BIS Blog

As in past years, students stayed at the Sunrise Hotel. The programme was led by the very capable and highly regarded John and Chrissy Minogue of the Water Rescue training organisation called SPORA. Grade 11 students engaged in a water safety and rescue course run by SPORA with opportunities to attain Basic Lifeguard certification. There were physical and written examinations at the conclusion of the programme. 

There was also opportunity for recreational water activities at Citumang river (exploring the water cave system), and at Batu Karas (surfing and boogey boarding).  All water activities were supervised by SPORA as well as BIS staff. Students also engaged in IB Diploma Programme activities including Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay, and CAS work.

All meals, except for breakfast, were catered by Chrissy Minogue. Meals were a combination of Western and Asian diets, portions are plentiful and extremely delicious, just what hungry teenagers needed after spending time in the surf.

Heavy rain has made Pangandaran not too hot.

Regular Programme Included:

  • SPORA Water & Surf Safety Course
  • Day trips to Batu Karas/Citumang
  • Extended Essay Workshops
  • Theory of Knowledge Workshops
  • Beach barbeque
  • Souvenir hunting





Day 1

Students had an exciting first day leaving Bandung and flying to Medan. After a delicious lunch they headed to The Haven, a rehabilitation center for orangutans. The site is a beautiful island in the middle of a river. While the orangutans had not yet arrived, the students enjoyed hiking through the jungle and identifying many plants and fruits, and learning about bamboo and orangutans. They then drove up into the mountains near Berastagi where we checked into our hotel. After a nice dinner and more activities students were all exhausted and went to sleep. The swimmers got up at 5:00am for training. 

Day 2

It was a full and challenging day in Berastagi.  The students began the day with a visit to a senior high school in Sibolangit where the students played games and visited with the local students.  Then they went off to a retreat center for an exciting high ropes activity, river hike and some challenging games. Students were encouraged to step outside their comfort zones and push themselves to overcome their fears. While they were scared, they bravely persevered and completed the activities, and even had a great time doing it.

Day 3

Another fun day with the students here in northern Sumatra. They left Berastagi early in the morning and headed off to Lake Toba. They took a boat to the island and enjoyed the beautiful views. One of the afternoon activities included building rafts and racing the rafts to a checkpoint. While some rafts were more successful than others, a great time was had by all.

Day 4

The students visited some interesting cultural sites including Simanindo village where they watched some amazing dance performances, and then they went to Sidabutar King's tomb and a Batak museum. They finished the day at Ambarita where they learned about how criminals were judged, jailed, tortured, executed and eaten! Naturally the students were fascinated to hear about these ancient cultural practices. They saw how people lived and learned a lot about Batak culture.  The students finished up the day with performances of their own based on inspiration gained from the day's activities. 



Day 1:

We woke up at 3.30am to the airport and off to Denpasar, Bali at 6.30am. After touchdown, we went on a boat ride to Lombok for about 2 hours. Some of us decided to stay on top of the boat and got horribly burnt by the sun.

Fei Fung, grade 8 student

Day 2:

Today we were separated into diving groups, advanced and open water. For many of us it was the first time diving, we spent few hours learning skills in the pool. For the rest who have been here, they were the "expertish" so they went to the ocean today. We got up in the morning and had breakfast together, in the afternoon we went out and roamed around the island and saw baby sea turtles at the turtle conservation.

Fei Fung, grade 8 student

Day 3:

Not only was the last time the open water group had pool sessions but also the first time the advanced group went on a night dive. While the advanced groups were doing night dives many of us went around the island riding bikes. The advanced divers saw 5 sharks and glowing planktons. The stars were beautiful. It was a really squishy and exciting adventure.

Day 4:

The open water divers did their very first dive in the vast ocean. It was extra-ordinary, they went to Halik; one of the most beautiful dive site in Gili Trawangan. They saw various species of marine life, including 8 turtles and colourful coral reefs. Meanwhile, the advanced divers had graduated from Open Water to Advanced and are currently making their certifications. The first dive we went on this surprisingly sunny day,-since the weather forecast did, indeed, indicate that it was meant to rain today- was a trip to Shark Point, where we used Nitrox as our supply of air instead of the usual Oxygen. The next dive was located in Halik; the same dive spot where the Open Water divers had gone, but at a different time. There, we saw two black tip reef sharks, three massive bumphead parrotfish, one camouflaged scorpion fish, one octopus, and two sea turtles -one of which Yi Jen nearly kicked with her enormous fins while descending. 

For dinner, the group went out as a whole and walked/cycled to a restaurant called 'The Broken Compass'. There, we ate a hearty meal and jumped in the pool to have a joyous time. After dinner, we watched a heated game of ping pong featuring Mr. Russell and Ica versus Ariel and Victor (one of the Dive Instructors from Manta Dive). After that, we headed to our cabins and said goodnight to everyone. 

Yanda and Sasha, grade 8 students


This tour offered a chance to see the 3 most important cities of the Yangtze Delta: Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou. Connected by bullet train, enjoyed ancient and modern Shanghai, cruised on the romantic and heavenly West Lake, and strolled through ancient Chinese culture in Suzhou gardens and Wuzhen Watertown.


Shanghai - explored Shanghai (Nanjing rd and people's park, shanghai museum, yuyuan garden, bund, Shanghai Tower, Cruising on the river, Urban planning Center, Former Concession – Xin Tian Di, acrobatic show, Silk Road restaurant and performance.

Suzhou - visited the Golden Cock Lake, Museum, Silk Factory, Zen Garden, Hanshan Temple, Tiger Hill and enjoyed the Suzhou Opera. 

Wuzhen - Its 1,300-year history, with its ancient lanes, centuries-old stone houses and arched bridges, make it one of China’s top ancient water towns south of the Yangtze River.

Hanzhou - The city is a noted ancient capital of China and is famed for West Lake and Grand Canal. A new city was built based on the site of the prefecture government of Hangzhou during the Sui and Tang (618-907) dynasties. The 2016 G20 Hangzhou summit was held on 4–5 September 2016 in the city of Hangzhou. Alibaba Group is a Chinese e-commerce company that provides Founded in Hangzhou. 

Visited West Lake, Longjing Tea Village, Alibaba campus, enjoyed the Dynasty Song Show. Traveled by High Speed Train (350KM / per hour) back to Shanghai.