The Dixie Grammar School is very proud of the outdoors education, travel and independent learning opportunities it offers all students.  Perhaps the climax of these can be seen in the bi-annual World Challenge trips – a 4 week trip for students in Years 11/Lower 6th/Upper Sixth which is planned by the team and pushes every team member to develop themselves personally.

These are student-led ventures in which students visit a foreign county (Madagascar 2019, Borneo 2017) to engage in some community work, test themselves on an expedition and acquire real independence skills.  Every part of the programme is focussed on the students learning more about themselves, working as a team and developing their skills and potential.  The destination is chosen by the group, the funds are raised by the students themselves and all the logistical planning for the trip is led by students.

The World Challenge Expedition is a life changing experience for all the students and staff. There are 4 main phases to the trip, acclimatisation, trekking, a community project and finally R & R. In acclimatisation the students learn to work as a group, adapt to the climate in their location and manage the daily life of the group including food, accommodation and transport. The trek is around 5 days and requires the group to be self-sufficient, carrying their tents or hammocks with them. For most challengers the community phase is the most rewarding, working within a school or village to help carry out a task and finding out about how their lives compare with ours at home.

The students have to be fully involved in this experience which results in them finding out about themselves, learning about teamwork and coping in situations they have never experienced before. This is a life changing event and I am proud to see the work and development of every challenger I have been with.

“The greatest part of Madagascar for me was the fact that we’d completely left behind our phones and other conveniences that we have at home, and the change of scenery and situation really forced us out of our comfort zones to do new things that we’d never have done beforehand (case in point, those braids in my hair). The fact that Madagascar was so different in every way to home gave me some perspective, too, and now I’m far more appreciative of what we have back here. It also gave me confidence, and I would encourage anyone who can, to take the opportunity and do it.” Ben Hemsworth

Gill Harland