a unique opportunity to connect with the students and faculty in a collaborative and fun environment.