I stood at the podium and introduced myself. “Hi and welcome to Hemispheres! My name is Mikaela and I am the director of Hemispheres. At first, it felt so odd to be directing a program that I only got involved with last year, but I am so excited to see where the year is taking me. Looking back to last year, I never would have guessed that I would lead this program as a Sophomore, but I am a so grateful for this amazing opportunity.
The Yale International Relations Association Board of Directors
Last year, I was a teacher for Hemispheres, a community service program that teaches international affairs to New Haven High School students. About three times a term, I worked with another Yale student to prepare a lesson plan on a wide variety of topics. My favorite was a class on US-Latin American Relations, in which we had students simulate the Situation Room during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Outside of class, I also traveled with the students to Philadelphia for a Model UN conference and Washington, DC to tour the capital.
Visiting the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, DC
During High School, leadership positions were reserved for seniors. As a freshman, I remember looking up to the seniors in my extracurricular activities and thinking how that would never be me. At Yale, however, there are opportunities to really get involved from when you first step onto campus. Just last year, I was part of a team of 30 organizing of Model United Nations conference for over 1,000 high school students. Rather than age limiting me, I have really been able to reflect on my recent high school experience to think about what works best.
I still remember last year, I served as a chaperone for the Hemispheres delegation to a Model UN conference in Philadelphia. More than once, I was mistaken for a delegate and asked to return to committee. However, it was great meeting other teachers and learning about their expertise in education, but I was also shocked how they wanted to learn from me.
Meeting with Senator Bob Corker in Washington, DC
The best part of the program is most definitely the mentorship community. Last year, we paired off into small families of 5 students and 2 teachers. I have loved to see our family grow and get more involved with the program. I have also made such amazing connections with my fellow teachers and directors. They honestly brighten my day whenever I see them. It is great to have such a dedicated group of Yalies committed to service, education, and international affairs.
From when I first stepped onto campus, I have found so many amazing ways to get involved and gain invaluable leadership opportunities. I can’t wait to see what else is in store!