HWUM Students Participate in the DofE International Award Adventure



DofE HWUM 2023

A group of students under The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award (DofE) programme embarked on an exciting adventure as they participated in the DofE's Award Adventurous Journey in Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor. The four-day expedition, from 24 to 27 August 2023, was designed to encourage a sense of adventure and discovery among the participants in an unfamiliar environment.

The DofE Award is the world's leading youth achievement award, and Heriot-Watt University Malaysia (HWUM) is the only university licensed as an Independent Award Centre to deliver the Award exclusively for all HWUM students. The overall objective of The DofE Award is the holistic development of youth through participation and recognition in the four sections of the Award: Voluntary Service, Physical Recreation, Skills and Adventurous Journey.

The EmPOWER programme at HWUM, which embeds Positive Education practices and philosophies, has partnered with the DofE's Award to extend further opportunities for students to be part of an established global community and receive an internationally accredited award.
This year, 11 students and four academic supervisors participated in the DofE's Award adventure quest.

One of the students, Michelle Gundran, a 2nd Year student of Actuarial Science from our School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences (MACS), has beautifully captured and described their experiences in her own words, in the following:

Day 1: Conquering Bukit Batu Pahat 

The Gold team was the first to embark on the journey. Their adventure began with a steep and challenging hike up Bukit Batu Pahat. It wasn't a walk in the park, but their determination pushed them forward. As they ascended, the view became more rewarding with each step, and they had the pleasure of witnessing the exhilarating sight of people paragliding down the hill. After conquering the peak, they made their way to the hot springs, where they soaked away their fatigue and enjoyed a relaxing break. The day concluded with a hearty dinner, and despite the challenges they faced, the sense of accomplishment and the breathtaking view from the top of the hill made it all worth it.

Day 2: A Journey on Foot 

The Bronze and Silver team started our journey at the KKB Police Station where we were reunited with our friends from the Gold team, making our way to the campsite together on foot which was about six kilometres away. One kilometre into our walk, we stopped by Resipi Opah, fuelling up for the journey ahead. As we continued our walk, the anticipation of the famous coconut shake stall motivated us further. The final leg of our walk was the most challenging as it was uphill, but we persevered and arrived at the campsite around 2pm. 

Later in the day, we engaged in a thrilling team-building game on the lake, where teams had to pull themselves across using a rope. Despite such a strenuous activity, the experience fostered teamwork and camaraderie among us and ultimately broke the ice. 

After dinner, we embarked on a unique night walk, blindfolded and barefoot, guided only by one of our teammates. This activity built trust and emphasized the importance of communication and teamwork. Our day concluded with a game of Uno, which lasted until late into the night, as we bonded and shared stories under the starry sky. 

The journey tested our physical and mental limits, but it was also a fantastic opportunity for strengthening the bonds we had with each other. 

Day 3: Waterfall Adventures and Puppy Rescues 

Our third day of adventure brought us to the Cherandong waterfalls, and it was a day filled with both challenges and unexpected surprises. As we began our hike, the path was tricky, and we had to navigate through thorns and descend a steep hill. Throughout our journey, we snapped countless pictures for our research project, capturing the natural beauty that surrounded us. 

Along the way, the Gold team took a wrong turn and stumbled upon another waterfall, Lara Kancil, which turned out to be a picturesque surprise for them. They eventually found their way back to the rest of us safely. Upon reaching the waterfall, we indulged in the wonderful nature surrounding us and took a lot of pictures. Just in time, we started our return journey before the rain could catch up with us. 

The most heartwarming highlight of the day was rescuing two adorable puppies. Our decision to take in these furry companions added a touch of compassion to our adventurous day. The evening concluded with a delightful barbecue, which we all contributed to despite the heavy rain. It was not only delicious but also a testament to our teamwork and adaptability. 

The unexpected twists and turns, like discovering a hidden waterfall and saving puppies, added an extra layer of adventure to our journey. Overall, the experience was incredibly rewarding.

Day 4: Farewell and Sunrise Serenity 

The final day of our adventure was melancholic and bittersweet. We gathered to cook our last meal and cleaned up our campsite, leaving it just as pristine as we found it. The day's highlight was witnessing the breathtaking sunrise by the lake, a perfect send-off to our memorable journey. 

After dismantling our tents and cleaning the cooking area, we gathered at the common area, awaiting our van where we also took our final group photo. The van eventually arrived, marking the end of our adventure. 

As we bid farewell to the campsite and our newfound friends, we couldn't help but reflect on the transformation we had undergone. What started as nervousness and fear of the wilderness had evolved into a newfound perspective on camping and nature. This adventurous journey had successfully pushed us out of our comfort zones, leaving us with lifelong memories and friendships.

Through non-formal education in a range of community settings, the EmPOWER and the DofE Award scheme equip our youth for life regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills, and interests. As the Award is a personal challenge and not a competition against others, it pushes students to their limits to recognise their individual achievements, fostering personal growth and a love for adventure.


HWU News Malaysia