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Local student attending international leadership camp in Mexico


STELLARTON – As an ambassador with the Nova Scotia International Student Program, Madalyn Nielsen helps students from other countries integrate at Northumberland Regional High School.

On Friday she will have the chance to reverse roles when she travels to Mexico to attend the Nova Scotia – Campeche International Leadership Camp.

“I volunteer to help international students adjust to school life and culture, and guide them to get involved in other activities they’re interested in,” she said. “It will be neat to see it from the other side.”

Nielsen, a Grade 11 student, received a scholarship to attend the camp. She is one of 21 students from Nova Scotia who will participate, and the only Pictou County student.

“I think it will kind of broaden my global mindset,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the language training, understanding other cultures better, and becoming more of a global citizen.”

The Nova Scotia – Campeche International Leadership Camp is held for two weeks each March. Canadian students are matched with Mexican students, who become their host families and leadership partners.

Campeche is a UNESCO World Heritage city with many cultural sites to visit and explore. During the trip, Nielsen will have the opportunity to take part in leadership training and to take daily Spanish lessons, along with team-building activities and social justice projects.

As an International Baccalaureate student, she’s looking forward to being “completely immersed in this culture” and to learning a third language, as she also speaks French.

“I had to go through an application process and write a letter on why I wanted to go and how it would benefit me in the future,” she said. “I thought it would be a really great experience.”

Students participating in the international leadership camp were selected based on outstanding leadership skills in their school and community, along with the written essay, principal and teacher recommendations, academic achievement and community involvement.

As a school ambassador and one of the leaders of the NRHS International Buddies, she volunteers with the 18 international students hosted by NRHS this semester, who come from a wide range of countries, including China, Japan, Brazil, France, Germany, Columbia and Mexico.

One of the students is actually from Campeche, which is located in the southeast part of the country. “It’s really cool getting to talk to him before the trip and after the trip getting my perspective and his. I’m really looking forward to that too.”

She’s been involved with NSISP since she was in Grade 9. “I really enjoy it,” she said.

As part of the trip, Nielsen will be involved with a service project working with underprivileged youth dealing with cancer at Amanc Centre, which in Spanish means Mexican Association of Aid to Children with Cancer.

“I think the service project will open my eyes more to some of the things happening in our world. I’m really looking forward to working with underprivileged youth with cancer. I want to help out in any way I can.”

To that end, Nielsen raised money and collected items such as toys, games, books, stuffed animals, toothpaste, toothbrushes, flashlights, cameras and batteries to take with her to give to Amanc Centre.

Nielsen’s own travel and accommodation expenses are covered through the scholarship, so any funds raised will be given to the cancer support centre.

The trip isn’t Nielsen’s first international service experience. In March last year, she participated in a Me to We trip to Kenya where she assisted with a building project at a girls high school.

“I was able to see extreme poverty first-hand and I met the most humble people in Kenya who appreciate everything that they have, and have so much love in their hearts.”

She met Kenyan students, walked with local people to get water, and took part in cultural experiences such as participating in Maasai beading, which is a source of alternative income for local women.

“This experience changed my appreciation for basic things such as my education and it will stay with me for the rest of my life,” Nielsen said.

“I am very much looking forward to traveling to Campeche where I will take part in my second international service project and understand about poverty in another part of the world while experiencing another amazing culture.”

On Friday she will have the chance to reverse roles when she travels to Mexico to attend the Nova Scotia – Campeche International Leadership Camp.

“I volunteer to help international students adjust to school life and culture, and guide them to get involved in other activities they’re interested in,” she said. “It will be neat to see it from the other side.”

Nielsen, a Grade 11 student, received a scholarship to attend the camp. She is one of 21 students from Nova Scotia who will participate, and the only Pictou County student.

“I think it will kind of broaden my global mindset,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the language training, understanding other cultures better, and becoming more of a global citizen.”

The Nova Scotia – Campeche International Leadership Camp is held for two weeks each March. Canadian students are matched with Mexican students, who become their host families and leadership partners.

Campeche is a UNESCO World Heritage city with many cultural sites to visit and explore. During the trip, Nielsen will have the opportunity to take part in leadership training and to take daily Spanish lessons, along with team-building activities and social justice projects.

As an International Baccalaureate student, she’s looking forward to being “completely immersed in this culture” and to learning a third language, as she also speaks French.

“I had to go through an application process and write a letter on why I wanted to go and how it would benefit me in the future,” she said. “I thought it would be a really great experience.”

Students participating in the international leadership camp were selected based on outstanding leadership skills in their school and community, along with the written essay, principal and teacher recommendations, academic achievement and community involvement.

As a school ambassador and one of the leaders of the NRHS International Buddies, she volunteers with the 18 international students hosted by NRHS this semester, who come from a wide range of countries, including China, Japan, Brazil, France, Germany, Columbia and Mexico.

One of the students is actually from Campeche, which is located in the southeast part of the country. “It’s really cool getting to talk to him before the trip and after the trip getting my perspective and his. I’m really looking forward to that too.”

She’s been involved with NSISP since she was in Grade 9. “I really enjoy it,” she said.

As part of the trip, Nielsen will be involved with a service project working with underprivileged youth dealing with cancer at Amanc Centre, which in Spanish means Mexican Association of Aid to Children with Cancer.

“I think the service project will open my eyes more to some of the things happening in our world. I’m really looking forward to working with underprivileged youth with cancer. I want to help out in any way I can.”

To that end, Nielsen raised money and collected items such as toys, games, books, stuffed animals, toothpaste, toothbrushes, flashlights, cameras and batteries to take with her to give to Amanc Centre.

Nielsen’s own travel and accommodation expenses are covered through the scholarship, so any funds raised will be given to the cancer support centre.

The trip isn’t Nielsen’s first international service experience. In March last year, she participated in a Me to We trip to Kenya where she assisted with a building project at a girls high school.

“I was able to see extreme poverty first-hand and I met the most humble people in Kenya who appreciate everything that they have, and have so much love in their hearts.”

She met Kenyan students, walked with local people to get water, and took part in cultural experiences such as participating in Maasai beading, which is a source of alternative income for local women.

“This experience changed my appreciation for basic things such as my education and it will stay with me for the rest of my life,” Nielsen said.

“I am very much looking forward to traveling to Campeche where I will take part in my second international service project and understand about poverty in another part of the world while experiencing another amazing culture.”

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