Broadening horizons with the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation is working with Cambridge International to offer their schools new ways to broaden their curriculum. Cambridge believe that the Award – which has inspired millions of young people worldwide to transform their lives – complements their programmes perfectly.

But what’s it like to take part in the Award? Cambridge International asked two students in India to share their experiences of the different activities they carried out for the Bronze Award.

AKSHITA PODDAR, a Grade 10 student at Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata, is in her second year of Cambridge IGCSE and has completed the Bronze level of the Award.

I decided to take part in the Award (delivered in India by the International Award for Young People) after seeing older students complete the programme. I was fascinated by the activities they undertook and when I spoke to them I also realised that the Award had helped them to grow and progress. The idea of expanding my interests, trying new things and volunteering, all while developing my teamwork and communication skills, motivated me to sign up.

I recently completed my Bronze Award which meant I took part in a lot of different activities. For the ‘skills’ section, I played the acoustic guitar and practised regularly to really develop my musical ability, and my love for the instrument. For the ‘physical recreation’ section I played basketball and took part in a home exercise regime. Lastly, for my voluntary service, I helped at an electronic waste company, taking part in outreach and marketing activities to help raise awareness of e-waste and its collection.

The pandemic affected some of my activities, such as volunteering and sport, but I managed to find alternatives that I enjoyed. In fact, one of my most memorable experiences was when we cooked our favourite meal together virtually. We set up cameras in our kitchens and shared the experience through our laptop screens. We all interacted and laughed together, which showed that even during a pandemic good teamwork can turn a negative into a positive.

The Award has also supported my Cambridge studies. For example, I am currently taking Cambridge IGCSE Physical Education and I can bring the skills and knowledge gained from the Award, such as improved physical fitness and sporting technique, into the classroom.

I also hope the Award will help me achieve my ambition of studying environmental engineering at a university abroad. My community service activities for the Award are related to the environment, giving me the chance to explore my interest in environmental issues. I feel the Award has also made me more independent and responsible, which will help me if I move to a different country on my own. I’ve also developed other skills such as good time management and self-discipline.

I would definitely recommend the Award to other students. It has helped me to develop multiple skills, and to understand the importance of helping my community. I have grown as an individual, learnt more about my interests and become more responsible, self-reliant and determined. It is an extremely enjoyable experience.

SANJNA VIVEK completed the Bronze level of the Award in her final year at CS Academy of Coimbatore. She is currently a second-year undergraduate at Ashoka University in India.

The Award was introduced in my school when I was studying for my Cambridge International A Levels. Although this was a time when I was under academic pressure, I decided to take part. I was keen not to lose sight of the benefits of extra-curricular activities as I knew these would enhance my personal development. At the same time, the Award would give me an opportunity to try new and exciting things.

I took part in a number of unforgettable activities for the Award. For example, for my voluntary service, I initiated a clean-up campaign among primary school children in a local school in Rajapalayam, India. It was a heartwarming experience to interact with young children, both in the local language (Tamil) and in English. The children drew posters about the correct way to recycle, save electricity and so on, and we put them up around the town. At the end of one of our sessions, the class collectively surprised me by tidying the entire classroom to show that they had learned the importance of cleaning up. It was very touching!

Participating in the Award really helped me experience an ideal education, holistic and well-rounded. I also think that my academic performance was boosted thanks to the skills I gained from the Award, such as the need for consistency and repeated practice. In addition, when I applied to university, the Bronze Award looked great on my CV as it summarised my experience of many different fields, and showcased my ability as a multi-skilled and versatile student.

I would definitely recommend participation in the Award. You have the freedom to choose from a range of activities, and experience I would definitely recommend participation in the Award.

It can also be really good fun and, if you make the most of it, you will develop skills that last a lifetime and find out where your passions lie.

More information

Cambridge International Schools can receive an exclusive package of benefits to support them in delivering The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. Find out more here.