The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a global framework for non-formal education and learning, which challenges young people to dream big, celebrate their achievements and make a difference in their world.

Through developing transferable skills, increasing their fitness levels, cultivating a sense of adventure and volunteering in their community, the Award helps young people to find their purpose, passion and place in the world.

The award is made up of four sections; 

  • a physical activity
  • a skill
  • a voluntary service 
  • and an adventurous journey. 

How long you spend on each activity will depend on which level you are working towards. Students at ISH are taking part in a number of different activities, either working on improving current skills or trying something completely new. Examples include cooking, playing an instrument, basketball, running, befriending the elderly, coaching a sports team, community gardening, to name but a few. In addition the Gold level students participate in a one week residential project.

The part of the award the most students often look forward to the most is the adventurous journey! This involves training, planning and preparing in small groups for a hiking and camping expedition for 1, 2 or 4 nights, depending on the award level. 

An important part of the journey is also to set an aim and work towards this while out hiking. For Bronze, this might be reporting back on their journey in a creative way, for Silver and Gold this may be field research about nature, physical achievements, the interaction between human and landscape or cultural identity of a region.

Students are out on their own (in small groups), navigating (without technology) their pre-planned route, cooking their own meals on a camp stove and then pitching their tents for the overnight stays. 

The journeys become increasingly more challenging, this is amongst others due to more challenging terrain, the length of journey and type of camping. In addition, the students need to take on more of the responsibility of organising the hike. 

All in all, the International Award is a chance to step out of the comfort zone and find a lot of rewarding experiences, making friends on the way.

Visit the dutch international award website     Visit the duke of edinburgh's international award website