On a Round Square service safari with Aaron Kwak

19 Feb 2024

Year 12 student Aaron Kwak has recently returned from Thailand after participating in a Round Square International Service Project centred on elephants and the environment.

During the summer holidays, he joined an international team of 59 students from Round Square schools from six continents to build a community elephant education centre and hornbill nest boxes, along with gathering data on the local elephant population.

As part of the environmental team, Aaron focused on the conservation aspect of the service project, building hornbill nests and going on elephant safaris to gather data about identification, behaviour, and herd demographics.

“I had the best time ever,” he says of his conservation project. “I made friends for life that I will keep in touch with. It was awesome and eye-opening to be immersed in so many different cultures. This cultural diversity really helped to bring fresh perspectives and solutions to problems we had. Despite our differences, one thing I can definitely say is that all teenagers around the world hate getting up early. Working together with like-minded youth passionate to make a difference was a pleasure.”

During his trip, Aaron also visited Wat Pho – a famous temple that features marble illustrations and inscriptions on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage – during a ‘cultural day’ organised by the Round Square staff.

The personal development gained from his service trip has left an impression on Aaron.

“The teachers constantly give us opportunities to lead and take the initiative,” he says. “For example, we all take turns leading our groups. Furthermore, there were sessions on the Round Square IDEALS (Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership, Service) every few days.

“However, just working in a team towards a common purpose and getting to know each other well along the way also helped me to grow as a person, alongside the leadership training. I have become more appreciative of diverse cultures, more considerate of others, more environmentally focused, more adventurous, a better leader, and more disposed towards service and helping others.

“In short, thanks to Round Square, I have become more of an independent and well-rounded individual committed to making a difference wherever I am – whether this be in a smaller setting like my immediate community or a larger scale like this service project.”