It’s a question that we should get comfortable with asking to keep pushing towards the best possible version of ourselves. In this blog I will be uncovering why challenging yourself is important and why going beyond your comfort zones will help you in the future.
Your school years are the perfect time to find out more about yourself; your drivers, your ambitions, your intrinsic values, and to learn new skills or knowledge. And this shouldn’t be just about classes and attainment during school hours, but also how to get the most from after-school clubs and opportunities.
Take these opportunities to allow yourself to discover new skills and develop your personality.My advice? Do not finish your school years with regret!
World Challenge – what’s it all about?
World Challenge works with schools across the UK, Australia and New Zealand and helps create transformational educational travel experiences that take the very best care of both people and the planet. They do this through:
- Leadership expeditions
- Learning Service Journeys
- Project independence
Their leadership expeditions are designed to focus on leadership, resilience, teamwork, conservation and sustainability. Students walk away from these experiences with an enriched view of self and a new found confidence to take on the world.
Their Learning Service Journeys are designed to about take students out of their bubbles and expand their minds through the sharing of cultures. They are less adventurous by nature, with an emphasis on community engagement, conservation and sustainability, all with a focus on fostering global citizenship through cultural immersion.
Project Independence is for students from all over the country who are seeking the opportunity for a trip of a lifetime. Running independently of school, World Challenge support this adventure with a ready-made team of like-minded young travellers who will be introduced in the build-up of the trip and are looking to take on the challenge.
“Since the company was founded 34 years ago, we’ve had the privilege of taking more than 150,000 students on life changing experiences all around the globe, helping bring them out of their bubbles and expand their horizons. We passionately believe that giving students the chance to blossom outside of the classroom through experiential learning aids their problem solving ability, resilience and confidence to better prepare them for the challenges adulthood can bring.”- World Challenge
World Challenge are now the world’s first climate positive school travel company.
My World Challenge experience
In 2016, I went on an adventure of a lifetime! With the support of World Challenge, I and ten others including students and teachers traveled to Zambia and Botswana.
This was a fully fundraised trip and it’s important to mention the planning and pre-trip stages as they taught me valuable lessons, as well as the trip itself. It was all in my hands to fundraise the money for my place, despite having the support from my team and working together on different events, it was my responsibility to reach that financial target! I found managing the money was a great experience for me as I now use this skill in my everyday life and will continue to in the future.
My fundraising ideas involved:
- Cake sales
- Boot sales
- Car washes
- Hosted an event with family and friends (included a raffle with big prizes and a band)
Now onto the trip…
Whilst I could go into pages of memories recounting what we did, I want to highlight the parts where I found myself reflecting on the skills and goals I achieved.
As part of our community engagement we were tasked over 4 days to support the building of a house for an unfortunate family. This included gathering the mud, building the structure and molding the walls. It was a tough and long process as each day we had different challenges and struggles, however this was the most rewarding experience for me, as the family we were building the house for sat outside watching us every day and it reminded me how lucky I am to have so many luxuries- even just a roof over my head! I will never forget handing the house over to them as they were so happy and grateful.
Throughout the entire trip someone was delegated leader and had the responsibility of the group to make sure everyone was safe, healthy, motivated and enjoying themselves. I found the days I was leader very crucial to who I am today because I developed more confidence, accountability and empathy. At the end of these days we debriefed with our Exhibition leader and it was a great opportunity to communicate my strengths and weaknesses, but also get feedback from the team. This was an experience that pushed me out of my comfort zone because I had never had that independence or control over my day-to-day life as well as nine other individuals!
Lastly, the importance of money management, as it was a big part of fundraising so we could not only go on the trip but also live whilst we were out there. Once we had raised the money we had to budget for the whole expedition, including how much we would spend on food, modes of travel and accommodation.
This was another big life lesson for me.
As I was only sixteen I used to take money for granted, but having the responsibility of deciding what to spend our money on helped me learn the value of money and understand what really is essential.
My team and I budgeted our money very well, meaning we were able to spend more on accommodation and got to visit Victoria Falls - one of Zambia’s well-known attractions.
The whole experience taught me so much and I am so proud of myself for going and achieving what I did. If I can give any advice to students it is to take every opportunity you can because these chances don’t happen often. In the UK we are so lucky to have schools that provide trips, clubs and extracurricular experiences, so take advantage of them because I can guarantee you will make some amazing memories and skills that will build your character for the rest of your life!
Other ways to challenge yourself
If you know teachers and students who would love to get involved in World Challenge contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get the ball rolling.
There are countless other ways to push yourself and achieve experiences you never thought you would make, but it is all down to YOU.
Have an ambition. Be bold. Be brave. And go for it!
Thanks for reading