Why You Should Take Every Opportunity to Travel

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Why You Should Take Every Opportunity to Travel

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On Saturday March 16th, I departed on a twelve hour journey to Cluj-Napoca, Romania for the International Youth Summit of Transylvania. I can say that it was the most amazing experience of my life, not to mention the most educational trip that I have been on. I got to see many parts of the beautiful country of Romania including the popular cities of Cluj-Napoca and Brașov, which is known for Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle. This trip made me realize the importance of traveling because it broadens your knowledge about the world.

Along with the immense amount of sight-seeing that we did, the conference included three days of intense debate about the topics: the right to education, education for diversity, and the rise of extreme nationalism. The purpose of the debates were to talk about three global issues and come up with solutions that would be put in a manifesto that would be sent to all of our schools. It was enriching to hear about the specific issues going on in the countries that were at the conference.

The other countries that attended the conference were China, Germany, South Africa, U.K., and other schools within Romania. The debates were very professional, as well as, in my opinion, very productive. It was such a good experience to talk to other students from these countries about real issues, while also trying to come up with ways to solve them. The key point of these solutions was that they had to be attainable to implement within each of our schools. At the end of the conference we had all voted in agreement on a total of fifteen solutions to be put into the manifesto.

The most impressive part of this summit to me was the fact that it was entirely student-led. A student of Transylvania College named Erik Birinyi was inspired by the Dominion High School international summit that he attended last year and decided to create his own summit at his school. It took a total of eleven months for these students to plan the summit and they did it all without the help of adults. The student coordinators did everything including finding sponsors for the summit, booking conference rooms for the debates, and organizing all of the events and activities.

It was amazing to me how the summit came together and ran so smoothly. The students had put in so much time into the summit and were beyond stressed about making everything go well until the very end. They made sure that the delegates always had something to do and that their trip was made worth it. The amount of student leadership that this conference entailed was astounding and has showed me that students can really do anything that they set their minds to.

Not only did I learn so much through this summit, but I also forged amazing friendships with people all around the world. I made such strong connections with people I had only known for a week. These friendships made leaving Romania so difficult, but they provided me with so many memories that I will never forget. If I could have chosen to bring them all home with me I would have done it in a heartbeat.

While I did miss a week of school and will now be scrambling to make up the work in four days before the quarter ends, it was all worth it. I have learned more from this summit than I could in any classroom. I got real life experience of what it is like to debate about important issues and what it is like to disagree with people and try to come to a solution. The knowledge that I gained from this trip is something that I will always carry with me. I would strongly recommend that students take the chance to travel internationally whenever they can. It is one of the best ways to gain knowledge first-hand about other countries. It is one of the greatest experiences that you can have and students should take advantage of the amount of opportunities that Dominion provides students to travel.

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