University Scholars Leadership Symposium By Katrina McLaren
During the winter holidays, I received a phone call – not the type you would expect at all! It was ACU calling to tell me that I had been selected, from the students at the North Sydney Campus to represent ACU at the University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Thailand. I accepted of course, and not long after semester two began, I found myself on a plane to Thailand. It wasn’t until I returned that I found out how I had been selected. I was informed that they looked for the top GPA’s and my name came up. I had thought my results had been great but this was a cherry on top!
I arrived in Thailand in the late evening, but it was still incredibly warm. There was a noticeable buzz amongst fellow delegates. There were students from all over the world, representing different countries and universities, in every type of degree at every level. In total there were approximately three hundred delegates, and I felt pretty lucky to be counted amongst the group. Our days were packed full of seminars, speakers, discussion sessions and networking sessions. There was a constant hype, no matter what stage of the day and this kept everyone pumped up and excited.
With the theme “The Power of Dreams” it was difficult not to feel motivated by the week, but I think for me personally, the best day of the whole trip, was our day of service. The delegates were divided into ten groups, each group was allocated a different service activity – my group was lucky enough to spend the day with children from the School for the Deaf. We were able to take the children to the Tiger Zoo. It was an experience they had never had before, and the looks of astonishment and sheer excitement were enough to keep every delegate smiling all day. Not to say that the day didn’t have its difficulties especially as none of the delegates knew any sign language! The kids had great big smiles on their faces. They ran around non-stop and showed a great deal of patience towards the delegates who huffed and puffed trying to keep up.
One of the strongest messages that came through for me from my week away was that it only takes one small act by one person to make a difference. The difference you make does not have to be world changing, just world changing to one person.