Have you already applied to be a Community Leader?
I might be the one behind the blog, but I also serve as a CL on my college campus! One of my biggest regrets is not having applied for a CL position on my trip to Cape Town as a student, so I was eager to apply for the position upon my return. Luckily, though — While abroad, I was placed in Zach’s community group 🙂
As the semester comes to an end and the guest posts from our 2014 CLs are wrapping up, I’ve selected 6 of the most hardworking and enthusiastic CLs on our team to answer interview questions that will help you better understand what the position entails abroad and at home. Go Global is thrilled with the amount of interest that has been received to fill these positions on each of our trips! We need your help, and we promise to provide you with impactful leadership training along the way.
Luckily, I received overwhelmingly detailed responses to these interview questions — so we’ve decided to make this post a 2-parter! First, let me introduce you to the 3 CLs featured in Part 1.
Zach: LEAD Cape Town 2014 student; LEAD Cape Town and Cape Town Direct 2015 Intern
Elena: LEAD Cape Town 2014 student
Taylor: LEAD Ecuador 2013 student; Cape Town Direct 2014 student; LEAD Greece and Greece Direct 2015 Intern
The variety of locations, positions, and programs these 3 have experienced with us will hopefully give you an idea as to how applicable our leadership training is in any situation. It’s our goal that as you read Zach, Elena, and Taylor’s responses, you’ll get even more excited to come abroad with us this summer! As CLs, we encourage you to make the most of your trip abroad. So without further ado…
1. What drew you to the idea of being a CL?
Zach: “I wanted to get the most out of my experience. If I was going to be learning about leadership, I wanted to practice it as well.”
Elena: “I was not initially a CL when abroad in Cape Town. After watching and listening to the experiences of other CLs, I knew I wanted to become more involved with Go Global and was instantly attracted to the role.”
Taylor: “I always liked the idea of being more involved with Go Global and applying to be a CL was the first step to doing so.”
2. What were your top 3 takeaways from being a CL? What did you learn, and what did you gain?
“a. Being a CL forces you to meet people as soon as you get on the ground.
b. Your peers look up to you as an example.
c. You get really close with your community group and other CLs.”
“a. Confidence- Speaking in front of groups no longer intimidates me.
b. Connectedness/Family- Being a CL allows you to be much more connected to the Go Global team and family.
c. Teamwork- While you will have to work to meet deadlines and complete tasks, the team supporting you is FABULOUS! When you work with an efficient and fun team, the ‘work’ part is easy!”
“a. I definitely learned how to be a better listener. Being a CL is a challenging role in balancing leading the group but also finding a way to get everyone involved so it’s not just you talking–which is the case for all leadership roles. I guess you can say I became a better leader by challenging myself to become a better listener.
b. I gained a different perspective on what is most important to different people through the values lesson. Being able to lead a small discussion inside of my group and hear how different life experiences make you value certain things more. It gave me the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes for the day.
c. I also gained confidence in myself-as a leader, a traveler, and all in all, just in my own skin. Being a CL pushed me to believe in myself without really even any effort. Just being placed in that role naturally created a better version of myself and in the end that’s more than I could’ve ever asked for.”
3. What were the advantages/perks of being a CL? The extra fun stuff!
Zach: “You get to plan events for other students, go to a penthouse dinner, and get closer with the staff.”
Elena: “The trip to Atlanta is definitely the highlight of being a CL. It was so fun to reconnect with staff and friends as well as meet people on the other Go Global programs!”
Taylor: “You immediately meet everyone! The people in my small groups in both Ecuador and Cape Town were probably my closest friends on the trip. Those groups really created some type of special bond. My FAVORITE perk from being a CL on Cape Town Direct was one morning our Program Director, Pierce, and the two interns, Chris and Kelsey, cooked us breakfast. We got to hang out with Ish and his family and play with his little son. It’s crazy now because at the time, I had no idea in a year I would get the opportunity to intern alongside Pierce and Kelsey now in Greece. Being a CL opened up those doors for me.”
