The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a global programme offered at BISP that aims to equip young people for life. There are four required components of this award: voluntary service, skill, physical recreation and the adventurous journey. Below is a student reflection written by BISP Year 10 student, Miyuka on her experience towards attaining the DoE International Award.
Frankly, in the beginning, I contemplated whether or not to sign up. However, reflecting back on the three adventurous weekends, I am truly glad I did. Participating in this programme created long-lasting memories and made me closer to my friends over time.
On the first training weekend, all of us were overwhelmed with mixed feelings about everything. We soon realised how much food we overpacked and how we needed way more shirts. Some of us, including myself, were still trying to paddle correctly whilst others were struggling to light a match.
The second time we went everything went much smoother and we were all equipped in a much better manner. We were all getting the hang of paddling, cooking and setting up tents. The best part was the campfire at night where we all ate smores under the twinkling stars.
On the qualifying journey, the last trip, we went to an unfamiliar environment. To meet one of the requirements, we had to kayak to a completely different island to spend the night. Lily and I along with Katy, the instructor had to create an adapted route due to the unpredicted circumstances. Fortunately, by then we both had some skills and knowledge and therefore we were able to overcome this obstacle. We all had to paddle harder against the powerful waves and despite trying, some of my teammates ended up capsizing. After arriving on the island, completely exhausted, we were gifted by a mesmerising, golden sunset and a twinkling ocean. At this moment, I felt completely immersed in the environment.
As the winds took a while to subside, we were not able to complete our last paddle the next day, however, we got the chance to spend quality time at the beach and complete our individual purpose. For me, this meant taking water samples and observing the environment and human activity. I was inspired to dedicate my purpose to researching marine life and water quality across the different islands when I encountered a young Green sea turtle that unfortunately died, most likely due to plastic ingestion on the first journey. As I have always been inquisitive about the effect of human activity on the environment, I decided to use the opportunity to investigate the area. My friends on the other hand wrote poems, created drawings and made flipbooks.
I think the exemplary thing about the International Award is how unique and different the experience is to every individual and how it brings everyone closer together. Personally, the journeys created extraordinary memories and taught me various skills.
I feel incredibly privileged that I was able to complete my adventure with the most phenomenal group and I think anyone could benefit from this experience.
For more information about the International Award at BISP please contact [email protected]