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Photo by Rebecca O'Loughlin

Asia Science Camp 2019

Thomas James —

Thomas James was successfully selected to represent New Zealand at the 13th Asia Science Camp in Shantou China in July 2019.

I was lucky enough to be selected to represent New Zealand at the 13th Asia Science Camp in Shantou China. It was an incredible experience and one I will never forget.

Flying to a country where the people speak a different language, with people you have only just met was daunting at first. Our New Zealand contingent was so special though, any fears we had were quickly put to rest. We got along really well and became so close we were even asked if we were a family!

Getting to know like-minded students went far beyond getting to know the other students in the New Zealand contingent. Interacting with people from other cultures, helped me to develop a real appreciation for the differences that make each culture special.

At the camp we were put into groups with students from all around the world who also shared a passion for Science. Working together we had to create a solution to a problem we saw in the World and present it with justification in a Scientific poster format. It was incredibly inspiring finding commonalities between us all. It was an amazing experience working as a team to create something despite our differences in language, culture, experiences and personalities. Learning about, from and with each other while completing a project was really valuable in so many ways. We learnt a lot about teamwork, personal and cultural appreciation. To top it all off our group won a Bronze award for our efforts!

In Science and Technology, we are taught to value ideas to test them and learn from them, rather than discount them at face value. Working as part of a team at the Asia Science fair we learnt firsthand the value of not discounting ideas, we experienced the worth of sharing ideas and allowing them to be added to or used as a springboard for further brainstorming. It made me think of all the great discoveries that have been made that were initially, by many, discounted but whose value were not given up on.

The speakers at the camp were of an extremely high caliber some were even Nobel laureates. They were really inspiring, they shared with us what is being created at the cutting edge of new discoveries, they opened my eyes to the possibilities that new technology is creating. I went away excited about the potential Science and Technology has to create new ways of doing things to improve the world we live in. Looking at issues through a different lens, with a view to finding a way of solving them, created a fresh and wonderfully positive outlook to take away from the camp. It was and is certainly inspirational.

I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity, I hope I can use the experience to encourage more students to see the value in learning about and experimenting with Science and Technology. It has certainly inspired me to continue to be involved in trying new possibilities, in trying new ways of solving problems and in furthering my knowledge in Science and Technology. It has also given me a greater appreciation for the value of mixing with, learning from and being inspired by others. I came away with a gem, in everyone and in everything there is something valuable waiting to be discovered.

Thomas James