The World Scholar's Cup - what an experience! Every year it gets bigger and better - country’s from all over the world come together to compete against one another and put their debating, public speaking and general knowledge skills to the test.

The competition isn't really about who has the most knowledge, sure that helps, but it is truly about kids from all over the world coming together to learn more about one another. The World Scholar's Cup Global Round 2016 was held in Bangkok, it was also the second global round that I was fortunate enough to participate in. This gave me the opportunity to not only see a new country and meet new people, but also to meet old friends from last year's competition in Kuala Lumpur - friends that I would have never expected to see again, then there we were, meeting up in a completely different county all over again.

What an experience this competition is and it is so sad to think it has come and gone for me. This was truly an experience of a lifetime - it’s not every day you get to visit another country, with some of your closest friends and yet at the same time meet and make new friends. The World Scholar's Cup isn’t only an opportunity to improve your general knowledge and learn more about other cultures, but is also an opportunity to boost one’s self-confidence and show you just how much you can do if you set your mind to it.

One of the amazing things I personally learnt during the 2016 World Scholar's Cup Global Round was how lucky each and every South African is - there is so much negativity about our beautiful country that you don’t realise how great it actually is, until you leave. Once we landed in Bangkok, I think everyone on the trip had a new found respect for our beautiful country, our great weather and our clean, breathable air!

The World Scholar's Cup is filled with many different events; the social evening, the culture fair, the many different debates, the scholar's bowl, and much more. All these events give you the opportunity to share your country's background and be a true national ambassador.

But this trip wasn’t all about the competition - we also had days-off where we were able to tour Bangkok - this was undoubtedly an experience of a lifetime! It was a true eye-opener to see how on one side of a road there are huge, impressive malls, hotels and buildings, while on the other side, complete poverty.

At the end of the competition, while I was sitting at the awards ceremony, waiting to see the South African flag fly high amongst over 50 different country's flags, I thought how truly great it was that we all came together, as one, no fighting and no hatred. And at that moment you realise what great potential this competition has to make a positive difference in all of our lives and the world as a whole.

- GAVIN FLOOD (GRADE 12 - 2016)

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