...I’d like to say that I have just read the blogs of the previous Young Ambassadors looking back a year later, on the same journey that I am about to embark on. I cannot express how excessively excited I am about this.
Before I had been feeling rather overwhelmed by the trip because I don’t know what to expect. This is the first time I will be travelling with people I can’t say I know, as well as experiencing new things for the first time. So don’t blame me for feeling nervous.
I realise now that being a Young Ambassador means a change of my current inexperienced character, so that I can grow to being an independent and experienced young adult.
I need to step out of my comfort zone, and at the same time, I need to get used to stepping out of my comfort zone and really stick my foot in the door of opportunity before I regret it. I hope that one day I can approach new things with an optimistic view rather than a pessimistic view.
So once I received the email from Pascale Seignolles, I immediately realised that if I let go of this once in a lifetime opportunity, I will never forgive myself. I mean, it’s not every day that I get an email saying that I can go to France with the majority of everything provided for me already. All I need to do is say yes.
So now for the boring stuff:
I come from a Chinese family of 7, there’s mum, dad, my three older sisters and then my little brother and I love them all very much.
One interesting fact about me is that I am ⅛ kiribis (from the island of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean) so a lot of people are confused about my ethnicity because I don’t look typically Chinese; my skin tone is rather tan all year around.
I am currently attending my last year at Massey High School in West Auckland. We are one of the largest schools in Auckland with around 2200 attending. I love MHS because I think we have great cultural appreciation, we offer tons of extra curricular activities with new ones coming every week. I have made so many friends and developed my own personal character through these activities that I take part in, which I think is the reason why I was chosen to be the cultural leader at school.
Even though I am the cultural leader at school, there are still so many cultural practices I have not yet taken a part in. For example, earlier this year, I joined the Niuean group and I took part in Polyfest 2016 for the first time in my life. Everyone had been telling me that even though we’d be on stage for 15 minutes, it would feel like a minute. Of course I did not believe them but by the end of it, it really did feel like only one minute had passed and I hated walking off the stage. I wish someone had told me to take part in Polyfest every year of my high school life so that I could switch up the culture groups I could take part in.
Massey has so many different cultural groups to offer, we have a massive Samoan group, there are groups for Kapa Haka, Tokelau, Cook Islands and Fiji but I could only take part in one of those. I really regret not doing Polyfest every year because I got to learn of a new culture in the most engaging and fabulous ways of song and dance. I also got to hang out with people that I don’t really hang with. Many of the islanders there were always really loud and joked around heaps which I found really refreshing and new. Now that I find myself as a Young Ambassador, I am so excited to share and exchange heritages through Shared Histories.
I look forward to gaining a wider understanding impacts of World War 1 in France as well as the social and cultural heritage of France through this centenary programme.
Oh by the way, my name is Elaine Zam :)