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The British School in The Netherlands

International Award

The International Award is the overseas equivalent of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and has been helping Year 10 and above BSN students for a number of years to build confidence, discover new talents and give back to the community.

The BSN is the largest single provider of the International Award in the Benelux region, with eighty or more students usually achieving their Award each year.

There are three levels to the Award: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Within each level there are four categories of task that needs to be completed before the Award can be earned. These categories include involvement in a sport or physical activity, learning a new skill, performing a service to the community and taking part in an expedition. The Gold Award has a fifth category which is a five-day four-night Residential sharing an activity with new people. The Bronze students are offered training in preparation for the expedition. Once the Award has been achieved there is a Presentation Evening where the students are given their certificates and medals.

Around 80% of the BSN’s Year 10 students get involved with the Bronze Award each year and many look back on their achievement with a sense of great accomplishment as they have become far more independent and confident with decision-making as a result of their participation. They were able to pick up new skills such as learning a musical instrument or learning a new language and took part in a physical activity, such as a team sport, to work on their personal fitness.

Their voluntary service to the community has given them a greater sense of belonging and ownership and also the special feeling that comes with making a positive difference to other people’s lives, especially those in need. The Expedition is a true highlight for many in that they discover untapped sources of physical and mental stamina that they had not known before. Having to rely on your peers and yourself to survive several days in the woods is not only great fun but an enormous confidence boost to many teenagers.

Many of our students find that involvement in the International Award gives them an edge when applying for university places as they have real-life experience to show that they are energetic, self-disciplined, can work in a team and have a commitment to the community. The certificate that the students receive is recognised internationally as a sign that they are highly motivated, independent thinkers and empathetic towards others.