Why did you feel as though a World Challenge Expedition would be beneficial to your daughter Shereen?
Monqidh – When Shereen brought the information about World Challenge back home to us she was very excited; she is a very intellectual young lady and had done her research. We were excited for her but apprehensive at the same time because she was travelling to Peru on expedition on her own!
But there were so many different elements to the trip that we knew would be of benefit to her in the long run from the fundraising to the trek and the community service project. We didn’t want to stand in her way and she is now in love with World Challenge!
Did you think the expeditions would benefit her in terms of future success and development?
Monqidh – There is nothing better for character building than travel – and travelling to cultures and societies, which helps get you out of your sheltered environment. Heading to such a far-away trip just added to that drama of growth!
Were you apprehensive as parents prior to Shereen going out on her first expedition?
Remy – We’re very open-minded and having read about the programme and took on board feedback from other parents I was very comfortable with what lay in store for my daughter.
Monqidh – I was apprehensive because of her exposure to altitude sickness, mosquitoes etc. I am a physician so I always think of the worst possibilities rather than the best, but I had to let go of my apprehensions because you want to see that growth in your child, and if travelling to the developing world is what it takes then so be it. But I had no reason to worry, and there has been nothing to concern myself with since her first expedition.
Have you been impressed with the support from World Challenge?
Monqidh – I have always been very comfortable with the fact that World Challenge covers all corners from a safety and security perspective. They are the first to admit that they can’t eliminate all risk whilst in-country but they do their very best to manage it. Shereen has always felt extremely safe.
How have you seen Shereen develop over the course of the expeditions?
Remy – She is much more independent and is now a lot more authoritative in how she presents herself.
Monqidh – Shereen was very quiet and her experiences have unearthed a lot of characteristics that were hidden previously. She was very sheltered, didn’t like bugs, had never hiked or stayed in a tent with no home comforts but she adapted and her confidence grew little, by little. She now knows how to travel! She is our leader when we look to go away on holiday as a family – she organises, chooses, books the hotels and flights, and even tries to barter; it’s fantastic. We certainly reap the rewards of that!
Would you encourage more parents to find out about World Challenge?
Remy – We are huge advocates, and are always trying to encourage more parents to get their son and daughters involved. It’s an experience of a lifetime.
Monqidh – World Challenge is a window to the world, and gives children the fantastic opportunity to develop as individuals through experiential learning. The learning outcomes are phenomenal and to see that joy and happiness on the children’s faces when they return home from expedition is incredible to see.
A World Challenge expedition is the whole package and in my opinion is much more valuable from an extra-curricular activity perspective than any form of classroom-based activities.
How do you hope Shereen uses her World Challenge experiences moving forward into later life?
Monqidh – I just hope she continues to respect other people and their different cultures and also appreciates the privileges that she currently has. A World Challenge gives you a completely different sense of perspective.