The year two Diocesan teams travelled to Peru and Bolivia for 28 days on World Challenge One Team.
This year two Diocesan teams travelled to Peru and Bolivia for 28 days on World Challenge. One team had fourteen year 12 students and one team had sixteen year 13 students and for both teams the experience was life changing. World Challenge is a company that allows schools to be supported in remote locations while they experience poverty, hardship, environmental and social challenges.
“Through our school expeditions, Challengers develop leadership, teamwork and decision-making skills, and change the way they think about the world.”
The trip had 4 main components; an acclimatization phase, a trekking phase, a community project and rest and relaxation. Throughout the trip the students dealt with the language barrier, altitude, homesickness, theft, gastro problems, hyperthermia and hypothermia, a rabies scare, and poverty. The challenges were physical, mental and emotional and were beyond anything the girls could even imagine. They took charge of everything from the budget to the accommodation, transport, food choices and recreational options and constantly had to make decisions that would impact on the whole group.
This trip has been described by teachers as one of the most powerful experiences we can offer students to develop skills and character attributes such as grit, resilience, and perseverance. As the students debriefed the learning every day there was a shift in the girls thinking, an increase in their confidence and a move from self-centered youth to considerate and more empathetic young adults. They became aware of their privilege and the responsibility they have to make a difference for others by seeing a different part of the world and also reflecting on New Zealand through new lenses.
The feedback from students reiterates some of the lessons they learned.
“I have learnt how to be a better person and a better leader. At the beginning of this trip I didn't know what it was like to be a good leader. Coming out of this trip I have learnt about the qualities of a leader. It has helped me personally become more confident and I will be able to take this back with me and use it in school. I've learnt that my opinion counts and what I voice should not be something to be afraid of.”
“There is no going about it; world challenge is a 'CHALLENGE'. Going into this trip I didn't know what to expect in terms of the challenge, but in hindsight it encompasses all physical, mental and emotional spheres. The moment which can best explain this aspect is undoubtedly the trek. Our first day was the pit of our trip - we had bad backs, asthma, blisters and dog bites, which alongside the altitude equate to a whole lot of complaining. After an honest team talk came the biggest turn around in attitude I have ever seen within a group of people. As the saying 'mind over matter' goes, we all started and ended that day with a positive 'I can' mind-set, and got through without complaining. This group mentality and morale goes to show that if you think you can or can't do something, you will. For me, this was the most rewarding aspect of the trip, something I never thought I would be saying given my initial anxiety towards the trek. Our group has begun to cross the bridge from adolescence to adulthood, and there is no doubt world challenge has propelled us on this journey.”
“Looking back on the last 4 weeks I have learnt the power of individuality, support and building relationships. I am so proud of all 16 of us for grasping the challenge with both hands and taking the initiative to book accommodation and transport, handle the accounts and research entertainment options. Having these various jobs has given us the opportunity to learn vital skills that we will use for the rest of our lives.”
“This trip has also made me really grateful to live in such a clean, privileged country like New Zealand. I've come to appreciate things that, living in New Zealand, I take for granted such as hot showers (sometimes even just showers), drinkable tap water where ever and having a warm, sheltered home. Finally, I think on this trip, I have developed more confidence and learnt how to work as a team with different personalities. I have walked into shops and attempted to communicate in Spanish which I never thought I would try. I think ultimately I'm a better person now because of World Challenge and I had an amazing experience.”