After a long wait since the Regional Round of WSC I had in May, I was finally given the opportunity to join one of the Global Round in Manila from 6 – 11 September. Same as the Regional Round before, it feels amazing to be there. To be in the same program with these people from all around the world that have the same enthusiasm in learning and celebrating it. Therefore, I will try as I hard as I could to capture those moments and feelings in this post.
Just like what I stated, of how this Global Round brought together a bunch of people from around the world, that is exactly what happened during the first day. As a part of the opening, all of the scholars did Scavenger Hunt around the area of the venue which was actually a mall. Around 800 scholars were divided into 40 teams in this activity, making up 18-20 scholars in each team.
The team that I got into was Team UK, and I must say that I met some great friends from it, despite the fact that at first I was low-key anxious about the idea of meeting new people and having to spend hours with them. One of the person I was very close with was Iman, a girl from Singapore. I believe that the thing which makes me drawn the most to her was the bubbly and chatty personality she has. She’s the type of person that would liven up the situation and wouldn’t think twice to share the experiences and personal learnings she had to others. But other than Iman, I also made a ton of other friends, all from different countries. And with this group of friends, we talked a lot about our experiences and feelings of joining WSC. How we then understand that we are all a first-timer in participating Global Round as well as learning how each and everyone of us deal with all of the pressure and fear. Sadly, I just realized that we didn’t take any pictures together. So even with no documentation, I hope this friendship will last long in our memories.
Continuing to the actual Scavenger Hunt, every team got almost hundreds of mission that have different amount of points if we complete it. So the point of the game was not to complete all of the mission, but to collect the most points out of it.
We had so much fun playing that game, while running around in the mall to complete our missions, and occasionally got confused glare from the other visitors of that mall. Even if at the end, we didn’t know which team won, that made us care less about winning and losing. And focus more on having fun and creating awesome memories with our scavenge teammates.
The next day was the main academic day, when we had the Team Debate, Collaborative Writing, and Scholar’s Challenge. Despite the fact that the academic day is obviously the most nerve-wrecking, after many practices me and my teammates had before going to Manila, I was pretty confident during that day. Especially in the debate.
The debate opponents I got were from Vietnam for the first round, and two teams from India for the second and third rounds. And as usual, the motions were very interesting indeed. The first one was: “That every school principal should spend a month of the year working as janitor”. The next one was: “That science fiction should guide the inventors of new enabling technologies”. And the last one was: “That social media has made it easier to marginalized people”.
As much as I was confident in debate, it was still tricky for me to create and figure out which argument that could defeat my opponent, specifically because my team always got the affirmative side. But then again, thankfully I, and two of my teammates did our best in this section of the competition. We truly learned about what we need to do to be a good debater, what method should we use to be more convincing, and a bunch of other things. So when we realized that we have won all three rounds of debate and learned so many things from it, we were really proud of ourselves.
The only academic event left after the second day was the Scholar’s Bowl, which if you forgot, it is where every team were given a clicker and we must answer the multiple choice question that appears on the screen using that clicker. It was held on the third day, and I’m pretty sure my team got a decent amount of points from it.
On the same day as the Scholar’s Bowl, we had a very tiring yet exciting event which was the Scholar’s Ball. If you’re wondering, the ball is essentially a party to celebrate the end of all of the academic events. It is full of music, snacks, beverages, and people dancing everywhere. To be honest, there’s no personal learning by joining this activity, therefore I think it really was a time for everyone to forget all the stress they had and just to hang around with a bunch of people including most of the WSC staff members. The event lasted until midnight, but me and my friends all agreed to go back to our hotel at 11pm, simply because all of us were tired already.
The other event which also took up most of my energy was the Cultural Fair. This is where scholars have the chance to share their culture with everyone. Schools that participated were given a booth that they can decorate based on the country they are from. My school actually participated on this event, and we already discussed about the things we could present and give as a souvenir to people. Those things includes traditional fabrics, batik hand-held fan, wayang bookmark, ethnic bracelets and keychains, and also several traditional snacks.
In my opinion, with joining the Cultural Fair, it doesn’t only expand my knowledge about other cultures, but it also deepened my understanding about Indonesian culture. These people from around the world who visited my school’s booth definitely want to know more about our culture. Therefore when I explained Indonesian culture to those people, I really need to think fast and accurately to share stories about the cultures and to answer the questions people asked about it. Furthermore, I absolutely love the enthusiasm of everyone in the venue who were always excited to learn something new from other part of this world.
This kind of enthusiasm continues, even until the last day of WSC when we had a keynote speech from a poet whose work is included in this year’s WSC curriculum, and that was Alex Dang! If you don’t know who Alex Dang is, he wrote the poem: ‘What Kind of Asian Are You?’, based on his experience living as an Asian. I really admire that work because it’s full of emotion, rage, and confusion he felt while being marginalized by his society.
That was also what he talked about in his speech. He told us the story about how his parents were immigrants from Vietnam to the United States. Before then telling how he always struggled living as an Asian over there. Racism, discrimination, and bullying happened, and he found out that writing poems are his way to cope through that situation. Then ended his speech by asking us to find our own way to cope with the problems we might face in this world.
Actually, Alex Dang was not the only keynote speaker that was invited to come in the Global Round of WSC. There was also Justin Hamm who gave a speech on our first day of WSC. Same as Alex, Justin Hamm is also a poet whose poem titled ‘Goodbye, Sancho Panza’ is included in the WSC curriculum this year. In his speech he talked more about the meaning behind his poem, which essentially is about him sacrificing his freedom to become a father.
Just by knowing this description, it could be seen the differences between both of those two poets. Scholars themselves were more engaged in hearing Alex Dang’s speech, since he talked with the perspective of millenials, Asian, and just basically a person who aspire to reach his dream. While Justin Hamm talked with the perspective of a father, who has gone through the ups and downs of this world. Nevertheless, despite those big differences, for me both of these poets gave me insights and learnings through their poems and speeches. It made me rethink of who I am and who I actually want to become in the future. And again, I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to directly hear their speeches.
After all of these euphoric memories, of course it is not complete yet without the remarkable events I had on the last day of WSC. However, due to the length of this post that is long enough in my opinion, I will tell the story about that on my next post. So, see you soon!!