Inspired by Ideas:
Carolyn with her Global Action Team (GAT), including students from Oregon, Colorado,
Mexico, Venezuela, and Washington.
The first two days of the conference also held a mock World Cup, and nearly everyone came out to play or watch. We relaxed in the common rooms, explored the campus, and visited the recreation center.
Carolyn with her friend Reina from Japan
The conversation hardly ceased as students talked about their schools, their countries, and of course, the IB program. Even the dance was educational; I learned how to salsa!
When the conference finally drew to a close and we reluctantly boarded our buses, tears in our eyes, it did not feel like we were returning home to our families, but leaving them behind at OSU.
Although I cried as I waved out of the bus window, I knew there was nothing to fear. Our action during that week had given me the confidence to believe I'd see my new friends again. I had the power to make that happen.
In today's world, events like these are more effective than ever. Technology and tools like Facebook and Skype allow us to maintain the relationships we build and the projects we design.
We can encourage each other as we continue on our path into the real world, where conferences aren't necessary to be immersed in cultural and intellectual diversity.
I can honestly say I'd be headed toward an entirely different future had I not attended the conference. I've developed a whole new appreciation and love for other cultures, and made friends who I'm certain will last me a lifetime.
Our activities helped me realize my passion for global action and change, and I now plan on majoring in International Relations in college. I left the conference with an endless list of ideas and projects, and although I know I must move one step at a time, I take comfort in knowing that all around the world, my friends from the conference are taking these steps with me.
Carolyn Willander is a Senior at Sturgis Charter Public School. She is a full International Baccalaureate (I.B.) diploma candidate.
Carolyn has joined the CapeWomenOnline team as a regular contributing writer.
Her work with this magazine will earn Carolyn credit toward her C.A.S. (Creativity, Action and Service) requirements, which is a fundamental aspect of the full I.B. Degree.
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