The National Student Leadership Conference Experience
Since I was a young boy, I had always dreamt of going abroad for higher studies. I did not know what attracted me specifically towards the North American continent. Just recently I got an experience of what it is like to be in the United States. Attending the National Student Leadership Conference came out as the best decision. My family decided that in my summer holidays we were going to the USA, to which I reacted enthusiastically and thanked them because it was the country that I had wanted to visit the most at the time. Soon I decided to attend a summer school at one of the two universities that I chose, that was, Wharton and UC Berkeley. They both required a lot of documents, certificates, transcripts, a resume and a couple of essays. At first, when I applied for the summer programme at UC Berkeley for Business and Entrepreneurship I thought I would not be getting through. Before applying, I had seen that the programme at UC Berkeley was more appealing to me than the one at Wharton. After I applied to both the universities and received an invitation from Wharton and a scholarship from Berkeley, I was overjoyed and accepted Berkeley’s invitation and was looking forward to the experience. After reaching the USA and taking a vacation of fifteen days, I went to California to attend the conference at Berkeley. Upon reaching the university I was astonished to see the size, cleanliness, and beauty of the campus that was highly maintained there. There were around 60 students at the programme and were divided into 5 groups. From those students, only about 5 were from outside of the states including me. On the very first day, I felt quite different from the other Americans present there, but after that day I befriended a few of them and found out that Americans are extremely friendly and intelligent when it comes to practical thinking. After a few days, some of the friends that I had made there were like best friends to me and shared their experiences about their life in the United States. They were also interested to know about India, as a lot of them had heard about India, its diversity and culture. We also saw some guest speakers at the programme, one of which was Mr. Mike Walsh, who in my opinion was the best lecturer/speaker that I have heard in my entire lifetime. His lectures comprised humor, entertainment, and participation from the audience, practical thinking and different ideas on how to form and run a business. We also witnessed Mr. Raj Kapoor, the chief strategy officer at lyft, who talked about the future of lyft which included self-driving cars and the type of technology which they plan on implementing in the future in their cars. We also went on excursion trips to Oracle Park(home of the baseball team San Francisco Giants), Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. At both Pier 39 and fisherman's Wharf we could eat at restaurants and roam around the place with our friends for a couple of hours. I and my friends decided to explore sports shops to check out jerseys. As Basketball is not that popular in India, I was surprised to see the craze of Basketball in the USA. All they talked about was Basketball specifically the NBA. Besides that, we also had interactive simulations in which we were to make a product or service which we could provide to the people. Our group developed a service that could provide the homeless with food that the grocery stores would usually throw which was perfectly healthy to consume. We had to pitch these products to the teachers who were like sharks that would offer money in exchange for equity in our company, just like the popular show shark tank. After 2 weeks when it was time to go, all of us felt quite sad. We hugged each other and exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch in the future. A lot of people went by bus provided by the National Student Leadership Conference to the airport to ultimately reach their home state, whereas the students who were from San Francisco waited for their parents to arrive. When it was my time to go, my parents picked me up from the campus and I waved my friends goodbye. The NSLC at Berkeley was both an educational and interactive experience that I feel privileged to be a part of. I believe it has truly changed my perspective of thinking about different businesses and entrepreneurship.