Students aged 14 and 15 in the Nobel International School Algarve completed the school´s second Journey of Discovery, a physical and mental challenge taking in more than 100km from Porches to Foia, Monchique and back. The group of 28 young people departed on Friday 27th April and returned to Porches on Friday 4th May.
This is the second time that the international day and boarding school has led a Journey of Discovery expedition for Year 10 and the average student walked more than 200,000 steps. Head of School Mike Farrer, who introduced this rite of passage for students last year, joined the party, camping with the students along with geography teacher and D of E leader Matt Harris, and science teacher Andreia Rodrigues.
The group learnt to cook on stoves and developed their competence in camp craft skills, some coming from a complete beginner level. They forged rivers, toasted marshmallow and Nutella cookie sandwiches on the barbecue and they cooked spaghetti bolognaise in the pouring rain! Most importantly, many overcame some of their worst fears: a week without their parents, their phone, TV, solitude, walking 100km, pain. During the penultimate day, the entire group had four hours of complete solitude, when they each read a letter written by their parents and had the chance to respond.
Group leader Matt Harris said: “This is the second time we have done this and, not knowing this particular group as well as last year´s form group, I didn´t know what to expect. It was such a pleasure to watch the dramatic changes in each of them throughout the week; to see them develop from being a group of individuals to a super high-functioning team by the last day. I´ve been involved in journeying in the outdoors since 1995, all over Scotland, Britain and abroad, and it never ceases to amaze me how powerful the act of journeying is for young people, particularly for groups. It tests them both physically and mentally, and also really pushes along the development of independent learning skills and personal and social skills. This particular trip is planned quite carefully to be almost physically and mentally impossible, and we encourage the whole form group to go; many of whom might not be keen on this kind of challenge and many who have very little experience, so you can´t go to that place, near the impossible, without finding things out about yourself. Children come back determined, motivated, clearer about their future ideas and plans – we see immediate positive change.”