She swims regularly, learns German, and spends two hours a week as a volunteer working with children whose life situation is no bed of roses. A student from Beroun, Kristýna Škopová, gets motivated for all these activities by the DofE programme created in Great Britain. If she holds, she will receive an award after six months, which may open the way to other goals. In fact, she will receive the Duke of Edinburgh International Award.
“I’ve found myself in a strange city where I don't know anyone. I don’t want to get bored after school. I think I wouldn’t force myself to do any activities. But once I have decided to work on myself, this is a good opportunity. I set and fulfil my goals myself,” says twenty-year-old Kristýna to the question why she enrolled in the DofE incentive programme.
She studies History and Slavonic Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of the University of Pardubice. She took up Slovenian. In the future, she may translate from this South Slavic language, but today she does not want to idle and do nothing after school. So, when she learned about DofE at one of the art history lectures, she was clear right away. Already during the presentation of Ondra, who is the head of the programme, she knew that this was exactly what was going to start her up.
It is quite simple. All you have to do is devote yourself to three activities in which you improve and develop your talents. Each completed "task" is then recorded in DofE application. It is up to each student what interest he or she chooses. However, it is important to fulfil three areas of activities – to improve your skills, do/play sports, and work as a volunteer.
Kristýna works in a low-threshold centre called Free Klub where she meets children and teenagers who have found themselves in difficult life situations. She plays with them, helps them with school, and solves different tasks with them. "I also swim once a week as I want to get moving at least a bit. I study German for an hour a week because I could use the language when I write my papers in the future. And then – I’ve always been interested in what it’s like to work with children from socially disadvantaged families,” explains the student, adding: “I aim to swim some lengths and continue to overcome this goal. The programme doesn’t mean that you are just doing something, but you also set higher goals.”
After the fifth hour in the water, she forced herself to six more lengths. She has not thought of cheating yet because one day – when holding the certificate in her hand – she might show off her personal development and motivation to her future employer. Although she is slowly coming to the finals and has almost met her goals, she does not intend to quit over the night. She is determined to continue. She would certainly like to go on volunteering and get involved in helping old people or making animal lives better.
"It may sound strange that I should get a royal family member award just because I managed to swim or learn German. It won't come that strange to me, though. It's a good idea to motivate students to work on themselves. The programme makes you not delay anything,” says the university student. To get a bronze degree in the programme, she only needs to keep on a few more hours. "And I forgot something. Finally, I have to go on a two-day adventure expedition,” adds Kristýna.
See www.dofe.cz to get more information on the programme.