#UCSDTCCA Summer Journey – Lydia Kung

Meet Lydia Kung, one of our fantastic officers from Secretary Team 😀 ! 

This girl is always super smiley and silly :). If you’re having a bad day, she’ll be sure to make you laugh. A LOT. Let’s see what this 3rd year Muir student has to say about her TC-related summer ❤ .

YA@UN 2015 Reflection

            When I first heard of the Youth Assembly at the United Nations, I was drawn to the opportunity of listening to important figures talking about international affairs. Little did I know, it was the other parts of camp that made it memorable. Although the actual UN conference did not live up to my expectations, the pre-camp was the part that made the six-day camp worthwhile.

To introduce the “Power of 5” campaign, each group made posters to bring to Times Square to promote saving time, water, money, gas, and energy.

Upon arrival in New York, I was afraid that I would not find close friends with this year’s attendees, like what usually happens with other summer camps. Instead, I found a safe haven within the array of Tzu Chings. Before coming to this camp, previous attendees have said that the pre-camp was the best part of YA@UN. I didn’t believe that until after the first day of the actual UN conference. Because we all had to wake up early, walk to the TC office every day together in two neat lines with all the proper ninety-degree turns, and struggle to stay awake during class throughout the day (and occasionally wake each other up), we became incredibly comfortable with each other. The girls made “hair braiding trains” every morning to help each other get our braids done faster. Even the SG’s joined in! Meal times were the best bonding time, as we talked freely while we ate the SG’s delicious vegetarian meals. I personally loved eating watermelon during the hot days, so my group, amusingly called the “Sketchy Ramen,” always joked about me never having enough melon to eat. Because we had so many conversations that allowed us to know each other better and invent inside jokes, meal times were my personal favorite part. The opportunities to get comfortable with each other made pre-camp the most fun part of the entire six-day camp.

The actual conference was more of a disappointment, although I did meet interesting delegates. I had expected the conference to feature international ambassadors talking about their countries and policies, what is currently wrong with the policies, and how to fix them. Instead, the majority of the program was all panels and discussions with the audience. In that situation, I was thankful for the Sustainable Development Goals research that we had done in pre-camp. Honestly, I learned more from the SDG presentations that each group had to prepare during pre-camp than from the entire conference. The conference was so boring to me, I fell asleep for most of the time. I only interacted with people in the very beginning of the day, when delegates were networking with each other, and during lunch, when Tzu Chings invited guests to eat with us. It was interesting to meet people around my age and ask them why they attended the conference. Their answers ranged from simple interest, to attending because a friend was going as well. My favorite part was the New Zealand mission because we got to visit another country’s headquarters and hear about it with a smaller group. I managed to stay awake all of the third and final day of the conference. I thought the panels were boring, although they were insightful for many other delegates. The staff showed a few movies, which were interesting documentaries about empowering other races and genders. Ironically, the movies were more interesting than the countries’ representatives’ speeches. Overall, I had a very good sleep during the conference, and it was a good experience for the parts that I was awake for.

The closing ceremony was the most special time during this camp. It was touching to hear everybody’s opinions on what happened throughout our six short days together. Everyone expressed gratitude to each other for making this such a memorable experience, and was glad to have found such a comfortable group to be with. We really did connect on more than a friend level in that week; we were family.

Although the YA@UN conference did not fulfill my expectations, the pre-camp certainly surpassed what I had ever hoped for. I don’t think I would attend the UN conference again, but it is definitely something I will remember. I met a true family from all over the nation and Taiwan. It was an honor to attend this conference, and the people made it the best experience possible. Hopefully, I will keep in touch with all of the Tzu Chings as well as the SG/SB’s that were involved. As long as we are all in the TC family, I am sure we will cross paths again one day, and together, we will create even more memories.

TCCA 2015 Reflection

            The TCCA conference was a good opportunity to connect with Tzu Chings from other chapters and learn from each other. Although the three days we had was far too short to get to know each other that well, it was an enjoyable camp for connecting with the TC family.

Although the classes were long and drawling at times, they were good topics to touch on. I especially enjoyed the “GPS of Life.” The skit was very well directed: both funny to keep me entertained and educative for learning purposes. It was also important to talk about the incentive of Tzu Chi, and why volunteers always show so much respect and mindfulness to our surroundings. These subjects are important to make sure we can pass on this wisdom to those affected by the foundation, and inspire others to join us. The classes taught attendees how to release the “inner Bodhisattvas” in everyone.

I was thankful for the numerous tea breaks, even though their abundance meant an earlier wake up time. Tea breaks were a good time to talk to other Tzu Chings and become friends with them. Although I was most comfortable with the YA@UN Tzu Chings because we were already familiar with each other, tea breaks were the best opportunity to chat with others apart from our delegated groups. I suppose the early wake up time also made us closer, because we were all pretty tired in the morning. Most of us don’t usually wake up at 5:30, so we all had that in common. Nonetheless, tea breaks were a good time to bond, because meal times were usually spent with our groups.

The “Path to Light” game on the last day was the most special part. It was an interesting concept, and although it was confusing at first, it was symbolic of bringing out our individual Bodhisattvas.

My favorite part of the conference was the last day, when we all had a carnival. It was fun to go around the booths and play their games while learning the reason behind those games. I thought all of them were clever. My favorite game was the one where we threw a paper ball at drawings of vegetables, which was to promote vegetarianism. The servers that went around delivering hors d’oeuvres made the event even more memorable… I felt like a VIP! When nighttime came, we all danced together in the sweltering Texas heat. I loved the “So I Stand Up” sign language as we all did it together in the circles. That was the most fun time, where all Tzu Chings goofed off together and had a blast.

The TCCA conference allowed for Tzu Chings to learn from other chapters. The programs were all educational. My favorite ones involved skits, since that kept me engaged. The last day was the most fun, since it was all games and educational play. I would definitely go to another conference like this again.

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