Czech out Prague!
I count myself very lucky to have been granted the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund. I used the money I was given to attend, upon acceptance, the 28th International Youth Leadership Conference in Prague. The £700 paid for almost the entire conference, leaving only the transport costs to my own pocket.
The conference was an intensive 5-day forum on leadership, world politics and justice, somewhat like Model United Nations, but with embassy visits, guest speakers and VIP parties with diplomats! The other participants came from all corners of the world: India, Pakistan, America, Australia, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, Peru, Spain, Holland, Ethiopia, Swaziland, South Africa and many more. It was amazing to meet everyone and to get to know their cultures and languages. In fact, we threw a culture night, where we saw all kinds of things, from Spanish dancing to Dutch singing, American rapping to Australian food tasting.
In terms of the work we did, all participants were split into three groups of around 12 with facilitators and we had several intensive 2 hour Planning, Development and Strategy sessions for the topic in question – the UN Security Council, the International Criminal Court or the EU Parliament – and the following simulations. This was hard work because I hadn’t been exposed to the nature and functions of these institutions before and suddenly I was appointed to a role – France delegate, the Chief Prosecutor, and Lobbyist and Committee Secretary respectively – where I was expected to debate with confidence. Hence many hours were spent on research, case-preparing, and presentation and rebuttal development. Very quickly I became aware of my strengths and weaknesses – things we all worked on together.
In my opinion, it was the experience of getting to know all these different people from different places above all during the week that I cherished the most; and it wasn’t all work, it was play too. We got opportunities to do touristy things in the Old Town of Prague, get a taste for Czech nightlife and relax after utterly exhausting days in seminars and simulations to a pint of Czech beer and international card games.
All in all, I would definitely recommend students to attend the IYLC in future. I am so happy to have attended the conference and to have met all the people there! So I’d like to say a MASSIVE “děkuji” to the Go Abroad Team!