Malaysia Week – A Story for Every Site

Malaysia Week, a thrilling journey of self-discovery and adventure, awaits all ISKL MS students. This much-anticipated journey offers students the opportunity to delve into the wonders of Malaysia.
Malaysia Week
Home » ISKL Blog » Malaysia Week – A Story for Every Site

Malaysia Week, a thrilling journey of self-discovery and adventure, awaits all ISKL Middle School (MS) students. Each year, this much-anticipated journey, a beloved event in our academic calendar, offers students the opportunity to delve into the wonders of Malaysia. As they leave the traditional classroom settings, they uncover new facets of their personality, gaining deeper insights into themselves and the world around them.

Introduced in 1979, Malaysia Week is a longstanding tradition built around an interdisciplinary education program. For over four decades, the program has exposed students to the heart of Malaysia: its tropical reefs, lush rainforests, and sandy beaches, where students delve into adventure to understand the country’s nature and how they can make an impact.
The planners behind Malaysia Week for 2024 introduced the program to students and their families earlier in Semester 2, highlighting the exciting options of Ocean Waves or Rainforest Trails, with a total of 21 sites available. The logistics of managing such a large group of students across Peninsula Malaysia is a meticulous plan that takes months to organize. With various challenges available, students are encouraged to choose itineraries that allow them to step out of their comfort zones while being supported by a professional team of responsible and experienced site leaders, local guides, and teachers, ensuring their safety and well-being throughout the journey.

Malaysia Week this year took place in April, with the first cohort of students leaving ISKL as early as 3:45 am! The main aim of Malaysia Week in 2024, and every year before that, is for students to grow social-emotional awareness through adventure by disconnecting from their daily routine and all things familiar to realize a new sense of wonder and amazement. With this, their eyes and minds are opened to achievement and success through the nurturing elements of nature. They are encouraged to communicate openly, and with these values, memories are made, friendships are created, and an open-ended approach to learning is realized.

The foundations of the week are built upon the structure of six goals that aim to encourage students to:

  • Learn a new skill or seek knowledge beyond the school curriculum. The opportunities for growth and learning are transformative, practical lessons in teamwork, perseverance, and overcoming obstacles that see students learning how to make fires or undertaking first aid in the wilderness.
  • To enhance knowledge, understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of Malaysia. While engaging in physical activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, or exploring the beaches, students also learn about the environment and Malaysia’s efforts to protect it. This includes the preservation of its rainforests, which are the lungs of the planet, and the conservation of its oceans.
    Interact and cooperate as a team player with peers and adults. Malaysia Week would only exist with its students. They are the core unit that ensures that supporting each other is an experience that creates, shares, and builds memories.
  • Reinforce skills and knowledge learned in the school classroom on a practical level. The six School-Wide Learning Results (SLRs) of thinking creatively, reasoning critically, collaborating constructively, communicating effectively, living ethically, and learning enthusiastically are instilled within the Malaysia Week program. In lessons on goal setting, perseverance, and independent learning, students are reinforced to see other perspectives while uniting to achieve a common goal.
  • Gain an increased sense of independence and responsibility. Returning to a sense of ‘normalcy’ in students’ lives has brought an unforeseen set of life lessons and challenges that are precise to this generation. While their resilience is evident and a positive consequence of the pandemic, there is still a way for students to build independence and feel confident beyond the home environment. Malaysia Week allows our students to renew these critical life skills.
  • Positively experience community living. Malaysia Week’s life-impacting results reflect a student’s return. Their mindset is altered from being individually focused to gaining a sense of achievement in working collectively with a true sense of community.

The MS curriculum provides a platform for students to explore different subjects and develop agency, skills, study habits, and knowledge for their transition into High School (HS).
MS Principal Peter Casey shares the immense benefits that Malaysia Week brings to students, witnessing the value they gain through service learning, outdoor adventure, and skill development, “All MS students are encouraged to find their passions and interests in a learner-driven program, a significant element embedded into Malaysia Week. The authentic, real-world challenges available to them inside and outside the classroom are where your children will grow, learn, and reach their full potential.” Casey mentions how all are encouraged not only to succeed in their academic studies but also to see that success is also found in transforming our world for the betterment of themselves, their communities, and the environment we all share. He adds, “Malaysia Week is a testament to this sentiment, offering Middle School students a renewed sense of hope, optimism, and gratitude for the invaluable aspects of their lives.”

