A Life Changing Experience The experience of the APEC Youth Science festival was incredible. It has had an enormous impact on me in many ways, changing the way I look at the world and connecting me with people and events far beyond my formerly limited experience. I am extremely glad to have had this opportunity. It was a wonderful experience on multiple levels. It challenged me and expanded me intellectually and socially. I feel that this experience has had an immense impact on me.
Through this program I had first-hand access to some of the brightest young minds in both the United States and the world. The sharing among students of ideas and experiences in science, and in other areas as well, was enlightening. I felt like I had the chance to absorb knowledge from those around me. This environment spread beyond the students and also included the faculty and speakers. We had access to incredible faculty who were able to give much to the experience and share their own science insights. The program also brought in speakers and other science professionals from around the world who were at the top of their respective fields. This festival gave me real access to the movers and shakers of the science world, an experience beyond any available to me anywhere else.
The most fascinating aspect of this experience, for me, was the exposure to new cultures. This includes the twist culture puts on science. I found huge difference in the viewpoints of many cultures towards science related issues surprising. For instance many cultures had vastly different ways of looking at the forthcoming issues surrounding the implications of genetic engineering. The Asian and American cultures were very different in many work habit areas as well. There was an interesting group dynamic as culturally mixed groups strove to collectively complete group projects. The cultural sharing in science went beyond how questions were answered to how they were asked to which questions were most important and even which questions were addressed. while observing the cultural spin on science and work habits was an interesting pastime, the true wonder was cultural sharing on a greater scale.
This program exposed me to Asian cultures in a way I had never thought possible. Living in an Asian country, even for only a week, and being mixed with students from around the world brought me face to face with cultures I had never before truly experienced. The cultural performances, put on by every economy, (even, shame, the United States), allowed cultures to proudly exhibit themselves and their history. These exhibitions were an incredible experience. The presentations were beautifully done, and exposed true slices of coveted cultures in a sharing atmosphere. The sharing of culture reached beyond these performances. Students exchanged small gifts, shared stories and songs, taught snippets of languages, shared dances and foods, clothing and accents were compared. In short cultures were exposed and shared on a large scale as similarities as well as differences were found. Friendships were created that transcended and thrived on cultural variation. Long bus rides provided the opportunity for various cultures to share with his or her bus mates songs from their culture, my bus mates and I spent hours singing in various languages and gyrating our hands in childish song accompaniments. ?? ??I made many friends through the festival both from the United States and from abroad. My E-mail is now constantly clogged with messages from around the States and from around the globe. While I struggle to keep open these contacts and maintain these valuable friendships, I am thankful for the opportunity that created them. The APEC Youth Science Festival brought together incredible students, from many countries, with similar interests and put them in a positive situation where bonding across cultures was not only possible but inevitable. I remember vividly the closing celebration, as hundreds of students from around the world mixed in joyful celebration. The dance floor a mass of mixed cultures reveling in the moment and sharing a special time, the stage an opportunity for each culture to momentarily separate itself and share its individuality. I think that this image exemplifies the APEC Youth Science Festival. This Festival was a sharing and a mixing of culture, a bringing together of various different viewpoints to attack problems facing the entire globe. At the same time though, it was a chance to celebrate our differences and share them, for the differences in our cultures make us stronger when we unite to face the challenges of the future.