South Africa Summit Travel Grant Winners: Chinwe Oriji
Last year, Golden Key International Honour Society hosted its 8th annual South Africa Summit in Cape Town. Amongst the Golden Key members, alumni, advisors and honorary members in attendance, twenty of them receive travel grants to attend the conference. We would like to highlight these travel grant winners and their experiences while attending the South Africa Summit in Cape Town.
To kick off our South Africa Summit Travel Grant winners, we like to start with Chinwe Oriji, a Golden Key member from Rutgers University who is currently pursuing his MPhil in Modern Society and Global Transformations at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
What originally attracted you to the South Africa Summit?
I knew attending the summit would help me improve as a leader that serves others since that was the focus of the summit. My ultimate goal in life is to use my life to serve others in need, and one way I strive to do this is through an international prison rehabilitation project that a team of us is planning. The project is called the I.AM.YOU project, and it is based in Cape Town, South Africa. Therefore, I knew attending the summit will help me gain an understanding of how to develop the project and also meet amazing speakers who can provide advice for the project.
Was the culture different from what you’re used to? What was your most memorable experience?
I studied at the University of Cape Town in 2012. There was a bit of a culture shock then in a positive way. I felt welcome. I felt like I belonged. It truly is a beautiful array of cultures in Cape Town. I was very excited to return for the Summit and experience this wonderful environment again.
The most memorable part of the conference was meeting the amazing students that attended the conference. I thrived off of their ambition and desire to serve their community. Unexpectedly, I met a student who was also chosen as a travel grant winner. He then told me he was going to the University of Cambridge, as well. It was great to know that I was going to already have a friend when I arrived in Cambridge in October. That is what the summit does- it allows students to share ideas, build friendships and leave revived to follow our passion.
What was the most valuable thing you learned about yourself personally and professionally from the conference?
One major thing I learned was that if my life is solely about me than I am not truly living. The speakers at the summit lived a life of service. They had a vision and a purpose. It spurred questions within me like, “How can my life be used to help others? What is my vision and am I following this vision?” That’s when I knew that my desires and passion we’re in the right place. I know my vision to become a professor, work in non-profit and create more community service projects was a life that was meant to be living; a vision that was meant to be pursued.
Would you recommend attending Summits to other members?
I will definitely recommend Golden Key Summits to others! You will be inspired and encouraged to continue to live a life of purpose. You meet amazing people that you can’t meet anywhere else. You will hear the stories of very accomplished individuals that you can connect with. This South Africa Summit was wonderful and I just want to say thank you so much Golden Key for allowing me to attend. It meant so much to me. It truly pushed me to be a better me and pursue my vision. Thank you for believing in me!
Golden Key’s next International Summit will be held in Boston, Massachusetts from July 31 through August 3, 2014. If you are interested in attending, please apply for the Golden Key 2014 International Summit Travel Grant. These travel grants will be awarded to 450 members in the amount of $500 USD for members in North America and $1,000 USD for members outside of North America.