May 3, 2016
Lorenzo, Year 11, Century Park Campus
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (IA) is an extracurricular activity that ensures that students develop in three areas: Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS). In participating in this programme, we have to complete a Sport, a Skill, and a Service aspect for 3 – 6 consecutive months, and many of us students at YCIS have already completed these segments without even realising it.
In order to complete the award, we also have to embark on a 4-day journey in the wilderness. Having been on two of these trips in remote regions of China already, I can assure you that these are among my most memorable experiences at YCIS. The trips have been opportunities for me to meet and collaborate with students from other Secondary year levels, which I have appreciated. The most strenuous parts of the trips were always the long hikes in the rain (and sometimes under the sun, if we were lucky!), especially due to the weighty backpack we had to carry. Sometimes this wasn’t the simplest task, and some of our bags even became broken in the middle of the hike so we helped carry each others’ clothing and food.
Cooking and preparing meals for our group was the most enjoyable, and sometimes most challenging, part of the journey, especially when we had to feed our teachers. Pasta and starchy foods are always everyone’s preferred choice as they are simple, quick to prepare, and filling. Breakfast, on the other hand, can be more challenging. I’ll always remember when my group attempted to make pancakes in the middle of the tea fields without butter.
The IA has also stretched me in other areas, as well. Swimming has always been a passion of mine and the IA has not only allowed me to further the sporting aspect, but also, in learning about the coaching aspect of the sport. For the service segment I volunteer as a swim coach for two hours each week. As my skill, I take part in additional Chinese lessons in order to prepare for the HSK examinations. This has enabled me to further improve my reading and writing skills in Chinese.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is one of the most unique extracurricular activities offered at YCIS, and it allowing us students to develop countless skills, without even realising it!