(All photos courtesy of Jasen Lo)
Pre-departure training is an integral part of Global Citizen Year, as it’s the first time that the fellows come together as a global cohort. We spend half of our time in the Redwoods of Northern California, and the other half at Stanford University in Palo Alto. These first eight days are a time for meeting new friends, forming bonds, learning about our future home countries, moving into our stretch zones, and exploring new leadership roles. By the end of Pre-departure training, fellows are part of one cohesive and supportive group, and are equipped with a set of skills that will take them into their countries with confidence.
Highlights of Pre-departure Training:
Welcome from our founder, Abby Falik, took place on the first full day of Predeparture training. Abby gave us some inspiring words for our years ahead, and some wise advice on learning and benefitting from failures that can actually present new opportunities..
Speak Ups are short (roughly 5 minute) speeches delivered by fellows, alumni, staff, or other leaders to the cohort. They are an opportunity for one person to share about an issue or an observation, and for the cohort to listen and gain some insight into another’s experiences. Speak ups can be on any topic, and this year’s topics have ranged from embracing discomfort while abroad, to slam poems about body image. Afterward, listeners share their commentary and feedback on the speaker’s story.
Guest Speakers present to the cohort many times throughout PDT, sharing their advice for our time abroad, their thoughts and wisdom on global issues, and potential solutions to these problems.. This year’s speakers have touched on everything from the sustainability of global development efforts to mindfulness and meditation, from improv and storytelling to the role of capitalism in the world economy. Our speakers have included social activists and entrepreneurs from Change.org, the Global Fund for Women, Google, and many more.
Leadership Trainings take place in the form of navigational challenges. We worked in small teams to navigate the Alliance Redwoods Center and track down several caches. We learned some important lessons about teamwork and cooperation along the way.
Dyads are one-on-one talks between fellows. They serve to improve our listening abilities and help deepen our understanding of one another.
Cohort Bonding is one of the best aspects of Pre-departure training. This week is a time for all of the fellows to be together as a global cohort, and to get to know fellows who will be traveling to other countries, in addition to our own country cohort. These bonds, both within our own countries and abroad, will help support us and show us some perspective during our bridge years.