"The Award was a very rewarding experience for me; I gained many skills I wouldn’t have without doing it, such as communication, planning and organising, and also confidence from the different areas of all 3 levels."
Beckie completed her gold in 2015 from St Hilda's Collegiate School, she got involved in a real mix of activities that made her Award experience unique and varied. It is really interesting to see all the things Beckie accomplished for her Gold, and to know that she has also done more for her Bronze and Silver Awards too. A Sectional breakdown of Beckie's Gold Award is:
- Service: Peer Support, School Stationery Shop and Home Care
- Adventurous Journey: Expedition in the Rees Dart Valleys
- Skill: Young Enterprisem Guitar and Fly Fishing
- Physical: Bowls, Netball and Basketball
- Residential: AFS Exchange to Argentina
For Beckie's residential she got to spend a wonderful year abroad in Argentina on a High-School Exchange with AFS Intercultural Programmes - you can found out about AFS here. So we decided to ask her a little about it, and here is what she said:
Why did you choose an exchange as your residential project?
I was currently at the end of my 6th form and had done the majority of my gold award. I was ready for another challenge before finishing high school and an exchange to another country had always been a dream for me. So I decided why not incorporate the two.
How did the skills and experience from doing the Awardimpact on your exchange?
Throughout my completion of bronze and silver I had gained skills through my various and differing chosen skills and sports. Skills that helped me and enhanced my time in Argentina was my ability to get involved and put myself forward. This was a huge factor in my exchange as it was important to participate in everything offered to you in order to understand and appreciatethe culture and the people.
To be honest I hadn’t really thought about the link between my DOE skills and experiences to my time in Argentina but now I think back, it definitely was an impact on it. For all my DOE Awards it was up to me to complete the sections and to attend sports games and find volunteer activities - This aspect of the Award helped me to get myself more involved in the local community and particpate in activites which would have enhance my experience.
What is a great short story from your exchange?
There are so many great stories that I could tell from school stories, to embarrassing experiences through language barriers and meeting people, through to misunderstandings of the culture. But personally a great story for me was from my last two weeks where I had to say my farewells.This was when I realised that after 11months going from not knowing one person in the country, from not knowing any of the language and from never living in another country with a completely different culture - that I had grown to love the people that took care of me and how many friends I had made and how my family really felt like my own family. That to me was the best thing from my exchange, knowing that I went from nothing to having so many friends and family and had learnt another language.
Actually another would be, after about 7 months when I had finally become to a high level of fluency of Spanish, I was in a shop where a student from Thailand was trying to ask the shop assistant for something specific but like me initially had limited language but knew English, so I without even thinking stepped in and translated the two. This was an amazing feeling because not only had I just helped someone in need - like I was for my first few months, but that I had come along way with learning the language.
And a great short story which sums up the Gold Award for you?
A great story from the Gold Award would be the realisation that from all of the past skills and experiences has benefitted my learning and expanded my knowledge but also benefitted the people that I have helped.
Thanks Beckie for sharing your Award experience with us