Vienna International School was the first school in Austria to offer the Duke of Edinburgh's (DofE) Programme in 2014 and up to now more than 100 students were involved.
The DofE International Award is an internationally recognized, voluntary, non-competitive, and flexible programme of cultural, and adventurous activities for all young people aged between 14 and 25 years old. The programme strives to help the involved students to develop skills such as leadership, perseverance, teamwork, and communication.
So far, we have had 40 students that succesfully finished Bronze Level, 21 students who sucessfully completed Silver Level and 14 students that were able to also achieve the Gold Level.
To complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s programme, there are four main sections: Volunteering, such as helping people, the community or society, Physical, such as sports, Skills, learning a new ability and the Expedition, where the students need to plan, train and complete an unaccompanied, self-reliant expedition. For the Gold level all participants will also complete a Residential Project that needs to take place over at least five consecutive days, away from home and working together with people that you've never met before.
These journeys have brought our students to many different places in Austria, our home country, such as the surroundings of Vienna, the Wienerwald, a forested highland region. Some of the adventurous journeys went further, for example to the Schneeberg, the highest mountain in Lower Austria and the nearby Rax, Hohe Wand, Dürre Wand and Schneealpe - one group even travelled to Mürzzuschlag and Tragöß.
Voices from our community
We congratulate this year's Gold Team for succesfully finishing their qualifying journey from September 2020 and being one step closer to receiving their Gold Award.
Marthe Banken, Grade 12: “The Duke of Edinburgh Award – at any level – is a great way to get engaged in various activities outside of pure academics at school. It stresses the importance of teamwork and gives you the opportunity to explore a new hobby, sport and be of service to your community. I definitely recommend it, as the hard work pays off and you'll be left with lifelong skills.”
Jun Jiang, Grade 12: “The Duke of Edinburgh international Award will be one of my most valued memories of high school. Overcoming the physical and mental challenges during the practice and adventurous journeys and working with a group of enthusiastic students enabled me to further my perseverance and teamwork abilities.”
Sarah Nagel, Grade 12: “I have always had a love-hate relationship with the Duke of Edinburgh award. Sweaty, tired, hungry and lost are just a few words which encompass my experience during the duke of Edinburgh hikes I’ve been on. Every hike, I tell myself this one will be my last, but the memories of fatigue quickly fade and I find myself packing my bag for yet another journey. Despite all the difficulties of the adventurous journey and the longtime commitment of the activity components, the gratification of finally completing the award makes it all worth it. Completing the gold award is definitely a physical and mental challenge, but it has given me an opportunity for personal growth and to prove to myself that I have the strength, endurance, independence to do anything I set my mind to.”
David Schwarzbauer, Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Leaders, Supervisor und Assessor, explains, why taking on the challenge of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards is worth considering: “It is pretty impressive if, a couple of years after you have left school, you still remember what the Pythagorean theorem, a dominant seventh chord or the ablative of separation is. But what really counts then is if you have learnt to work on as a team, if you have found out what you are made of, if you have ever stepped out of your comfort zone and made friends with your pals “grit”, “endurance” and “perseverance”. You will be better off if you have learnt to get organized and to stick to a plan. If you know how to cook your own pasta in the woods and how to overcome pain and lack of motivation. If you have shaped your character and understood that life is not just about you. This is exactly what you learn when you participate in the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. No wonder I think that we should spend more days in the woods and in the mountains than in the classroom…”
For more information, visit the Website of Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.