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Erin Carroll, 17, just returned from an educational exchange program in China.
“We were staying at the Beijing Royal Campus. We were all staying in the dorms together there were about 600 kids there,” Carroll said.
The Kualoa resident, who grew up on a shrimp farm and commutes three hours to and from school every day, was chosen as one out of 15 students from across the state to represent Hawaii in the international educational camp.
“We would tour the Great Wall, The Forbidden City or Tiananmen Square. We would have culture class and international bonding activities,” Carroll said.
But more importantly, the incoming high school senior had the chance to engage with and learn from other kids from around the globe.
“They don’t have the same access to social media we do, or quite the same freedoms, or style of education and it was great to see those differences in our cultures,” Carroll said.
President of the Mid-Pacific Institute School Model United Nations Club, Carroll’s goal is to one day become a diplomat and work at the U.N.
“It’s so easy to be aware and up to date if you want to be,” Carroll said.
Since she was a toddler, Carroll loved to read and focused on making a difference in the world either through politics or ambassadorship, making this teen a bit advanced for her young age.
“Being interested in politics as a kid, people do say things like that it’s not uncommon, but it’s not the norm I guess,” Carroll said.
But she isn’t alone as a growing trend shows other student Model United Nations clubs and programs across the country are gaining in popularity.
“You do mock United Nations sessions on different committees and you talk about human rights, women’s rights,” Carroll said.
Carroll starts her senior year in high school next week and hopes to study international relations at Georgetown University.