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Internationalisation Programme

Overview on Internationalisation Programme 2019

At Hougang Secondary School, we believe in educating our students beyond the classrooms. Our students need to be ready for future challenges and overseas learning journey is a good learning platform for students to develop global awareness and cross-cultural skills and sensitivities.

In 2019, the school will be conducting 7 trips for our Secondary 3 students and these trips will be to countries in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and China during the May, October and November period. Students who have not travelled with the school will be given priority. The school will subsidise 50% of the cost for Singaporean students who have not travelled with the school before to encourage them to participate in these trips.


City/ Country of Visit

Date of Travel

Duration of trip

Estimated Cost


Chiang Mai, Thailand

27-31 May




Xi’an, China

27-31 May




Hanoi,  Vietnam

27-31 May




Hong Kong

28-31 May




Phuket, Thailand

29 Oct – 1 Nov




Penang, Malaysia

29 Oct – 1 Nov




Nanjing, China

July/Nov 2019

(Dates TBC)



Overseas Learning Journey to Penang, Malaysia

A group of 24 students and 4 teachers from HS Symphonic Band and Angklung and Gamelan CCA embarked on a trip to Penang, Malaysia, from 21 to 24 October 2018. Intended as a musical and cultural immersion programme, our Hougeans gained greater understanding of culture and heritage of Penang as well as exposure to music programmes of two local schools.


Diving right into the trip with a service learning experience at St Joseph’s Home, a local orphanage, our Hougeans conducted a music outreach programme. They put together a music workshop, imparting basic music theory and knowledge as well as facilitating hands-on activities centred around various band and angklung instruments. Ariana Yap, a student participant of the trip, shared, “We were glad to see that they were enthusiastic when it got to their turn to have a go at the instruments. They were eager to try out every instrument and we could clearly see that some of them were passionate about music. That most definitely made us eager to share even more of our knowledge of music.” It was certainly an enriching experience and one that pushed our students out of their comfort zones. 



The next day began with a visit to two local schools. Heng Ee High School hosted the HS Symphonic Band while St George's Girls’ School hosted the Angklung & Gamelan CCA. The groups received extremely warm hospitality from the host schools and were engaged in meaningful exchanges with both the students and staff of there. Neo Pei Yi from Band commented that the music exchange programme was enriching and gave her the chance to experience how it was like to play in a much larger and stronger band. Learning the value of each player and how one’s efforts and contributions can affect the overall sound quality of the band inspired her to carry that same attitude of excellence and discipline back in HS. 




The final part of the trip, through Days 2 to 4, focused on immersing our Hougeans into the culture of Penang. This included a tour around Georgetown where individuals reached a deeper appreciation of the famous wall murals along the streets, a ride on the funicular tram up Bukit Bandera (also known as Penang Hill) to appreciate the construction feat that made the breath-taking view of the city accessible to all, a visit to a batik factory to learn more about the process of batik making as well as try their hands at dying their own fabric as well as a stroll along the tropical spice garden to discover the more about the natural herbs in our environment.



The trip to Penang left every individual with a multitude of lessons and takeaways. Aliyah shared that it was a definite eye-opener and incredible experience for her. When she was touring the streets, it dawned on her that history fills every crack and line, and it was interesting to hear of the amazing things that happened back in the days at the very spot that she was standing now on.

Indeed was it a fruitful and experience-filled four days for all! 

Overseas Learning Journey to Siem Reap, Cambodia

A group of thirty-three students from Secondary Three and four teachers visited Siem Reap in Cambodia from 15 to 19 May 2018. It was the first trip to Cambodia for many of them. They were excited to meet the students from Prolet Primary School as they had spent two months preparing for lessons and activities with the Cambodian students. During their visit at Prolet Primary School, HS students taught the primary school children simple English words and phrases, carried out simple art and craft lessons and played games with them. Between conducting lessons, HS students also learnt how to build a fence for the school. All 33 Hougeans embodied and demonstrated what it means to be a GRIT ambassador of HS!

During the trip, HS students also delved deep into the rich history of Cambodia during our visit to a war museum, a killing field and temples in the Angkor Archaeological Site including UNESCO World Heritage site, Angkor Wat. Our Hougeans braved the temple ruins and had a meaning time exploring Cambodia’s ancient past. They definitely gained a newfound respect for the hardships that the Cambodian people had suffered. 

