China experience of a lifetime

Abigale Bush and Stefan Ebanks were
among the outstanding high school scholars from around the world who
participated in the Global Young Leaders Conference in Beijing, China, this

Both seniors of John Gray High School
were grateful to Cayman National for its financial support.

“We are pleased to be able to
support our students again this year in affording them this distinctive
opportunity to collaborate with their peers from around the world,” said Cayman
National’s Corporate Communications Senior Executive Claudia Welds. “An
investment in our youth is an investment in the future of these Islands.”

Each year the conference takes
place in either Washington, D.C., and New York or Beijing, Hang Zhou and
Shanghai. This year’s theme was The Leaders of Tomorrow Preparing for the
Global Challenges and Responsibilities of the Future. Students met leaders and
newsmakers with influence over politics, finance, culture and diplomacy and
took part in a leadership skills building curriculum.

“This trip was one of the most
amazing experiences I’ve ever had,” said Abigale.

“The most rewarding part of the
entire trip would have to be the immersion into a completely different culture
than my own and learning to adapt.”

She said her favourite part of the
conference was going to one university’s English corner and speaking with
students trying to develop their English skills.

“To them, it was amazing to see
someone who was 16-years-old from the other side of the world when they had never
even been out of China,” she said.

“To see the Great Wall of China (an
item on the top of my list of things I wanted to do before I die) and being
able to attend the Shanghai World Expo and see where the 2008 Beijing Olympics
was held, were other highlights of my trip.”

Stefan said his trip to China was
the most exciting and influential he had ever taken.

“In addition to learning about
China’s population control and economical issues, there was also the art of
Chinese cooking to be digested,” he said.

“The trip was mind-explosive in
that you didn’t just learn about global issues but, you learnt about oneself.
The trip to China exposed my strengths and weakness when referring to
leadership qualities and also allowed new qualities within me to surface.”

He said the Chinese experience was
one he will remember for a long time; many friendships were created, many
thoughts and ideas were shared and various cultures were brought to life. 

“It was a life changing experiment
that exposed me to future minds of this world,” he said.