By Lindsay Nielsen, IV Form
Throughout my freshman year at St. Mark’s, I became very familiar with the term “Global Citizen” or “globally responsible citizen.” I confess, however, that even though I was repeatedly hearing these terms, I did not have a real understanding of what they meant. I felt as though I was learning everything about the topic except for the definition of what it means to be a global citizen.
In addition, I had no idea how to apply what I knew to my own community.
On July 6th, 2014, I was fortunate enough to participate in our school’s first Global Citizenship Institute at St. Mark’s, organized by our dedicated History and Religion teacher Dr. Warren. For six days, I was a participant in seminars, presentations, and group projects, all of which focused on some aspect of what it means to be a global citizen. We learned about things such as egocentrism, which is favoring your country over another and how this negative quality can affect individuals and nations. Throughout the week we also learned proactive, practical ways to be a global citizen, such as being more aware about other countries’ problems, saving money by wasting less food, and familiarizing myself with global warming.
My favorite part of the G.C.I at St. Mark’s was getting to know a group of memorable, friendly, and interesting people. The word global became more significant to me because I met some people who live across the world and others who just live 10 minutes away from the school. The week was made that much more enjoyable when I was able to spend time with these friends by the pool, playing soccer, or just sitting on the grass and enjoying the sun. Being able to talk about things together with international and local students creates a new “lens” to look through other than your own. My perspective has broadened from just talking with people from Australia or a student who had lived in Uganda. One of my friends from Australia told me about her country’s government and my friend from Uganda told me about his life when he lived there.
Meeting new people can be very intimidating and I can be very shy in these situations. Nevertheless, everyone
made the environment so welcoming that I was able to put myself out there and enjoy the program in spite of my instinct to be timid and distant. I have kept in touch with the majority of the people in the program, and I miss them just thinking about the week.
I feel lucky I was able to be a part of this program. It changed my outlook on world problems. I now have more knowledge and informed opinions about climate change, natural resources, ecocentrism, hunger, and food management. I find myself pondering questions and issues that I never thought much about attending the G.C.I. Thank you, Dr. Warren (right) for organizing this program. This institute has shaped my thoughts and opinions about global citizenship. I am excited to share my insight to the school and our community.
Lindsay Nielsen is a IV Form boarding student from Sudbury, MA, and she lives in Thieriot House. She loves helping friends, family, and her community.