One of the most unique and beneficial components of our curriculum on Go Global is the leadership training. Whether you’re serving as a Community Leader, a Service Leader, or even just listening attentively in class and making a point to apply the information to your own actions, you are sure to grow leaps and bounds upon completion of our program.
Community Leader and LEAD Cape Town 2014 student Elena Michiels is a great example of understanding and appreciating this curriculum, so she’d like to share with you what it was about the leadership training that changed her life so positively.
How Go Global Helped Me be a Leader
By: Elena Michiels
“Traveling changes you. Not only can it change your character, values, or personality, but traveling halfway around the world impacts you in other ways. For me, traveling to Cape Town with Go Global was a once in a lifetime, life-altering experience. Going abroad with Go Global opened my eyes to a fascinating new culture, a rich new history, and to a new me.
Prior to Go Global, I always considered myself a follower. I was in no way, shape, or form, a “leader.” I did not hold any meaningful titles or positions. I did what made me comfortable and only what was within an arms reach. I was scared of being vulnerable because I was scared of failure.
Abroad, I learned that leadership is so much more than holding a title or position. Reflecting on the “study” part of studying abroad, I remember reading an article called, “The Law of Influence.” This article made a great claim: “leadership is influence.” This simple quote, along with my personal experiences, taught me so much abroad. Leadership is not determined by a title or a position, but rather the influence one has on another. People of influence model the way, motivate, and mentor others. Miss Cheryl, a soup mom in Sir Lowery’s Pass, South Africa, taught me so much about being an influential leader without a title.
Miss Cheryl leads the mothers and children in her community. Her leadership is not based on her position as a soup mom, but rather her character, relationships, knowledge, intuition, experience, and ability. It was powerful to watch Miss Cheryl positively influence others as a leader in her community.
After retuning to the states, I realized that “leadership” is not dependent on holding a position. I am a member of a community who is a person of influence. I am a leader because I want to make a positive difference and serve as a role model in my community.
This past semester, I had the amazing opportunity to lead 20 incoming freshman and sophomores through the sorority recruitment process as a Recruitment Counselor. While this may not seem like a “huge” leadership position to most, it was definitely one of my top 2 college experiences (second best to studying abroad). I can honestly say that Go Global empowered me to become the best Recruitment Counselor possible. I developed meaningful, vulnerable, and lifelong relationships with other Panhellenic Recruitment Counselors while helping to implement a value-based recruitment process that is so necessary in this day in age. As leaders, we kept each other going even in the most difficult of times, challenged one another, and learned from our successes and failures. With my recruitment group, I was able to become vulnerable and lead them through a positive growing process. Counseling them, watching them grow, and supporting them through the college experience has been a blessing. I wanted these women to become a part of my family, just as the Go Global made me apart of their family. I did not want this experience to last a week, but rather a lifetime. Go Global empowered me to be a leader.
I know as I continue on through this crazy journey called life, I will continue to be a person of influence. It is important to use my strengths to lead others through positive influence. Whether I hold an official position or not, I have the ability to make a difference through my leadership. So as we say in the LEAD family, “Don’t just go, (but) LEAD.”
Here are my personal tips and tricks for getting the most out of our leadership training:
1. Listen in class.
This one is easy! Like Elena remembers to this day a specific article and quote that helped her reevaluate her personal leadership style, you can make the most out of your experience just by paying attention. What a concept!
2. Apply or volunteer for a position.
While Elena explains (and we agree) that leadership is influence rather than a title, a position is still a great way to put your skills to use. Go Global offers endless opportunities to serve as a leader on our trips. We’ll use all the help we can get, and you’ll grow in the process. A win-win.
3. Re-establish your personal leadership style.
In addition to the readings that you’ll be assigned and the quotes we’ll discuss in class (see number 1), we’ll do a lot of assignments about our strengths and values. The more you understand how your strengths and values build your character and make you who you are, the better you’ll be able to use them. It’s our goal that you leave our program with a working knowledge of the way that you personally lead others.
2 months till departure. Who’s ready for takeoff? Let’s get out there and LEAD!
-Anna and the Go Global team