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Jason Ang from Malaysia reminiscences ISS 2015

International Sustainability School 2015 is one of the most experiential learning and training I have been through. It was an extraordinary journey, a self-discovery trek, a skill building workshop, a hub to find like-minded lifetime friends, an opportunity to connect to nature, an experience with communities and a place to ignite ideas and inspiration.

July, NEPAL, 3th – 12th July 2015 – traveled to Nepal to attend International Sustainability School together with another 9 awesome participants from Serbia, Mauritius, Egypt, India, United States, Japan and Nepal.

I have been selected from over 500 applications across 58 countries and I have been granted 60% scholarship to attend the program in Nepal, the top of the world. International Sustainability School is an annual program under Hands-On Institute co-founded by two Nepalese men, Mr Bijay Poudel and Mr Samrat Katwal. For more information about the institute, please log on the link http://www.onceinlife.org/

International Sustainability School 2015 is 10-days long sustainability training program designed to equip individuals with concrete sustainability skills, international network, green ideas and inspiration. International Sustainability School 2015 is one of the most experiential learning and training I have been through. It was an extraordinary journey, a self-discovery trek, a skill building workshop, a hub to find like-minded lifetime friends, an opportunity to connect to nature, an experience with communities and a place to ignite ideas and inspiration. It brings together young change-makers from around the globe to become sustainability leaders called Sustainability Fellows by offering them motivation, training ideas, inculcating skills and knowledge, and providing a team in an picturesque environment.

I also came to the earthquake site where I have seen residential buildings and heritage sites damaged. I deeply understood the power of natural disaster and how weak we are behind the comfortable modernize life. I felt in the bottom of heart a sense of self-aware and self-appreciate by witnessing the earthquake site in Nepal.

Interestingly, the program was divided to three significant phase embracing Phase Learn, Phase Feel and Phase Be. First phase is LEARN, starting with a fun-filled icebreakers,orientation, expectations sharing. I learned concrete skills from experts and organizations about sustainability such as Birthday Forest and Cycle City. Next, I also participated in skill development workshops like Conceptualizing Sustainability, Sustainability Mapping, Sustainability Shots, Cultural payoffs, choice editing and organizational observations among others. This phase allowed participants to break into group related to sustainability themes respectively and be more team-working to achieve the choice we work on.

Second phase is FEEL, which enveloped 5-resourceful days filled with tools for Sustainability Fellows to help inspire connection with the local community and nature by using simple techniques in outdoor and community settings. Together with other fellows, we embarked into a rural community to absorb the knowledge, reality and wisdom present there.We trekked to our host village where we lived like the locals, knew about their issues and contributed to their cause. We explored the impact of the outer world on the host village. The thematic teams conducted idea shops in partnership with the host community. Furthermore, we worked on sustainability service as well as document sustainability practices. Different learning modules like Ask Nature, Reflect Art, outdoor games, Solo Self have been conducted to make the learning journey more fruitful and engaged. We then trek to Kathmandu.

The third phase is BE. Once back to Kathmandu, we have two intensive days of reflection, summarization, action planning and documentation. Facilitated by an expert, we build our experience, energy and zeal into a project that we can share and carry on for the rest of our life. It was impressive that we have one-to-one communication and emotional expression to each other on the last day. I was really fortunate to connect with great people with great mind throughout the course of program. I also promised to invite them to my future coffee shop for a reunion.

Herewith a self-made poem to conclude my feelings in these beautiful words and wonderful emotion. Thank you.
“Earth without flowers is not beautiful;
Life without adventure is not fruitful;
World without people is not wonderful;
Nepal is a wonderful country;
Lake remains on the earth peacefully;
Mountains lie on the land wonderfully;
Every country has a history;
Everyone has their own story;
Modern people have too much to worry;
Life changes occasionally;
Every year is a different calendar;
Every age is different stage;
Everything has the little something;
That is simplicity, sincerity and beauty;
And I knew;
With new places & new things;
With new friends & new memories;
I would never ever forget Nepal, top of the world;
The feeling is just more than words.”