Learning doesn’t end after the last bell rings. Afterschool programs can make significant contributions to an excellent education and high school experience. OneWorld Now! (OWN), a Seattle based after school language, leadership program, and study abroad has had a profound impact on my life.
One of the many opportunities I was able to take advantage of through OWN was the Congressional Page program. Through the program, high school students are sent to Washington, DC for a semester to work on the floor of the US House of Representatives. After my first semester, I was invited back to stay for an entire year and be a role model for the new pages in the spring. It was amazing to work in the same place as the people who write our country’s laws.
Another great thing about the OWN afterschool program is its focus on global leadership and awareness, which has helped me expand my previously nascent global perspective. OWN encourages its students to think about the limitations in our world as limitations that we create, rather than limitations that are real. In the words of one of my favorite authors, Richard Bach, “these limitations are simply illusions.” My experiences in the global leadership courses at OWN have inspired me to become a catalyst for social change and to help others realize their goals.
OWN also afforded me the opportunity to study abroad in Anshan, China for my entire senior year. Student services at OWN not only helped me finalize all my credits before going, but also equipped with the Chinese language skills I will need to do well abroad. As I prepare to leave Seattle for China, I know I will always be a part of the OWN family. Even though it’s only five years old, OWN serves hundreds of underprivileged students and offers them the life-changing experience of studying abroad.
For me, they have also provided the answer to the age-old question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Now I know I want to be a US ambassador to a foreign country working to transform this world. With the skills I’ve acquired through OWN, I know I can make my dream a reality.