How did I get here?


This activity is a reworking of the ‘Sharing the personal journey’ activity. Rather than being aimed at group reflection for team-building, this version of the activity aims to help students think through key points/decisions that have led them to where they are now, and their choice to be involved in an ICBSL activity. The questions are aimed at helping students develop and awareness of their positionality, assumptions and values. It can be used as a pre-departure exercise.

Aims and outcomes of this session

Reflective practice and self-knowledge are key to successful ICBSL activities. In order for students to both contribute meaningfully to a partner’s objectives, and to learn through the experience, understanding the assumptions, values and positionality that they bring with them is essential.


  • 30-40 minutes


  • Pen and paper

The process


  1. Ask students to draw a river on a piece of paper. The river represents the course of their life so far, beginning with their birth and childhood, and continuing up to the present moment.
  2. Ask students to think of each bend in the river as a pivotal moment in their lives. At each of these moments, students should note what caused the bend (e.g. a conscious choice, a chance encounter, an accident, etc.) and what influenced them if this was a decision (e.g. family, education, mentor figure, culture, personal values). Note that rivers might also diverge (a complete change in direction), pass over rapids (obstacles) and be dammed (points of stagnation).
  3. Ask students to think about how the sum of these pivotal moments has led them to their decision to undertake an ICBSL activity. Then ask students to think about what this tells them about their positionality, their assumptions and their values, and how this may impact upon their activity.
  4. Ask students to share these insights if they are willing to do so.