At the beginning of December, 18 students from Dulwich Zhuhai took part in a five-day school trip like no other. It is one of the global activities that DHZH students participate in every year, the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (DofE). As part of the award, the 18 students completed an ‘adventurous journey’ at the new campus and in the Zhuhai Phoenix Mountains with three Dulwich Zhuhai teachers and four professional guides. The experience included a 2-day practice trip and a 3-day qualifying journey.

The practice trip was conducted at the campus, where students learnt how to read maps, use a compass and other camping equipment and tools, as well as how to put up a tent. Students had to learn fast, as the guides were not there to lead the way, but to make sure they stay safe.

It was challenging to learn and apply the new practical skills with limited support, as those are not often used skills in daily life. On the first day, many teams were lost during the hike.

Practice makes the master. Erecting tents, preparing their own meals, studying the map, planning the route for the next day, which required teamwork, resilience, flexibility, leadership, communications, confidence and problem-solving skills, all in one. That was all in the purpose of DofE, at the same time, all in the purpose of the holistic education offerings at Dulwich Zhuhai.   

The DHZH team have walked with heavy rucksacks around 44.7 kilometres with an elevation gain of around 2 kilometres. Students were exhausted by the end, but very happy and proud of their accomplishment.

“The trip was a valuable experience where I have learnt how to read a map and use a compass to navigate the team. I challenged my physical endurance and am grateful to have made many friends from different year groups.”

- Safia B, Year 13


"Words cannot describe how proud I am of the students that completed the expedition! I saw the students develop skills in communication, teamwork and problem-solving. They also had to show great determination to overcome the challenge of five days of hiking through difficult terrain with nothing more than a map and a compass!"

- Mr Stephen Dampier, Head of Humanities, Duke of Edinburgh Coordinator at Dulwich Zhuhai

Launched in 1956, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is many things to many people, supporting generations to successfully navigate adult life. 14-24 year-olds can do a DofE programme at one of three progressive levels which, when successfully completed, leads to a Bronze, Silver or Gold.      

Through a DofE programme young people will have fun, make friends, improve their self-esteem and build confidence, as well as gain essential skills and attributes for work and life. The experience will also enhance university and job applications.