DAA strives to reduce our ecological footprint to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment locally and globally. At the middle and upper secondary level, students at DAA proactively seek opportunities to contribute to school, local, community and global initiatives. Service learning, environmental awareness, and community involvement are embedded into various areas of the curriculum and are a key focus in middle and high school.
DAA students are provided with multiple opportunities to learn and provide service to other cultures around the world. DAA celebrates historic festivals and events such as the American Thanksgiving, Diwali, and the popular ancient Hindu festival Holi. Middle and high school students are also provided opportunities to carry out service trips to countries less fortunate than the UAE, such as Sri Lanka, Kenya, Cambodia and Borneao. During these trips, students learn about the rights and civil responsibilities that come with being a member of the world and that all citizens of the world have a responsibility to help and be kind to others.
Middle School - Week Without Walls
In the Middle School, students participate in a Week Without Walls program whereby students are involved in trips both locally and internationally involving service, adventure and culture. Middle School students are often traveling without their parents for the first time and visiting countries that they would not typically choose as a ‘holiday’ destination. These trips push these adolescents out of their comfort zones, opening their eyes to real world issues such as poverty, hunger and lack of access to basic living needs. Students come back from the WWW trips enriched with confidence, empathy, a more holistic view of the world in which we live and ideas for how they could make it better.
Student Reflections on Week Without Walls
“My favorite memory during Week Without Walls would probably be painting the school and playing with the school children after because it gave me a chance to realize how grateful we should be because one thing I saw was the kids were happy just to see us and get even a drop of water.”
“I think the most important thing I learned during the trip was to appreciate the smallest things in life. People in Kenya, own very little, yet they are still happy. I think it's a good philosophy to follow, “Be grateful for everything you own, and make the best out of everything”
“Kenya was one of the best weeks of my life. I loved every second of it and we experienced things lots of things people can't experience. It was like a whole different world to me and I loved it so much."
"Nepal was a very extraordinary trip. We were pushed out of our comfort zones multiple times with the food, activities and sleeping conditions provided. The experience was very unique."
"We learned a lot about Nepal through its culture, food and architecture and overall it was a very fun trip. We learned a lot, made new friends and had a good time."
"I think that the Space and Rocketry WWW was a great chance to try new things. We got to do things we've never done before and we got to learn about things and have fun in different ways."
"This trip was everything I had hoped for and more. The plane rides and the rafting activities will always be close to my heart with the amazing people we had met there. We had learned so much about the culture and wildlife of Sri Lanka. Everything was beautiful and will always stay with me."
"WWW KG/ES Volunteering was an amazing experience because I got to interact with younger children and had a lot of fun playing with them. In KG/ES Volunteering I especially enjoyed preparing treats for the younger kids because it makes you feel happy to see other happy. One thing I learned was how to be patient with younger kids and how they communicate."
Photos of Week Without Walls
High School - Career-Focused Trips
In High School, students have the opportunity to travel overseas on “career-focused” trips to Germany, Switzerland and California or take part in in-school workshops focused on various areas like entrepreneurship or innovation. Students in grade 10 also have the opportunity to take part in volunteer internships either within the UAE or overseas. Some examples of placements include companies such as The Landmark Group, Dubai Municipality, MAG Clinic, Scality, General Electric, Consulate General of India, St. Georges Hospital London, Al Noor Special Needs School, and many more.
Student Reflections on Career-Focused Trips
“I had an intriguing and exciting, yet very challenging week at my place of work experience. It was the first time that I had to actively find something that I can do to help the company, rather than passively carrying out tasks given to me. Since I could speak Arabic a little bit, I luckily had an opportunity to go into the physiotherapist's room and the doctor's room to help Arab patients communicate with them. I observed a lot of treatment sessions and also sat at the reception to help the receptionist with doctor's appointment reservation, billings and reporting patient cases to insurance companies”
“This was one of the most fruitful weeks that I have spent. I had the opportunity to learn so much that I do not think I would have learnt at this point of time or this kind of knowledge which I had been looking towards for a long time. I had the chance to meet with many, some who had just come out of uni, and others who were managers of whole departments. I also got the chance to experience the fun filled part of their routine in which the employees had a break out area with a PS4, and a pool table, as well as a cafe area for all. Overall, it was a great experience and hope that others get the chance to experience this and we get the chance to experience more in the future.”
“My week at the Kristina Zanic Consultants design studio entailed receiving insight into different projects that were being worked on and getting involved with them. I spent the majority of my time at a desk, as did everyone else, creating digital mood boards and compiling pictures for projects including a villa, resort, and majlis (traditionally an Emirati sitting area) to help inspire the designs for them. Though I was not able to have a large input in projects, I still learned about the skills that an interior designer needs (and these include technical drawing skills, creativity skills, social skills, and more depending on the area of specialty) through the work I did as well as mere observation. I gained much insight into the average days of being an interior designer, and even created a island-resort-centered physical mood board that they call “pinspiration”, using a whole wall. Hence the name, it will *hopefully* serve to inspire everyone in the studio when it comes to working on the island resort project that was in the works. Overall, I gained valuable experience which helped me decide that interior design was indeed the right career path for me.”
“It was very educational, I learnt a lot about dentistry and what it's like to work as a dentist. I learnt about kids' behaviours and how to manage them, as every child had a different feeling towards the dentist. I learnt about many dental procedures and equipments, and it was overall really fascinating and has definitely opened my eyes to more fields than just becoming a doctor. I am now seriously considering dentistry as a career path.”