After the final presentation for the first round, we got into our small groups to plan for the second round. That evening, the American students also celebrated Nathaniel's birthday with his small group.
I had a great time at the Qingdao Leadership Convention. It was really interesting to meet new people from a different culture. Everyone felt very welcoming and friendly. For the first round, we worked with students from China and we had to learn how to work together even though we were not together very much. The Q&A section of our presentation was a little disappointing because we were told that there would be a translator but there wasn't anyone there to help us translate. This made it difficult for us to understand the questions and for us to effectively communicate our answers. The second round was the most challenging. Again, it was difficult to communicate with the Chinese students, but I was very fortunate to have a nice group. They tried to help me understand what they were discussing, however the subject that they were discussing was not one that I could relate to because of our cultures. I tried to contribute as much as I could but I felt that I was generally a useless member of their group. Despite all of this, I still learned a lot from this experience and had a lot of fun.
The Qingdao camp was very interesting. Actually, a week before the camp had started, I wasn't even aware there was more than one round. I had honestly thought that the project we started working on before was the entire competition. I worked in a group with Priscilla Wu and five Chinese students. Our topic was regarding peer support in depression. We didn't get a lot of time to practice presenting together, less than a couple hours, but the presentation ended up going very well. Our group even go to present a second time for the final round of the first round. I'm not sure if I remember correctly, but I think our team got 11th place. While I was obviously disappointed we didn't score higher, I was definately proud there we were able to make it to the final around. I think the part of the first round that made me the most nervous was the Q&A portion. Fortunately, I didn't end up having to answer any questions. The first time we presented however, our translator spoke very quietly and I had a really hard time hearing her, so I didn't understand what the judges were asking regardless. The second time, our translator translated everything using a microphone before we answered, and then also translated the answers for us, so I understood more the second time. The presentation itself was also fine, although I'm a little embarrassed to admit that the second time we presented, I completely forgot what I was supposed to say for one of the slides. Overall, presenting was fine, though. The second round was my least favorite of all three rounds because there wasn't anyone in my team that could clearly speak or understand English, not even my coach. It wasn't helpful that our presentation topic was a very strange one. In the end, the only way I contributed at all to the second round was presenting one slide. The language barrier was extremely apparent here. The third round, however, was my favorite!! I think I had the most fun during the debate, mostly because I like to have discussions like that. I think the biggest issue during our debate was that we kept interrupting each other, although not maliciously or on purpose. The judges, supposedly, really liked our debate. I really enjoyed this camp, and I made a lot of good friends though it that I, hopefully, remain in contact with for a very long time.
The Qingdao Leadership Convention was a really fun experience and I learned a lot. It was quite different from the 2018 convention in Shanghai, even though it was the same organization. For the first round, we worked with Chinese students and learned about how they work together and present. When we actually went to present, we were a little surprised by how small the stage was, especially compared to last year. We could barely fit all our team members on stage! What was even more surprising was the Q&A part. Some questions were really hard and irrelevant to our project. For the second round, I was able to meet a lot of different people and learn about the work styles of different people and how to work with these different styles. At first, my group wasn't very accepting of me. For the Gold of Desert King event, I realized that I had a very interesting group. Mainly a small group did all the work while the rest of the group did meaningless tasks, which slowly became the rest of the group going on their phones. When we actually started on the project, the group worked in the same way. Only after our coach told them that they could use the Hong Kong and American student did they include us, but they only asked us about our experiences in the US and HK. When I asked them what I could do to help, they always told me that there wasn't anything they needed help with. Because of this, more than half of the group spent the time on their phones. However, towards the end, the rest of the group was able to contribute more and we became closer as a group. For the third round, It was quite similar to last year, but the topic was much less controversial. We also discussed the topic before going on stage. Compared to last year, I definitely built closer relationships with the other students, both American and Chinese, that came to the convention.