Royal Grammar School

Newcastle

Students take part in World Challenge

Students take part in World Challenge

This summer a group of students headed off to Southeast Asia on a trip of a lifetime as they took part in their World Challenge expedition in Malaysia and Borneo.

Upper Sixth student, Cameron Kirk, talks us through the expedition,

 We spent a lot of time preparing and fundraising in various ways throughout the school year for the expedition and we all couldn't wait to set off.

We arrived in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia, and spent the first few days acclimatising and visiting various famous landmarks, including the Baku Caves and the Petronas Towers. This initial stopover allowed us to get used to the food, culture and language before we set off to the Cameron Highlands.

In the Highlands, we went on our first short expedition, visiting the Boh Tea Plantations as well as a Buddhist Temple, staying in our first backpackers' lodge during the trip. A particular highlight of this expedition was white water rafting down the River Kampar. Most of us were either submerged or close to falling out at some point, but we did all manage to finish in the boat! 

Following this, we took the ferry to Pangkor Island where we had the opportunity to see Wild Boar, Black Hornbills and Long-tailed Macaques on the beach. Best of all, we enjoyed a game or two of volleyball and relaxed in the Indian Ocean.

Next up was a flight to Miri, Borneo, where we bought our supplies, booked our accommodation for the expedition ahead and finalised our plans before we headed into the Kelabit Highlands.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the entire trip was our community engagement phase where we spent several days living within a local community, painting the local school boarding house and challenging the local children to a number of games of football.

Our main trek involved five to six hours of guided jungle walking per day, sleeping in hammocks under the stars, cooking on open campfires and collecting and purifying river water for drinking. 

It was a wonderful experience, which really bonded us as a group and despite the record number of leeches being removed from legs, boots and arms, it was a truly fantastic trip.

A huge thank you must go to our dedicated expedition leaders Rob O'Hagan and Miss Atkinson who gave up their summer to support and accompany us.