The GYLC was one of the best experiences of my life, with the 10 day conference focusing heavily on leadership, teamwork and international relations, then the four day extension really hammering-in cultural immersion. However, it took some major planning and organisation on my behalf!
It was an incredibly challenging fortnight, as I not only had to relate to people from over 40 different countries and 20 different language backgrounds, but had to try to work with them in LGMs and larger speaking events. The trip was definitely a perspective-changing, with the experience of being surrounded by like-minded people quite disorientating at first, but I endured through the challenge and learnt different ways to communicate to accommodate for people’s culture, and when to listen and when to lead. During the UN mock assembly there were two really interesting simulations, as both required me to use my diplomatic, persuasive and public speaking skills to further the interests of my country and reach a solution that would better the world. Personally, I found these simulations to be a difficult balance between pushing the resolution that would benefit the country I was representing, and pushing the one that would benefit the world as a whole, forcing me to make some difficult ethical choices. The global summit was an especially interesting simulation; we began in sub-commissions discussing a specific issue (mine was UN efficacy and structure), within a specific commission (mine was political), which each took one resolution to the summit which were debated and then voted. This required me to engage with and find solutions for a range of issues including human rights, public health, peace and security and the environment.
This Conference was so rewarding in a large part due to the skills I developed and gained, but also in building friendships with people from around the world. I made some amazing friends on this trip, and working with them to solve problems – from everything to explaining what a ‘bin’ was to an American, to fixing their terrible attempts at an Aussie accent, to creating solutions for overpopulation, and finding a way to influence countries into treating women and children equally within their society. Overall, for me, that is the magic of GYLC: understanding cultural division and coexisting with other people’s beliefs.