The Global Leadership Forum at UWC

13 July 2020

Nora a 'European Social and Political Studies' student at UCL, took part in the Global Leadership Forum at United World College USA in 2019.


The Global Leadership Forum at UWC USA is a summer program for students age 14-18, where they are taught about global issues and spend three weeks alongside people from all other the world. Being an instructor throughout the program was very rewarding. We organised workshops on crucial topics such as modern stereotypes, conflict resolution, bystander intervention, and we helped them in the process of creating their personal project which would benefit their home communities. On top of that, we organised evening activities, day trips and even a 2-day long hiking trip. The best part of the programme was seeing the impact we, as instructors, had on the students. Some of them had never been abroad before or even outside of their home community. In a few weeks, we managed to create an open-minded, connected and loving community with students from around 40 different countries and backgrounds and instructors from 10 different countries. Furthermore, some of our daytrips were spent volunteering to help local New Mexican communities and I really enjoyed getting to know the people we worked with, to hear about their culture and their history.

Before the program, I thought my position would itself not be connected to my UCL degree, but I quickly realised how wrong I was. My experience could not have been more related to international relations and modern issues and it benefitted me a lot for my career aspirations. I believe that everything that I learned from the students and the activities pushed me a step closer to my goal of working in the diplomatic world.

Despite all these positive aspects from my experience, one challenge was not being able to help the students who were going home to a community which they did not necessarily feel like they belonged to or where they were not accepted truly as they are.  

My piece of advice for students undertaking a short-term experience abroad is do not disregard opportunities that at first do not seem like though they would benefit your career aspirations. Sometimes it is better to give it the benefit of the doubt and it might be a life-changing experience.

By: Nora Venin