Voices (ISL Stories)

CAS Voice - Class of 2023

Marcus, Class of 2023 graduate, volunteer firefighter, and musician, reflects on his two years of Creativity, Activity, Service at ISL.

Examples of Marcus’s CAS experiences and project:
Volunteer with Playing drums in his band, volunteer firefighter training, launching a blog about food and society, attending the gym regularly, Krav Maga training

Marcus, which of your CAS experiences has meant the most to you personally and why?
For me, the most fulfilling has been playing the drums in my band. It allowed me to go not only improve on an instrument that I enjoy playing but also allowed for creative expression in song writing. But, in all honesty, the live shows were by far the most fun and impactful and helped me with planning, overcoming stage fright, as well as other skills.

Which of your CAS experiences presented you with the greatest challenges?
I volunteer at the “Centre d'incendie et de secours” in Kopstal as a part of the CGDIS* organization here in Luxembourg. Since the beginning of 11th grade, I have undergone approximately 140 hours of training on weekends to become a volunteer firefighter, including courses CIS I, SAP I, and FIS I at various fire stations in Luxembourg. This training was in addition to participating in training that occurs for 90 minutes every Tuesday. I am now able to volunteer and have been putting my name on the roster to be called as a first responder or firefighter to interventions in the Kopstal-Bridel area.

I would definitely say that this was by far the most challenging CAS experience that I did. I have done over 140 hours of training courses on weekends for my certifications, taking up so much time at one point in 11th grade when I was struggling to get both schoolwork and my training done simultaneously. All the official documentation of the CGDIS is in French. All of the slideshows and information printouts given throughout the training were in German. And more challenging still, the people during the training courses -especially the instructors- only ever spoke Luxembourgish, which is a language that I don’t speak. As a result, I wasn’t able to understand everything being said during the training, causing me to struggle especially in the SAP test. I was still able to pass but I would definitely only recommend this experience to people fluent in Luxembourgish. 

Let me now explain some of the positive aspects of this experience: I am now a legitimate volunteer firefighter and first responder here in Luxembourg. I have comprehensive first-aid training that will serve me well throughout my life. I also learned to understand a lot more Luxembourgish, and got a much better understanding of Luxembourg’s culture, something that I never got going to an international school. I am very happy that I did this experience regardless of the struggles and I’m glad to now be a first responder to go on interventions that happen in my community. 

Did you undertake an experience that you would not otherwise have had the opportunity or motivation to do? If so, do you feel this has been a valuable experience and why?
Normally, I would never have done a CAS project. We created a blog around food and various related issues (such as prison food, obesity, eating disorders). However, I’m glad I did it because I not only learned about different foods, cultures, and global issues but I also was able to research a topic that I thoroughly enjoy, which is cooking.

How do you think you have demonstrated engagement with issues of global significance through your CAS programme?
Volunteering at the fire station allowed me to directly contribute to my local commune, I have learned a lot about Luxembourg and its culture, but also about how emergency services work across the world as well.  My CAS project also allowed me to research global issues, opening a discussion on how to address these, as well as learning about foreign cultures and cuisine.

Have any aspects of your CAS programe helped to prepare you for higher education or your working life in the future?
Yes, the fire station has given me a solid foundation of first aid which will be useful as I plan of working in a medical field in the future. My band has taught me networking and planning skills. The gym has taught me discipline, and how to take care of my health. All in all, I would say I gained a lot from doing CAS.

*CGDIS  Corps grand-ducal d’incendie et de secours – Luxembourg’s Fire and Rescue Service  CGDIS website

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