Overall, this overseas learning journey has allowed the students to gain meaningful interactions as well as forge strong friendship with one another. As the students reflected about their experiences, all of them concurred that this trip has challenged them to adopt a more purposeful outlook to learning and life. 

Overseas Learning Journey to Xi’an, China

40 students and 4 teachers embarked on a memorable learning Journey to Xi’an, China during the post-exam period in May 2018. The Xi’an, China trip was truly an eye-opening experience for many students. Through the visits to the various historical and cultural attractions, students experienced the local lifestyle and developed a sense of appreciation for the rich Chinese Heritage. One key highlight of the trip was the school exchange programme to Xi’an 99th Middle School. Through the school visit, our students forged friendships with their buddies and experienced school life of a typical student in Xi’an. During the trip, our students also participated in various hands-on activities such as paper cutting lesson, tile rubbing activity and dumpling making activity. Many of these were first-time experiences for our students, but they participated actively and did well.

It was indeed an insightful and unforgettable experience. Our Hougeans learnt many valuable life lessons and brought back memories that would last for a long time to come. Here’s what some of them have to say!

Reiko Tham Lek Kuan (Sec 3E2):
The Xi'an Trip was a new and unique experience to me. What I enjoyed the most about the trip was the visit to the Xi'an 99th Middle School for the school exchange programme. I had the opportunity to learn about the education system of China. The China and Singapore's education system are different in some ways. For example, In China, students take at least 12 subjects for lessons and their curriculum hours are longer. During the Xi'an 99th Middle School exchange programme, we were introduced to 2 buddies who accompanied us during the school exchange. We were both extremely shy when we were first introduced to each other. But after our introduction, we started chatting like old pals. We exchanged our WeChat account and are still connected even after the trip. Overall, I think this trip was enjoyable and a good learning experience for me to learn things that cannot be found in the textbooks and are different from Singapore. I would like to thank the school for the opportunity to allow me to attend this overseas trip.

Au Eong Tian Sheng Ryan (Sec 3E1):
Overall, this trip has provided me with a very enlightening, insightful and unique experience whereby I can see, feel and experience for myself information which I could only glean from books and the internet previously. I was also able to gain life skills, acquire responsibility and appreciate little advantages that I take for granted in Singapore, such as being able to drink water directly from the tap. Apart from gaining personal insights and acquiring life skills, I also got to know my teachers and friends much better. Such an opportunity is hard to come by in our daily life of rushing to schools, trying to complete assignments, and preparing for tests and exams.

Giggs Ong Zheng Yu (Sec 3E1):
The Xi'an china trip was a new and interesting experience for me. I learnt many new things and I got the chance to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. What I enjoyed the most was the trip to the Terracotta Museum. It is one of the most famous tourist attraction in China and I would never imagine being able to see the attraction in real life. During the visit, I learnt that farmers actually discovered the terracotta warriors while trying to look for water. I also learnt that each and every terracotta warrior is uniquely built with no repeated designs. Overall, the trip to China has been great for me as I got the chance to make new friends and also bond with my classmates while learning about the china culture and heritage. During the trip, I also found out that I must cherish my friends such as my roommates as my roommates actually helped me a lot and we had a lot of fun together.

Overseas Learning Journey to Hanoi, Vietnam

A group of 29 students and 4 teachers from Hougang Secondary School embarked on a journey to Hanoi, Vietnam from the 20th-24th of October. Through this trip, our Hougeans gained an insight into Vietnam’s cultural heritage and at the same time brought them to the remote district of Mai Chau where they experienced living in a homestay before interacting with students from a local primary school!

 As they made their way through vibrant streets of Hanoi on Day 1, our Hougeans were given the opportunity to visit various well-known landmarks which included Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Old Quarter. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum provided students with an opportunity to learn more about Vietnam’s history while the Old Quarter provided them with the opportunity to interact with locals as they bargained while shopping! All in all, Day 1 allowed the students to plunge into Vietnam’s rich and vibrant culture.

On Day 2, students made their way to Chuong My Village and later to Bat Trang Pottery Village. At these locations, students tried their hand at Bamboo Weaving and Pottery Making. Despite the challenging nature of the tasks, the students tried their best and the results were simply stunning examples of bamboo weaves and clay pots! These activities also served as platforms for the students to forge stronger friendships as they tried various techniques in their several attempts at perfecting their craft! Day 2 continued to provide students with the opportunity to further immerse themselves into Vietnam’s culture.

