A Love Letter To NSCF

By Leslie Dawe

My experiences at the National Student Commonwealth Forum (NSCF) have encouraged me to be a better person in ways I have never before thought to be possible. When accepted, I had to study and learn about a given topic for a commonwealth country with an assigned partner. As well, I had to prepare for a trip to the capital, Ottawa, by myself. When there, I had to be a responsible adult and work out my own transportation.

The hardest thing about this trip was preparing for flight.  I had to choose how much I wanted to take and decide what I actually needed for the week in regards to business attire and casual clothing. The week had a lot of business meetings and such. While doing this, I realized exactly what standard women were put to while in the business world. Women in some professional workplaces are required to wear high heels, while others are a little less formal and need a nice long top and you can comfortably wear leggings. I chose to wear comfortable leggings and long shirts because while walking around the city of Ottawa I did not think I would be happy or comfortable in dresses and dress pants with heels. (Just my preference) As well, leggings and long tops seem to be more affordable than a bunch of dresses and shoes or even dress pants. Leggings are also easier to pack and are able to be used for both casual and for business.

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While in Ottawa doing the NSCF program, I had to make friends and had to get along with others. During the meeting where I represented New Zealand, my assigned country, I was the acting foreign minister for that country. This meant that I had to negotiate for ‘New Zealand’ in the conference and make sure all ideas and decisions would not hinder my country or the wellbeing of the people in my country. Quite a stressful situation even though it was not a real thing.

The whole experience gave me insight into what I will face in a few months when I begin living in the real world as an adult. As stated by Colin Powell, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Each experience in your life will help you in the next steps of your life. On this trip, I have learned that I am not as shy as I once was. I also determined that I will not be going into politics. I enjoyed making friends that will last a lifetime - including one from Australia. This experience has led me to being a better person in the long run, and I hope one day to do something like it again.