Growing up in a small town, I was always interested in the land beyond the acres and acres of dust that surrounds out town. Whether it was Europe, Asia, or Australia, I had an intrinsic hungering to see the world. In high school, I continually applied for different opportunities that would allow me to travel. Then, in the summer before my senior year, my dream was granted to me.
I attended the Young Leaders Winter Program at Trinity College in Melbourne, Australia. The week long program is designed to foster leadership characteristics in high school students. It also gives students to learn more about different career fields, such as Science and Engineering, The Law and Justice, and several other options. I personally attended the Arts program, designed to enhance writing, communication, and several other fine arts skills.
As for the experience, it was incredible. We lived on the Trinity campus, which is an older campus with magnificent architecture. During the day, we went to different classes and leadership workshops. In the evenings, we were treated to different cultural experiences, which expanded my knowledge of not only Australia, but several other cultures. The program is designed for international students, so the 300 students that attended were from all walks of life. It was an incredible cultural experience.
I thankfully received a full scholarship from the National Society of High School Scholars so I could attend this amazing program. Although, it did not cover flight costs. To raise money for that hefty expense, I went to different business in my small hometown and asked for different sponsorships.
I wish I had a better grasp on my own culture, so I would know great questions to ask the other students in attendance. Also, you probably don't need as much as you pack on your first try.
I did not experience any discrimination while abroad, and I do not think anyone in our group did either. I would readily attribute this to how wonderful the program was. We literally had people from all over the world, so the ethnicity of origin or religion was just something to enlighten others with. The students in this program wanted to learn about other cultures and experiences and we were all excited to do so.
Studying abroad has definitely opened me socially. By
At the end of the program, I was awarded the Valedictorian of the program. This honor came with an important responsibility: to give a speech to all of the students and faculty of the program. My most memorable part of my study abroad was right the reception right before I gave my speech. For the life of me, I cannot remember actually standing up there and giving the speech. Although, I heard I did a good job.
The program offered several different opportunities to go out and get to know your peers. There were always different activities to partake in.
The experience definitely boosted my ability to communicate and interact with people from vastly different walks of life. It allowed me to become much more social and actually provided me confidence for my future.
I would recommend this program to any (and every) high school student. It is a perfect segway into your college career and the amazing opportunities that are available to students out there. It also opens a window into the adventure and joy that comes with study abroad and traveling to a new location.
Don't take any moment for granted. Interact and talk to everyone around you and don't leave any stones unturned. You may discover your new best friend and learn a lot about others and the world.
To win the scholarship for the National Society of High School Scholars, I had to create a video to explain why I should recieve the scholarship and have the honor of attending the Young Leaders Winter Program.