Life doesn’t come with warnings. Neither does it make announcements. The things that change your life always happen in the blink of an eye. And one life changing experience happened to nineteen young adults from across the globe in January 2016.
The Melton Foundation is an international organisation promoting global citizenship and as one of those lucky nineteen people, I can without a doubt say this has been the most enriching experience of my life so far.
After eight months of online training on various topics, ranging from Intercultural Communication to Spheres of Influence around us, we finally met for our ‘New Fellows Orientation’ in Darmstadt, Germany. I knew it was going to be three days of extensive learning, interacting and communicating. But what happened was much beyond all that.
Day 1 : Blow your Bubble!
The previous night, we had met for an informal dinner, and despite all the jet lag I was too excited to get to know these people. We met on day 1 at 8 am and our first activity was to share some goodies we had got back from home. By the end of this session, I felt like I had little parts of every country that the other fellows had come from. Chocolates from Ghana, bags from Germany, henna from India , this sharing session was too special. The day progressed with workshops that helped us discover our strengths, our weaknesses and our areas of improvement. Be it effective writing, our role as global citizens in the Melton Foundation, or learning about influence , it was a day of self discovery. The first day taught us to look outside our comfort zones,and voice our thoughts.
Day 2 : The bubble grows
The second day was a day of networking. We started with a workshop on different types of global citizenship, at the local and global level and went on to learn about effective and interesting ways to utilize our spheres of influence, be it our community, universities, or families. The afternoon saw us learning about global leadership and anti-oppression. By the time it was dusk, we were so high on content. Ha-ha. Dinner that night was for networking with like-minded fellows, and workshop presenters and the MF’s executive office members. Together we discussed issues we each cared about, sustainability, LGBTQI empowerment, refugee crisis, health and poverty, to name a few. We dined as one and all the awkwardness from the first day was gone. Our bubble was slowly growing.
Day 3 : The bubble bursts
After a night of music, dancing, fun and games, the third day, nobody seemed to be sitting by themselves or frantically taking notes. It felt like we had known each other for ages. That’s what meeting people of the same wavelength as you does. We began our last day with a workshop on how to take global citizenship back home, and we had a hands-on activity session where we split into groups of four and presented short skits and plays. After this came the ‘impact’ session. It was like magic. For the first two days we were only discussing ideas and now we were in formal full-fledged project teams ready to implement our thoughts. Workshops on design thinking and project analysis only helped us strengthen our ideas and before we knew it, we had our visions and goals clear to us. The day came to an end with a fun session on effective communication and global audiences. By now, our bubble had burst, and it was time to turn thoughts into commitments, and commitments into action.
It’s always hard to say bye, so all we said was ‘Until next time’. The Melton Foundation gives you a new family, a new network, and helps you connect with talented, kind and caring individuals from different parts of the world. And the best part of all this, you feel like you are home. I will end this short report by mentioning my biggest take-away from the New Fellows Orientation,
The world sure does need change makers, but it also needs care takers.