On the 2nd of May 2016, the students and teachers of the Royal Academy embarked on a six day nature retreat programme. The intention behind this outdoors adventure was to facilitate better bonding between the teachers and their mentees. It would also serve as an opportunity for the learners to develop harmony with nature and understand the myriad ways in which humans and nature interact. Additionally, it would reinforce a core belief of the Academy- learning cannot be restricted to the classroom and mother nature is a great teacher.
The destinations chosen for the nature retreat were varied and is listed below:
- Bumdra trek
- Bumthang cultural trek
- Druk Path
- Haa trek
- Mount Jomulahari
- Gangtey trek
- Sinchula trek
All groups left for their respective places from Pangbisa on the morning of Monday, May 2nd and reached back on Saturday, May 7th. The logistics and administrative aspects of the treks were taken care of by the management of the Royal Academy. In addition to the accompanying teacher, a guide was also provided to each of the groups. Prior to the trek, the students and teachers underwent a medical examination at Paro hospital to ensure that they were fit for the high altitude areas and were briefed on basic first aid, if the need arose.
The curriculum at the Royal Academy is based on five main areas of development, namely- Cerebral, Social, Physical, Emotional and Spiritual. The nature retreat endeavored to incorporate these five areas of development. The students made a presentation to the school about their experiences from the nature retreat. Some of those insights are listed below.
- We learned about the culture and beliefs associated with each place that we passed through
- We visited various monasteries and their significance
- We learned how to make a fire in the open
- We learned how to cook in the open
- We learned how to pitch our own tents
- Our endurance was built up each day, walking between 4-6 hours every day
- We understood the value of teamwork and that the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts
- We met tourists on the path who had come to our beautiful country and interacted with them
- Our relationships with our peers and teachers were taken to a whole new level
- We realised the subtle importance aesthetics plays in everyday life
- We realised how fortunate we are for living in this county that is blessed with the best that nature has to offer