The Price of Interim

As the month of February rolls around, there is a slight change in the chatter that fills the SAS cafeteria. Students are no longer found complaining about their upcoming tests or their busy schedules; conversations all surround the same topic: Interim semester.

Sickness, injury, or a freak accident can drastically change a student’s experience overseas

Interim semester is actually a single week during the month of February where high school students are given the opportunity to explore different cultures and activities, whether that means traveling outside of Singapore’s borders, or staying at home.

A group of juniors and single senior, Meredith, chose to go to Tanzania, an opportunity that would not have been given without Interim Semester.

Every year, all high school students look forward to this week of excitement. However, once in awhile, disaster can strike, bringing a student’s fun-filled adventure to a sudden halt.

Sickness, injury, or a freak accident can drastically change a student’s experience overseas, inhibiting them from participating in many activities. Having gotten sick myself this last interim, I had a slightly different interim experience than the average student, one that consisted of runs to the doctor, long naps, and phone calls home. While my friends were speeding down the ski slopes, I spent two days at the ski lodge watching T.V. and playing cards with my fellow (equally sick) travel mates, struggling to regain enough strength to join my friends on the mountain the next day. Unfortunately, my experience on interim was not shared alone. Many students on the recent fell sick or got injured, hindering their ability to experience interim to the fullest.

Shane Yem and Claire Berggren, both seniors, were victims of freak accidents and severe sickness over interim. During the third day of the extremely popular “Mountains of Japan” skiing trip, Shane experienced a massive fall after attempting to land a jump off of a ramp, resulting in a “torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus.” Claire, on the other hand, fell severely sick while in Morocco. “I came into the trip on antibiotics for Mycoplasma and left the trip with food poisoning” Claire explained. “I woke up in the middle of the night and spent the entire night looking at the bathroom wall. I was throwing up constantly.”

Shane and friends hanging out in the snow prior to his injury.

Both Shane and Claire received hospital treatment. Claire was rushed to the hospital, where she received brand new medicine and rested for 12 hours. This caused her to miss her flight back home to Singapore. Claire described her treatment as nothing short of amazing. “The teachers and doctors were really nice and the medication given helped me feel so much better.”

Shane, on the other hand, had less dramatic experience. After his fall, he was driven to the hospital, where the doctor gave him painkillers and a diagnosis on his leg. While he stated that the teachers were nothing short of spectacular, Shane had a bit of concern with his hospital treatment. “No one could change the outcome due to the circumstances, but I wish I had a doctor with a bit more experience, as they missed out on identifying a big ligament that I had torn (Shane’s ACL).”

Claire immersing herself in Moroccan culture prior to falling sick.

Shane and Claire’s sickness and injury had a major effect on what they were able to do on the trip. Claire had trouble enjoying herself while exploring Morocco’s souks, as she felt “lightheaded the entire time,” causing her to come home early.  In order to avoid vomiting, Claire thought it best NOT to try the various Moroccan foods that other students were enjoying. Similarly, Shane was unable to join his classmates in their main interim activity: skiing. Being an avid skier all of his life, Shane was quite disappointed. Despite his outcome, he “still had a blast,” as his time spent in the lodge with friends were still filled with fun memories. Claire was quick to point out that, although she got quite ill, she wouldn’t change her trip to Morocco for the world. Even though some students were not able to experience interim to the full extent, they were able to make the most out of their situations.

Author: Kathryn Wilson

Kathryn Wilson is a senior and a first year reporter for The Eye. She has been at SAS since kindergarten and has lived in Singapore for her entire life. If she’s not locked in her room studying, Kathryn can be found exploring cultural parts of Singapore, dancing with her friends, or embarrassing herself. Kathryn can be contacted at

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