US:Portland - Highlights of First GCC Experience - A Regional Intern Perspective
My first experience with Global Citizens Corps began one week ago as a Regional Intern during the 2012 GCC U.S. National Training. Having never been a part of GCC, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the National Training, but I was extremely excited to meet other leaders, learn about them, learn from them, and work together to make a change.
As the leaders participating in the GCC summit were high school aged and I am currently in university, my role as regional intern was primarily serving as a mentor/trainer/counselor during their weeklong training. In reality, I felt like I was just another leader acquiring new skills and knowledge during the trainings and experiencing everything right along with them because I had not participated in the GCC leadership program before. I did have experience in community outreach mainly through my university’s Community Service Center. Through the CSC, I learned about and raised community awareness in different areas such as human rights, food security, housing, and HIV/AIDS, but nothing like the GCC National Training experience.
My favorite part of the Summit was the opportunity to videoconference with leaders from the other Global Citizens Corps’ country programs. I was very fortunate to be able to speak to three different countries during the week: Indonesia, Iraq, and Tunisia. On Monday, the first day of the training, we were able to speak to youth from Indonesia. That was the first time I had ever been a part of a videoconference of this nature, let alone speak with youth from Indonesia. I wasn’t sure what my expectations were, but after an hour of conversations between our two groups; I was overwhelmed… and in a good way.
When our program staff asked us what we thought of the videoconference, I was the first to speak and as I stood up I could already feel a knot in my throat, but I had to share my experience with the rest of the group and set the grounds for sharing our experiences during the week. As I spoke, the tears rolled down my eyes… to the point that my Puerto Rican self, took over and I even started blurting words out in Spanish! But just talking to other youth about our communities’ issues and the struggles we face as we try to better them was breathtaking and I felt like I was a part of something bigger. And after this week of intensive training, activities, and multiple videoconferences, I can say that GCC is that and more.
GCC is unique because it allows youth like me to establish links with other youth across the globe and creates a network for all of us to share our cultures, lifestyles, challenges, communities, … ourselves. Making the local into global.
Although, I haven’t been a part of GCC for that long, during this time I’ve been able to meet some incredible human beings with different perspectives and ideas to help improve their communities. I’ve felt inspired. I’ve felt empowered. But most importantly, I’ve felt ensured that I can make a difference.