On Day 3 and 4, the students were given the opportunity to interact with the local students at Mai Hįch Primary School. This was a truly an eye-opening experience for our Hougeans as they witnessed the joy of learning from these primary school children. The children from Mai Hich Primary School were extremely excited and had the hunger to learn through the various activities planned for them. Upon reflection, our Hougeans felt that these children were very grateful for the little things in life and this propelled all of them to realise the importance of appreciating the smaller and simpler things in life.

All in all, the trip to Vietnam stood as an opportunity to grow our Hougeans' knowledge about the culture of a foreign land and grow as human beings through cultural immersion and service learning.


On 21st October 2018, a group of 34 students from six sports CCA (Floorball, Football, Netball, Basketball, Wushu and Judo) and 5 teachers travelled to Phuket, Thailand for their Overseas Learning Journey.  What made this trip different from others is that it provided them with opportunities to initiate, plan and execute meaningful sports related service learning. For majority of the students, it was their first time visiting Phuket and they were eager to learn more about the culture and the lifestyle of the Thai people. 

Before the trip, the group had three sessions of planning and preparation for the activities and games. These sessions were rare opportunities for them to work with friends from other sports CCA. The group decided to organize a Sports Day for the Youth Football Home Foundation, one of the school that they visited.

2.jpgOn the first day of the trip, the group visited the Youth Football Home Foundation - a loving home where the local children receive their education while enjoying daily football coaching and training from fully qualified coaches. This was a great opportunity to get to know the children through playing games, interactions and activities that they have prepared. This visit was also 3.jpg
used to recce the area and ensured safety of the space available to host the Sports Day on 
the third day. In the evening, the group went to Phuket FantaSea, a wonderful complex of amusement park that covers cuisine, entertainment and shopping with the main theme of traditional Thailand. After enjoying the elaborated dinner, they attended a Thai cultural show known as Fantasy of a Kingdom. This spectacular show was a Las Vegas style Thai cultural show infused with cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art show elements.

4.jpgThe next day started off with a learning journey to HeadStart International School to immerse in the sports school experience. The school was amazing as it has first class sports facilities such as the huge gymnasium and Olympic-sized swimming pool which allow a diverse sporting curriculum to be offered to the students there.  At the end of the visit, HS students played in friendly games with students from the hosting school to 5.jpg
widen the Hougeans’ sporting exposure. In the afternoon, they visited the 
Big Buddha Temple located at the peak of Nakkerd Hill, where they connected with nature and learn to appreciate traditional and religious practices which aligns with school value of ‘Respect’. Phuket's Big Buddha is 45m tall and one of the most important and revered landmarks on the island. The whole body was constructed with reinforced concrete, layered with beautiful Burmese white jade marble that shines in the sun. The views at the hilltop were stunning and breathtaking!

6.jpgOn the 3rd day, as soon as they arrived at the Youth Football Home Foundation, they sprang into action with excitement, executing all the games planned for the Sports Day for the local students. It was an unforgettable experience for them as they came together from various sports CCAs and created a memorable day of fun for the children. This platform further strengthened the trust the group had with one another since they started out from the planning stages. From this experience and interaction with the children, they learnt to be more grateful for all the opportunities they had back in HS and 7.jpg
Singapore. After the sports day, 
the excitement continued as they visited the Muay Thai training camp, kno
wn as Phuket Top Team. Muay Thai is a martial art that originated from Thailand. The group was very fortunate to be trained by the world legendary fighter, Mr Lerdsila who won the World Championship title 5 times. Despite being exhausted, the Hougeans demonstrated GRIT and persevered throughout the training.

8.jpgOn the last day of the trip, they had a thrilling outdoor activity known as Zorbing Rollerball. This activity generated massive adrenaline and excitement as the students descended the 190m hill inside a three-metre diameter flexible plastic ball. This was also a perfec t opportunity to apply their knowledge learnt in Physical Health & Fitness (PHF) lessons such as balance and coordination as well as teamwork as they maneuver from one point to another down the sloping route. Oh they had so much fun! Just before they head back to the airport for the flight home, they visited the Upside Down House Museum where they challenged their perspectives and put on their ‘ingenuity hat’ to take attractive photos that looked disorientating yet funny and creative. This visit inspired them to look at everyday objects from a different lens.

Overall, this Overseas Learning Journey has enabled the students to gain much from the meaningful interactions with the Thai counterparts as well as forge stronger friendships within the group of Sports CCA students.