It’s funny how taking a decision on a whim turns out to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. Such was my decision to apply for Glocal International Teen Conference (GITC) 2018, that took place in Soaltee Crowne Plaza, Kathmandu, Nepal from August 31st 2018 to September 2nd 2018.
Being a part of Youth Opportunities, the biggest global opportunity delivery platform, we provided thousands of local and global opportunities to people around the world. It might sound ironic, but I was never courageous enough to apply for one, even though I contributed my small part of helping youth around the world achieving what they aimed for.
I was just browsing through the website of Youth Opportunities one lazy afternoon in March when I came across the opportunity to apply as a speaker or presenter in GITC. Instead of scrolling past as I usually do, I decided to check out the details and thought about applying. But being the forgetful procrastinator that I am, I completely forgot about it till the deadline was over. Just when I was giving up and was about to blame it on my luck, I saw that the application for international applicants was still open. Finally, one of my friends and I decided to apply as participants. The acceptance mail came just a few days later, and it was indeed hard to believe that not one, but both of us got accepted.
After months of anticipation and preparation, Team Bangladesh consisting of 7 members finally flew to Nepal on 31st August 2018. BIMSTEC Summit 2018 was held in the same venue as GITC, so there were a lot of traffic issues due to the security measures taken by the authority. But the wonderful team of volunteers who came to pick us up from the airport made it so easy for us, we never felt like we were stuck in jam, rather it felt like a fun-filled picnic.
Upon reaching the hotel, we all freshened up and got ready for the cultural night. I will forever remember this night as one of the most memorable nights. We sang, we danced, we had a potluck session, and we got to know each other a little bit better. From dancing to the tune of Indian ‘Garba’ songs to tasting traditional Nepalese Newari food, we tried it all and we loved it.
The conference was short but it was very significant. From hearing how Rodain from Jamaica had to go through so much struggle to reach this far to hearing Sankalp from India telling us how he, along with his family is changing the world was really inspirational. The mentorship session was great too and we all learned a lot from it. But the best part came after the conference ended. A bunch of us decided to have a karaoke night. We sang at the top of our lungs, had fights over the playlist, played “Mafia”, and before I knew it, these people became my constants in less than two days!
The next day was definitely the toughest one because the conference officially came to an end. Some of us went out on a city tour to explore Kathmandu. Swayambhunath Stupa, in one word, was beautiful. I will never forget the hassle Ajay Pandey and Sushila Shrestha took to make sure we were all safe and sound. After visiting Swayambhunath Stupa and having traditional Nepalese breakfast, we had to bid adieu to our fellow members and it was really hard to believe how in such a short span of time, we became such close friends.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the amount of love and care we received during our short stay. For this, I would like to thank the following people for helping me throughout the entire process: Osama Bin Noor, Makshudul Alom, Maliha Iqbal, Atif Ahmed, Ajmayeen Akmal, and Saqlain Morshed. Especially mentioning Asish Thakur, Anusha Kadel, Ajay Pandey, Subean Shrestha, and Cajol Jha as well as the organizing members of GITC for arranging such a flawless conference. Due to a shortage of space, I haven’t mentioned a lot of names, but all of them have a very special place in my heart.
Aateeya Saabeen represented Youth Opportunities and Bangladesh in Glocal International Teen Conference 2018.