Teens learn from journey to the un-comfort zone

BLANTON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 22/07/2014
Andrew Xiao
ROBERT CHARLES/Fairfax NZ
YOUNG LEADERS: Vanshay Bindra, left, and Andrew Xiao, both 16, have just returned from a leaders' conference in America.

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"Be comfortable being uncomfortable."

That was the best piece of advice Andrew Xiao received while attending the Global Young Leaders Conference in the United States.

"It about testing your limits," the Francis Douglas Memorial College student told the Taranaki Daily News on his return yesterday.

Xiao was one of 25 students from New Plymouth who attended the conference and said the experience was "life changing."

"We basically got given a coaching session in life," the 16-year-old said. "I learnt that it's best to lead as an equal not above someone else."

During the 10-day conference the almost 300 students were split into groups representing different countries from around the world.

As groups they participated in simulated forums and discussed issues like health, science and technology and population control.

"The best thing was meeting so many different people from so many different backgrounds," fellow Francis Douglas student Vanshay Bindra said.

"I learnt to be accepting of all people, that what they do isn't wrong, it's just different," he said.

As well as the simulation exercises the students got the chance to visit several historical places including The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, The White House and the Martin Luther King memorial.

Bindra said another highlight was an evening where people shared things from their culture.

"We brought a whole lot of silver ferns and key chains," Bindra said.

"And pineapple lumps," Xiao added.

After spending more than 18 hours in a plane Bindra said he would spend a couple days recuperating before returning to school.

"It's a teachers' only day today, but I'll probably have tomorrow off too," Bindra said yesterday.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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