Why do we send kids up mountains?-why send kids up mountains-Nord Anglia Education
Nord Anglia
28 March, 2024

Why do we send kids up mountains?

Why do we send kids up mountains?-why send kids up mountains-9f45fe2f-651f-4c8f-b86d-07f933e9e0ba


Outdoor education is something that we think is often misunderstood. The purpose of expeditions isnt to create some kind of hardy generation of extreme sports fanatics. Nor is it to push young people into overly uncomfortable situations where they crumble. What we want to do, by taking students out of the classroom, is to develop the life skills that will set them up for success.

We all believe in the power of a shared adventure. We also believe that whats unique about any expedition is the combination of physical challenges with intellectual and emotional growth. By offering students independence and agency in challenging and new situations, we are developing key resilience, flexibility, teamwork, conflict resolution, and empathy skills in a very short space of time.

How? As a team climbing a mountain or traversing a valley youre only as fast as your slowest member. By taking teams of students into outdoor environments, especially those from more privileged backgrounds, you are exposing them to a kind of adversity that they may not be used to. You quickly see how they learn to work together, think on their feet when things go wrong, disagree and compromise on action plans, and show genuine resilience to complete their tasks. All in the space of a few days. Its tough to think of many other educational environments where students make so much progress in such a short space of time. This is what makes expeditions invaluable.

Why do we send kids up mountains?-why send kids up mountains



Usually, the first thing people will mention about our expeditions is the incredible locations we take students, but there are two main things that sets the NAIS Pudong offering apart from other schools.

1.    We make a real difference.

The work our students do, especially in Tanzania, offers genuine value to the communities they work with, and this cannot be overstated. 

Why do we send kids up mountains?-why send kids up mountains

Through working with reputable NGOs like Umoja and Seeway we make sure that the work students do, however unglamourous it may be, makes a genuine and measurable impact on the local community. This means that we can offer an experience where students engage in work thats meaningful and will change lives for the bettersomething thats unfortunately all too rare in the expeditions industry.

Whats more, our instructors and partners are some of the most qualified and experienced leaders in the industry and offer guidance like no others weve worked with. Were massively proud of the world-class team that Nord Anglia have put together.

2.    Its a global, cultural exchange.

Another unique benefit we have at NAIS Pudong is the size of our family of schools. To my mind, there is no other international schools organisation that brings together so many different schools in one location the way we do. At one point this season, seven of our sister schools took part in a single Tanzania expedition. Being able to socialize with not only local Tanzanian communities, but also peers from around the world makes this a truly international experience.

Through this weve seen students forge incredibly strong bonds with friends they never would have otherwise met. One memory that stands out is two girls who came together to develop asmokeless stoveas they noticed the stoves that were being installed on the project were creating a lot of smoke. They went home after the trip and developed a prototype before coming back to Tanzania to present their idea and scout out locations. Fast forward to today and more than 600 of these smokeless stoves have been installed all around Arusha, thanks to those two brilliant students meeting on a Tanzania trip.

Another memory is a girl from our Madrid sister school becoming really good friends with peers from Boston over the course of a week in Tanzania. When her school wasnt running the subsequent Switzerland trip, her friends at Boston spoke to their teachers and she ended up going with the Boston schoola school in another continent. All because of friendships made in Tanzania!

After all, whats a better bonding experience than climbing Kilimanjaro or camping out with the wild animals in Tarangire National Park?

Why do we send kids up mountains?-why send kids up mountains



Building on this, Nord Anglia are hugely excited for the 2024/25 expeditions season and some of the new experiences we can offer students. Other than their existing trips in Tanzania and Switzerland, they have also:

    Added a third level to the Switzerland Trekking challenge, instead of two. This will cater to students of all abilities and make the Switzerland experience even more accessible.

    Reintroduced the Alpine Mountaineering Expedition where students learn a whole range of mountaineering skills, climbing real Alpine peaks.

    Taken a multi-agency approach to the Tanzania service project. Whilst the work Seeway do is undoubtedly brilliant, NAE are starting to collaborate with more NGOs to widen the scope of work they do across communities in Tanzania.

    Introduced three new Tanzania expeditions, including a four-day Mount Meru trek (short enough to include some service project work and a safari), Lake Manyara expedition and the Footsteps of Man Trek, following in the footsteps of the first human beings!

NAIS Pudong students can take advantage of these incredible, life-changing trips right now, with plans in place for separate snow sports and trekking expeditions to Switzerland, as well as the Tanzania service project.  To learn more, contact the Admissions team atadmissions@naispudong.com