4. How has being a CL helped you in other areas of your life outside of Go Global?
Zach: “It helped get me out of my shell. If I could meet 7 strangers and become really close to them (on the trip in my community group), I could do that with anybody I met simply by using everything I learned in Cape Town.”
Elena: “Being a CL has helped my leadership skills and public speaking ability. I am much more confident in my abilities to lead and portray information to a large or small group of people. You learn so much from other CLs and the Go Global staff.”
Taylor: “Honestly I could say being a CL has helped me in all areas of my life. Having that leadership role abroad in a foreign country is such a eye-grabber on a resume. It was definitely an important role in being voted Social Chair of my sorority 2 years in a row, getting my Tilt ambassador job, and the role as a Panhellenic Sigma Rho Chi for this upcoming fall recruitment. It’s actually funny: both Joanna and Pierce were in Alabama during my interviews and walked me through the entire process, then we laughed right after because I thought I blew it–luckily I didn’t! But, they were the first ones I texted when I got the email saying that I was one of the ones selected!
One of my coolest jobs I got this year was a Taaluma Totes ambassador. Crazy thing is — I got that job because of an Instagram I posted from my Cape Town Direct trip! They commented on it, and then my job just kind of fell into place. They recently just were featured on ABC’s Shark Tank! If you’re needing a cool travel backpack for you trips, you should actually check out their website: (www.carryacountry.com). Part of the money goes toward micro loans to the 3rd world countries the fabrics are from, too!”
5. What advice would you give to this summer’s CLs to make their experiences the best they can be?
“a. Make yourself vulnerable. This will let your group know it’s okay to open up to you and the rest of the group.
b. Hang out with other CLs. They can relate to what you’re experiencing.
c. Enjoy each and every meeting you have with your group because time flies.
d. Definitely go to the ATL retreat.
e. Get to know the TA’s and teachers. They are an integral part of your experience that can often be overlooked with so many students to get to know.
f. LIVE IT UP! Just have fun! Do things that scare you. This is 5 weeks where you can truly live without a comfort zone where nobody will judge you (because they are in the same boat as you).”
Elena: “BE YOURSELF, make a fool out of yourself, participate in everything and anything, volunteer for things such as starring in a “Morning WOW,”meet as many people as possible, talk to your interns, program directors, and the rest of the Go Global Staff (they truly are the heart and soul of this program and they can offer you so much valuable knowledge, friendship, and support!)”
Taylor: “Dive into it 100% and don’t hold back! You’re going to make a million friends so quickly and this group is going to become your family. The most important thing I can tell you is to listen. It truly is an incredible quality in a person if you can listen to someone and truly hear them rather than just waiting till its your turn to respond. Make time every week for a group dinner or group activity outside of the scheduled time. Our groups in Ecuador all went to the store and cooked a fun meal one time and then went to the park to celebrate the 4th of July. That’s definitely one of my favorite memories.”
6. What were actual your responsibilities/duties as a CL?
“a. Stimulate conversation
b. Provide an example for other students
c. Lead activities within your group.”
“a. Attend Weekend Leadership Conference in ATL
b. Give pitches around campus to spread the word about Go Global
c. Connect with past Go Global students
d. Connect with future Go Global students
e. Write guest blog posts, answer interview questions, etc.”
Taylor: “My responsibilities as a CL were to lead small group discussions and build a community abroad. It’s way easier than it may sound, and it’s so much fun. You pretty much start the conversation and everyone builds off of it–and you learn so much about each other. Honestly it didn’t even feel like a responsibility; it was more of a role to be proud of.”
What will you do to build a sense of community abroad this summer? If you haven’t applied for a CL position yet…it’s not too late! Contact a Go Global staff member or comment on this post. We’re here to help you make the most of your Go Global Experience.
Stay tuned for Part 2! Especially GO: Rome students…it features your 2 interns for this upcoming summer!
-Anna and the Go Global team