Should PDW be Optional?


In case you happened to miss it, for the first time in ISZL history on Friday 6th October the entire high school gathered for an assembly in the gym for a whole school debate. The main idea behind this was to involve all students in a debate as to whether or not they think PDW’s should be discontinued at our school, or whether or not they should be an optional trip that the school offers. As well as this, students were introduced to the Youth Forum Switzerland (YFS) as another significant goal of the assembly was to look into how the sound worked in the gym, as well as seeing how the seating worked once everyone was inside in order to prepare for an upcoming YFS event. The YFS team introduced themselves with an opening video and began to explain how the debate will work, but they also informed us that the school will be hosting a day full of panels like this one in upcoming months where multiple guest speakers will arrive from various locations to host panels throughout the day, so look forward to that event soon!  

From the PDW debate there were a lot of mixed opinions as the six main students on the stage all went on different PDW’s, yet had varied opinions on them. This helped most grades get involved as they could relate or agree with at least one speaker on the stage. Overall, there was one tenth grader, one eleventh grader and four twelfth graders. This allowed a quite varied discussion since some people thought PDW’s were more of a selfish act, and tend to benefit us as students more than the people we visit. On the other hand, some felt as though our PDW’s allowed them to engage in a once in a lifetime opportunity in which they could physically see the impact that they were having on people around them. Some feel as though it’s beneficial to see where your money goes once you have donated or worked on fundraising, as you can really see the true impact that students of ISZL are having on communities or environments worldwide.  

Another hot topic during the discussion was whether PDW’s should be moved to a later date in the year, or whether they should occur at the same time as they do now. Again, the school seemed to have split decisions as one audience member stated that there would be a chance for less stress in twelfth grade if the PDW was moved towards the end of the year after exams had occurred, to avoid spending a week out of school. Some agreed to this, however the speaker for tenth grade felt as though PDW at the start of the year was more beneficial to them and especially to new students as it gives them the opportunity to meet new people, and potentially make new friends before the school year really starts.

So what do you think? Should PDW’s be optional at our school, and should we do more whole school debates like these in the future?

Photo Creds: Chanine Enthoven