Following is a summary of the destinations that were included in Malaysia Week 2024:

Endau Rompin ‘Call of the Wild’

This is a stunning national park named after the two rivers running through it, situated on the southeastern side of Peninsular Malaysia. The park is home to the Orang Asli tribes, beautiful waterfalls, and a 130 million-year-old rainforest. Students hiked to a spectacular waterfall, navigated the river in a kayak, and engaged in cultural activities with the Orang Asli community, including learning the art of weaving, trap-making, and puzzle crafting. They were also involved in sustainability challenges that considered the impact of development from the viewpoint of villagers, resort developers, and local government.

Gopeng’ Earth Camp

Framed by the majestic limestone cliffs of the Cameron Highlands, Gopeng is a destination full of high ropes, rock climbing, caving, swimming, hiking, and whitewater rafting experiences. It is split into two halves: those seeking an introduction to adventure and those experienced adventurers willing to take it to the next level. The trip is based upon physical challenges that require mental solutions.

Gunung Kutu ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’

Formerly known as ‘Treacher Hill’ in the Selangor District of Malaysia, the hill station connects a 15.3 km bridle path with the township of Kuala Kubu. The fantastic river location offers the best and most local sites in Kuala Lumpur. Here, students learn about the physical and mental challenges of climbing Gungung Kutu, setting them outside their comfort zone and dealing with minimalist survival gear.

Gunung Kutu 'It's a Jungle Out There'

Kelong ‘Something’s Fishy’

Located in the middle of the sea with no land, Kelong has the best catch and cooking. Staying in a free-standing, self-contained platform with open dorm bunk beds, the “reel” excitement was in the fishing!

Kelong 'Something's Fishy'

Langkawi’ Wilderness Adventure’

Tuba Island, part of the Langkawi Island archipelago, hosted a week-long sea and shoreline adventure. A five-hour trek set the standard for the week, leading students into the Pulau Tuba rainforest with a 70 m abseil.

Langkawi' Wilderness Adventure'

Lumut ‘Island Odyssey’

This trip was one water-fuelled adventure after another: thrilling sea kayaking, whitewater rafting, a mangrove boat tour, and snorkeling—followed by land adventures. A week on Pangkor Island entailed students camping on the beach and engaging in conservation efforts regarding turtles and tree saplings. It all proved to be an unforgettable experience!

Lumut 'Island Odyssey'

Pangkor ‘Treasure Island’

Students discovered their inner Robinson Crusoe as they ventured off the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia to spend a week on Pangkor Island. A treasure island awaited them for adventures in orienteering, sea kayaking, trekking, abseiling, tree planting, and beach games. Accommodation included a mix of hotel luxe with students savoring the comfort of a bed before they took a kayaking journey to Segadas Beach and spent a thrilling night camping there.

Pangkor 'Treasure Island'

Penang ‘Pearl of the Orient’

This site called for all creatives and artists in pursuit of discovering the wonders of Penang; amidst a blend of urban and cultural pursuits, the itinerary included an exhilarating race along Penang Road to uncover gastronomic delights, as well as an immersion in the charm and architecture of Georgetown. Students learned more about the city’s UNESCO history through traditional and heritage activities. They even ventured further afield to explore the beach and local rainforests to enjoy a week of adventure and cultural wonder.

Penang 'Pearl of the Orient'

Pulau Acheh ‘Survivor Island’

Otherwise known as Survivor Island, Pulau Acheh taught students how to ‘survive.’ They participated in boot camps that taught them kitchen knife work, bushcraft, axe, saw, parang handling, hammock making, knot tying, chopstick, spoon, and cup whittling, all mixed with island adventure.

Pulau Acheh 'Survivor Island'

Pulau Lang Tengah ‘Discovery Dive’

For students without a PADI license, this experience involved swimming, snorkeling, and participating in a Discovery Dive in the crystal blue waters of the Perhentian Islands.

Pulau Lang Tengah 'Discovery Dive'

Pulau Perhentian Discovery Dive

Students developed an appreciation for the wonders of the Perhentian Islands by experiencing its culture and encountering its underwater world. They built upon their water confidence and safety while learning about eco-snorkeling and identifying various fish and coral species.

