Spirit's Changemaker Viktoriia P. and her Civic Leadership Summit Experience

October 25, 2016

Five of Spirit’s Summer Work & Travel students were invited to participate in CIEE’s Civic Leadership Summit in August. This three day summit took place at American University in Washington D.C. and brought together 62 young leaders from 33 countries. 

Greetings! First of all I would like to gratitude Spirit for the great opportunity to be the part of the Work and Travel Program 2016 and for the selection to be a participant in the Civic Leadership Summit. You have made my Summer 2016 unforgettable!

This summer I was really lucky not only to visit the country, which I wanted to visit from my childhood but moreover I was one of the 62 participants of Work and Travel program who was selected to the Civic Leadership Summit among 20,000 other participants from over 33 different countries.

The main point of the Civic Leadership Summit was “Be a changemaker”. During the Summit we went to interactive sessions about discrimination, improving the level of education in some countries, women's and environmental issues.  During the workshops we discussed the problems existing in our own countries and tried to find causes and solutions for the existing problems. We identified our passions to create change for social issues, and then worked in groups to develop plans for launching our own social ventures in our home countries.

We had to learn how to work in a team, to learn and listen to each other and find compromises. We presented our "projects" in front of other teams, and even to random passersby in the American University. We had to present our project to the passersby in the university, considering them like the potential sponsors and asking them if we enforced our projects if they would invest in our project.

All these sessions formed an impression regarding the way of the education is in the United States. In addition, we listened lectures on inspirational and ambitious topics on global issues and ways to address and solve them, and the main solution was: "start with yourself."

It is so incredible how in three days in the capital of the United States different people from around the world can change your life. On the Civic Leadership Summit I experienced and explore the spirit of diversity. I have met the most ambitious and passionate people from 33 countries. They inspired me and shared their passion, experiences, lifestyles and culture with me. It was a great experience. I realize I have grown personally and culturally from the short three days in the Summit. The Civic Leadership Summit helped me to believe in myself more and gave me a faith that I can be a changemaker. I will never forget amazing people who empowered me to believe change is possible. I want to thank CIEE for making this happen and making us feel proud.

By applying for this program you will be definitely surprised how your life will change after this Summit. You could look at the social justice and civic leadership from different perspectives, will hear the experience of other young leaders from different corners of the world. And explore one of the most beautiful and exciting city in the United States. And of course coming back to your own country inspired and full of energy and make the change that you want to see in the world.
The Summer Work Travel program has been a truly amazing experience. I left United States not only with newly gained knowledge on American culture, politics and law but also with a broader, more open minded and greater understanding of other international cultures.