At 7 a.m. on Saturday, I boarded a plane with my 3 fellow Arizona representatives for the World Affairs Seminar with not an inkling of what to expect. After a day filled with multiple flights, an hour-long layover, countless naps interrupted by the captain telling useless information, sarcastic remarks amongst my travel group, and a switch in time-zone, I made it to Wisconsin.
I have to admit: Nathan (the other student from Hamilton) and I spent the bus ride from the airport to Carroll University where the Seminar took place talking primarily about the landscape. Wisconsin is an endless green horizon. The houses have no fences declaring the boundaries of their property, and the atmosphere is similar to that of Tennessee: warm and inviting.
Once at the University, we received name-tags, the room to our dorms, and a "bunch of free stuff" including a sad-looking postcard and a rain poncho... classy. I then wheeled my heavier-than-I-remember suitcase to my room for the week. It's not exactly the prettiest part of the campus with its beat-up wood furniture and plastic-coated mattress, but it's tolerable for the week. My Wisconsin-native roommate is fantastic, though. We've had hilarious discussions on the glorious accents of our delegates and the difference in our ways of life (her graduating class has less than one-hundred kids!).
The rest of the campus is absolutely beautiful! Hidden beneath the classical white-stone, church-esque buildings are state of the art classrooms with some very plushy swivel chairs. But, the best part of the seminar has to be the outrageously diverse population. This year, we have students from 18 different countries, and so far I've shared ice-cream with a Norwegian, sang karaoke with a South-Korean, watched Miss U.S.A. with an Austrian (that was an interesting conversation, to say the least...), learned the Party Rock shuffle with a girl from Grand Cayman, and played "Never Have I Ever" with a Brit. Everyone here has such amazing personalities and interesting stories that I'm starting to feel like I'm learning more just by talking to them than the actual lectures.
On a tangent, whenever I tell people that I'm from Arizona, the typical response is: "Wow! That's so cool! You don't have much of an accent for being from the South, though." I don't have the heart to tell them that we don't talk like Hicks in Chandler....
So, it's now day three of the Seminar, and already caffeine isn't a sufficient replacement of lost hours of sleep. But doing a shameless rendition of the Black Eyed Peas classic "My Humps" in front of 75 people in Karaoke followed by talking about everything from cute things boyfriends say (Sorry Zach, I just had to join in!) to hilariously embarrassing stories over pizza with eight phenomenal girls at one in the morning was worth every yawn this afternoon.
There is so much more I want to say, but a thriving discussion on sustainable resources awaits me. I'll check in again as soon as I can! Hope you all are having a great summer.