Have you been wondering about the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award (the IA), one of St. Andrews International School Bangkok's extra-curricular activities?
Here Emma Andre from Year 12 tells us about the programme...
I joined the International Award without really knowing what it was when I was in Year 11. I certainly haven’t regretted it! It has been an amazing experience.
I completed my Bronze Award in Year 11. I had to do three different activities regularly over three months: an hour of sport, a creative hour and an hour of service every week. So I did football training, learnt a new language and taught a younger student. It’s a really good programme because it forces you to do outside activities and release any school stress. The most fun part of the IA is the adventurous journey which involves two trips a year out of Bangkok with your friends. For the Bronze Award we travelled to Khao Yai, two hours away from Bangkok. We trekked for two days, carrying everything with us in rucksacks on our backs! Trekking sounds easy, but it is challenging because you have to find your own way from the start point to the finishing point. What makes it tough is GPS and mobile phones are not allowed! Therefore you have to learn how to map read before you go. Each night we slept in comfortable tents in different campsites with amazing views.
Earlier this year, I did the practise adventurous journey for my Silver Award. It’s a three day expedition. The first day we kayaked for 7 km; everyone’s arms were aching but we saw the most beautiful scenery from the middle of a big lake. The second day we did a 40 km cycle. It was tiring, but because you are challenging yourself you are really proud of yourself at the end. Our team slogan was “ No Pain, No Gain!” On the third day we did 13 km of trekking, and we ended up getting lost in the mountains. We had to call our teacher on our walkies talkies! But we were found safe and sound, and at the end of the three days everyone was proud of themselves.
The International Award in an amazing experience if you are ready to challenge yourself. It all comes down to teamwork and supporting each other. You develop your communication skills and have fun with your friends. It’s good to be away from social media for a while, too (remember, no phones allowed!) You don’t have to be fit to do International Award either; you just need to be prepared to push yourself and have confidence in your own abilities. It’s a good opportunity to show universities what you’re made of too, but really it’s about so much more than that.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award. Doing the IA is a personal challenge and not a competition against others; it pushes young people to their personal limits and recognises their achievements. Since its launch 60 years ago, the IA has inspired millions of young people to transform their lives. Through non formal education, the IA can play a critical role in a young person’s personal development and is achievable by any young person who wants to take up the challenge. At St. Andrews International School Bangkok, the IA is offered as part of the High School ECA programme.