Make the Most of It

Learn how to explain and articulate your experiences and the skills you developed on expedition

Just because your expedition programme is over doesn’t mean your journey has ended. We hope that you are now equipped with the courage, skills, resilience and determination to aid you in making the most of your future.

Is a potential employer really going to care that you’ve done all this?

The answer is yes! Your taking part in an expedition and becoming a Member of British Exploring Society demonstrates a sense of purpose and character which speaks volumes to education institutions and employers.

But how can what you learned on expedition help you? How can you explain the changes you’ve experienced?

Below, we challenge you to reflect on your experience and how you grew and developed as a person as a result of your expedition. In doing so you will learn how to explain your experience, which will help you stand out from the crowd.


To communicate how you have developed, let’s first consider the hard and soft skills you have learnt.

Hard skills are technical knowledge or training gained through life experience. Soft skills are personal habits and traits that shape how you work.

Below is a list of some of the skills that Young Explorers tell us they develop throughout their experience. Consider which of these you may have developed during your expedition programme and the context in which it occurred.


Hard Skills

Project planning
Setting and meeting targets
Risk assessment
Biodiversity surveying
Statistical analysis
Geographic fieldwork skills
Media editing

Presentation skills

Soft Skills

Decision making

Don’t forget to reflect on your journey prior to expedition and what you may have learned in the build-up to it. How did you raise the money and prepare for expedition? Did you develop skills as a result of your fundraising? What have you learned since expedition? Don’t overlook your experience before and after expedition.

Consider how these skills relate to the job or educational course you are applying for. What did you develop or learn whilst on expedition that demonstrates your abilities to meet the entry requirements? Take care to ensure that the ones you use are relevant and appropriate. While your skill set may have developed and grown across all of the above skills, it is unlikely and you should avoid mentioning all of them.

Let’s now look at how you can expand on your skills and provide greater context when communicating your experiences.


On expedition we focus on eight areas of skill or learning, as illustrated by My Compass.

  • Making decisions that matter
  • Managing feelings
  • Staying on track
  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • People and me
  • Confidence
  • The world and me


Take a moment to reflect on each of the My Compass Points and think about the different skills which would fall under each one. If you still have your My Compass booklet with you, it may be worth referring back to it to see what you wrote about your skills and development during your expedition programme. When you are ready, keep scrolling.


Here are examples of some of the skills and abilities you might have developed, based around the My Compass model.

Think about how you might use these in your CV, cover letters, university or course applications, or interviews. Reflect on which skills relate to your experience and development journey.

In order to demonstrate these skills and abilities, you need to be able to provide proof. Saying that you are “good at problem-solving” is not as powerful as being able to demonstrate an example of how you solved a problem during your expedition.

  • Making decisions that matter
    Decisiveness, determination, self-awareness
  • Managing feelings
    Emotional intelligence
  • Staying on track
    Determination, perseverance, drive
  • Communication
    Listening, persuasion, empathy
  • Problem solving
    Analysis, creativity, perspective
  • People and me
    Teamwork, compassion, empathy
  • Confidence
    Resilience, self-belief
  • The world and me
    Conscientiousness, thoughtfulness, compassion


STAR is a framework which you can use to describe and explain a Situation that you faced, the Task you had to accomplish, the Action you took, and the Result. You may have come across this model before as a means of framing answers to competency-based questions in interviews or assessments.

Take problem-solving as an example:


It could be that, while preparing for expedition, you found fundraising challenging and struggled to reach your target (Situation).

You Tasked yourself with reaching your target, which you had made a personal commitment to achieve.

The Action you took was to expand your fundraising efforts, applying for grants & bursaries from trust and foundations.

The Result was you were able to meet and exceed your fundraising target, in part thanks to a grant you won (as well as all your previous efforts).


Always try and use ‘I’ and not ‘we’ when using the STAR model in an interview or application. The person you are communicating to wants to hear what you have to say about your experiences.

Don’t shy away from including adversity or failure either. It humanises you and gives you a chance to reflect on what you would change the next time. A mistake is just an opportunity to learn.

Remember that communication is a combination of the words you use, your tone and your body language. Look people in the eye when you speak to them, sit or stand up straight, and use clear and concise language.

Other examples of how you can use STAR to demonstrate the skills you learned during your expedition programme include:



After a long, hot and arduous day trekking we arrived at the place we had planned to spend the evening. Everyone was hungry but I knew we had to start preparing food. I took it upon myself to find out who had the food for that evening, then organised and motivated the team. We were eating within an hour of arriving.


A few days into the expedition I was finding it difficult and was missing home. I knew I had to overcome these feelings as they were fleeting. I knew I would regret it if I went home so broke every day down into bite-sized chunks, simply tackling one thing at a time until before I knew it I was loving the experience.


We were walking up a steep hill and I saw one of our team struggling so I decided I wanted to help. When we stopped for a short break, I offered to carry some of her kit to make her load a little lighter for a while. I could see how much it meant to her and we walked the next hour together, side by side until the next break.


There is another part to the STAR framework you might have heard about – Reflection (STARR).

It offers the opportunity to reflect on your experience, identify what you learned, and explain what you would do the same, differently or better next time. Prospective employers and universities want people who can reflect on experiences, learn from them, and adapt accordingly.


Hopefully you feel the above language and tools provide you with the means to be able to communicate your experience with more ease.

Begin with considering the types of skills you developed on expedition and decide which of those skills will be useful in your application or however you wish to communicate them. Consider how you can use My Compass to write about how you developed these skills over the course of the expedition programme, including in the lead-up to expedition. Use the STAR framework to explain how you put these skills into practice and then reflect on what you learnt from the experience.

Ultimately, the only way to effectively communicate your experience to others is to practice. If you are preparing for an interview or open day, practice talking it through with your friends and family first. Remember – practice makes perfect!

Feel free to get in touch with our Membership Officer if you have any questions or feedback. We love hearing from our Members, so make sure you stay in touch.

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