Pulau Perhentian Discovery Dive

Pulau Perhentian ‘Turtle Ecoteer’

A true nature lover’s destination, the students’ journey started in Cherating, with their first night on the beach before traveling to Pulau Perhentian Kecil. They engaged with the Turtle Ecoteer Program to learn about sea turtles and coral restoration. They also had time to enjoy the beach, participate in snorkeling experiences, kayak, hike, and jetty jump.

Pulau Perhentian 'Turtle Ecoteer'

Pulau Rawa ‘Turning the Tides’

Located in the South China Sea, this gem of an island was a site for students who wanted to swim, snorkel, and kayak among the beautiful Malaysian coral reefs.

Pulau Rawa 'Turning the Tides'

Pulau Redang ‘Diver’s Den’

The prerequisite for students choosing this site was a love of the ocean, a passion for the fantastic underwater habitat that surrounds the island, and a PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Certification. The itinerary provided a framework for students to not only improve upon their diving skills but also participate in reef restoration activities to gain an understanding of the role of underwater naturalists.

Pulau Redang 'Diver's Den'

Pulau Tenggol ‘Scubadoobadoo’

This challenging site appealed to Advanced PADI Open Water (AOW) Scuba Diving certified students who were required to undergo a dive refresher course and skills test to ensure their readiness. Pulau Tenggol is well known for its deep waters, which are ideal for shelf dives. It offers many opportunities to observe sea life and provides students with an incredible week of underwater adventure.

Pulau Tenggol 'Scubadoobadoo'

Pulau Tioman Diver’s Paradise

The marine life and underwater world of Tioman was a wonder that students explored on a ‘deeper’ level. Under expert guidance, they dived into the crystal-clear waters for an unforgettable experience that developed their diving skills to become true ocean ambassadors.

Pulau Tioman Diver's Paradise

Pulau Tioman Discovery Dive

The wonder and diversity of Tioman Island offered students a range of reef-to-rainforest experiences. The trip enabled them to alternate between snorkeling off the coast into vibrant coral reefs and trekking through lush rainforests, providing unmatched interactive learning in the classroom.

Pulau Tioman Discovery Dive

Sungai Kampar ‘Source to Summit’

This challenging site was an intense five days for students as they participated in various activities, including mountain biking, caving, whitewater rafting, abseiling, and hiking. Starting in the Perak Hills, they united as a team to navigate challenging terrains and showed endurance and resilience in the intensity of physical activity. The students enjoyed the welcome reward of the sea on their last day with the opportunity to rejuvenate themselves and their muscles!

Sungai Kampar 'Source to Summit'

Taman Negara ‘Into the Wild’

This lodge-stay site was filled with adventurous activities that ensured students stepped out of their comfort zones, such as rock climbing, tubing, hilltop walking, and hiking. A day spent with the Orang Asli, they taught them traditional jungle survival skills, including the art of fire-making, shelter building, and blow-dart shooting!

Taman Negara 'Into the Wild'

Tasik Kenyir ‘Kayak Kaleidoscope’

Residing on a houseboat is an adventure. However, this exploratory site also gave students an exciting week immersed in nature. A freshwater kayaking experience, encountering waterfalls, and the thrill of fishing for the rare Toman fish fuelled water lovers. Students interested in conservation and ecology visited an elephant sanctuary amidst the lush, dense forests of Tasik Kenyir.

Tasik Kenyir 'Kayak Kaleidoscope'

Kuala Lumpur ‘Adventure is Out There’

This site was established for a small group of ISKL students with compelling reasons to remain closer to home. The fluid, localized itinerary accommodated recently ill and injured students or those who required more emotional support. The focus was on maintaining a balance between cultural, outdoor, service learning, and artistic endeavors that enabled students to return home each night.

Kuala Lumpur 'Adventure is Out There'

You might be interested in reading...

[wd_asp id=1]

Communication Updates

Latest update: October 26

  • Early Childhood, Life-Centered Education (LCE), Grade 10, 11 and 12
    On Campus Learning from October 25

  • Grade 1, 2, 3 and 9
    On Campus Learning from November 1

  • Grade 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8
    On Campus Learning from November 8
Inquire Now