Reporting from Melbourne, Australia: Global Round of the World Scholar's Cup
By Anisa Mansour
The World Scholars Cup is a global community of dedicated students who come together to learn, connect and grow. This August, Jena Yue, Athens Wu and I travelled to Melbourne, Australia for the WSC Global Rounds, having qualified in March from the Regional Round in Vancouver. The Melbourne competition brought together over 1600 students (in teams of three) from 27 countries for one incredible week.
The competition focused on a range of topics, from the History of Diplomacy to the Science of Memory, Literature, and Music. The format includes Debate, the Scholars Bowl (team trivia), the Scholars Challenge and Collaborative Essay Writing. Throughout the week we tested our skills both individually and as a team.
The Debate section was an incredible opportunity to meet and compete directly against scholars from other countries. We had three debates against teams from Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, and we worked really hard and won them all! It was great to apply our debating techniques against students from such different backgrounds, many of whom are now friends on Instagram! It was interesting to see their techniques and how they compared to ours.
The Scholars Challenge is an individual multiple choice test. The questions interlinked multiple subjects, which made it extremely challenging, but also a great learning experience on how to synthesize knowledge we had gained in a variety of different topics to answer each question.
The Scholars Bowl is an event of team trivia. Everyone sits with their teams and gets a clicker that is used to submit answers to the questions on the board. This event is particularly challenging because there is a very tight time frame in which we have to discuss our answer. As we sometimes had different opinions on the questions we really had to listen to each other and collaborate to come to the most likely answer. As stressful as this event was, we worked well together and learnt a lot. It was a great atmosphere because teams would jump out of their seats when they got the questions right and throw their alpacas in the air.
Finally, the Collaborative Essay Writing was a mix of team and individual work. We each wrote our essays, and then critiqued each other's work to help polish them off. We got to exercise our point of view on certain topics while using knowledge on the topics to support our essay.
The academic competitions are not the only component to the World Scholars Cup. The social aspect is also a vital part. One of the best opportunities for us to mingle and meet people was the Scavenger Hunt. We each got put in a team of 14 with no one from our own country. I met people from places such as Zimbabwe, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Cambodia. It was so amazing because we worked together to solve riddles, find hidden objects and complete challenges. The cultural fair was another one of the highlights of my experience. Representatives from different countries had stands set up where you could learn about their customs and culture. We had an Indian henna, drank a Malaysian espresso shot, watched traditional Indonesian dances and received Japanese origami. It was an incredible evening because we learned so much about different cultures and made connections with so many different people. Socials and balls were another part of our week in Melbourne and we enjoyed making new friends there.
At the end of an exhausting four days of competition, we attended the Closing Ceremony, where we found out our results. We were all very excited to find out that we did quite well! Between the three of us, we received ten individual gold medals, three team gold medals (highlighted by finishing 10th in debate, out of over 350 teams), and seven individual silvers. Because of our success, we finished 3rd amongst all teams from the Americas and Europe, and qualified for the Tournament of Champions in November, hosted by Yale University. Now, we just need to convince our parents to let us go!! :)
This week was absolutely incredible and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to travel so far away and meet so many new friends. Some of my new friends will be at Yale so we will reunite and form even stronger relationships. The World Scholars Cup is a community of dedicated and eager students all over the world who are kind, talented and unique. Our community is so diverse and we learn so much from each other. This experience was so impactful and I am so grateful to have been able to do this. It was certainly a lot of work to prepare for the competition, but I would encourage any student who is interested to reach out to Athens, Jenna or myself to learn more about it!