For those pupils who choose to study Mandarin in the Senior Phase, there is the opportunity to go to China! The Summer Immersion course is a yearly culture and language immersion course organised jointly by the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools and Hanban. Pupils from across Scotland enjoy a 2 ½ week trip to Beijing and Tianjin. The course includes Mandarin lessons at Tianjin Foreign Studies University, some sightseeing in both Beijing and Tianjin and cultural lessons, for example tea ceremony and calligraphy. On successful completion of the course pupils receive SQA accreditation and the YCT (Youth Chinese Test) certificate. The trip is heavily subsidised for pupils but entry to the course very competitive. Pupils must go through an application process at school and local authority level.
In previous years Douglas Academy pupils have been on 4-week long expeditions to places such as Peru (in 2007), Borneo (in 2009), Botswana and Venezuela (in 2011). Continuing in this tradition, in June-July 2019, 41 pupils (split into three independent groups) are going on a month-long expedition to Costa Rica! They will be experiencing the amazing biodiversity and culture of this tropical country – from rainforests and volcanoes to pristine beaches and coral reefs. On the expedition pupils will be helping local people (for example supporting La Luchita community project) and wildlife (for example the Turtle Trax charity). There is also a physical challenge aspect of the expedition – with groups either attempting to climb the highest peak in Costa Rica (Cerro Chirripo) at 3400m and / or trekking through the rainforest. In amongst this there will be plenty of other activities – for example white-water rafting and getting to know the local sloths!
For students of Advanced Higher French, there is an opportunity to participate in the Euroscola project. This project involves the local Rotary Club sponsoring a pupil to join a group of school students from across the country on a visit to the European Union Parliament in Strasbourg. Euroscola is a unique event for young people to learn about European integration by experiencing it firsthand. Students from the 28 EU Member States are selected to become a Member of the European Parliament for one day at the Parliament's premises in Strasbourg. They take the floor in plenary and committee sessions to debate and vote on resolutions on current affairs, all the while practising their language skills and making friends with fellow students from across Europe. The visit is without doubt a fantastic opportunity for our young people to experience France, to use their language skills in a meaningful, realistic context and to meet young people from all over Europe.
The school has been running biennial overseas football coaching trips for around 30 pupils since 2012. These trips, open to all year groups, involve top level coaching from professional football clubs in Spain and Portugal. In the past, pupils have enjoyed coaching from FC Valencia and the Catalan Football Federation in Spain, and Sporting Lisbon in Portugal. The next trip is running in October 2018 to FC Porto in Portugal. As well as a variety of coaching sessions, pupils get a chance to put their skills into practice in 11-a-side matches against local opposition teams. They also enjoy a stadium tour and a visit to the club shop, and a chance to soak up some local culture in a city visit. The trips have run during the week following the October holiday, usually from Thursday to Monday, and pupils travel by air. Pupils are informed of forthcoming trips toward the end of the previous school session, and an expression of interest letter will be available from the link below at the appropriate time.
The 5 day Geography trip to Iceland in June has been offered to S3-S6 pupils in the department every two years since 2014 although the 2020 trip might be to somewhere different – watch this space! Around 50 pupils get the chance to experience the ‘land of fire and ice’: swimming in the Blue Lagoon geothermal pools, exploring the black-ash beaches, feeling the force of amazing waterfalls, walking on glaciers and around volcanic craters, experiencing an earthquake simulator – Iceland is a paradise for any budding geographer!
The initial expression of interest letter is available in September – giving parents (and pupils) the best part of 2 years to budget and / or fundraise.
The annual History and Modern Studies trip to London has taken place for over ten years with our S4 pupils. Whilst in London we visit the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, the Imperial War Museum, the Natural History Museum, the London Dungeon and two London theatre shows, as well as taking a cruise down the Thames. Information requesting an initial expression of interest is usually issued in November of S3 with the trip departing the Monday before the September weekend.
The Paris trip has been a fixture in the school calendar since 1998. 41 S2 pupils visit the City of Light in late March for an introduction to the highs and lows of the city, from the top of the Eiffel Tower to the dark underground corners of the Catacombs! Information requesting an initial expression of interest is usually issued in February/ March of S1 with the trip departing on the Monday evening in the last week of school before the following Easter holiday. The trip returns on the Saturday of the 1st weekend of the school holiday.
EHIC Card: "A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives card holders the right to access state-provided healthcare on temporary stays in other European Economic Area (EEA) countries or Switzerland. Treatment should be provided on the same basis as it would be to a resident of that country and is provided either at reduced cost or, in many cases, for free. The EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until the card holder returns home. This includes treatment for pre-existing medical conditions."