After Participating in the 11th International Junior Forest Contest
Sejong Science High School
I have learned a lot through participating in the 11th International Junior Forest Contest. I have gained valuable experience and I am thankful that I had the chance to participate in this meaningful contest.
1. Preparing for the Contest
In my case, I had to translate the thesis into English and prepare a PowerPoint Presentation. Later on, the organizing committee requested a separate abstract as well. Making the requirements for the contest takes a long time, so it would be better to prepare them in advance. You are given the chance to edit the PowerPoint slides even during the contest, so if you want to make your presentation with the edited version, hand the file over to the person in charge before your presentation. Especially, I would like to strongly recommend you to save your PowerPoint file in a USB for unforeseen circumstances, since I was told on the day of the contest that they have not received my presentation file, even though I have had sent them the file most definitely.
The Contest was held at a hotel and the meals were also served at the hotel. I recommend you to take extra food or some snacks just in case you have a hard time adjusting to the local food. I think it was very good to make friends and do other meaningful activities during the contest, since you are given enough free time.
3. The Contest
The contest was held for five days, but the main contest was scheduled for two days. You will only get to know what date you will do your presentation (the order) when you arrive in Russia, so try to be fully prepared for your presentation in advance. I have noticed after listening to all the presentations that some people finished a little shorter and some went a little over than the given 15 minutes. Most of the competition seemed to have memorized their script, but some just read directly out from the script. A lot of people did their presentations in Russian. Many of the judges came from other countries, but there were still a few who only spoke Russian that needed simultaneous interpretation. However, problems were caused by the rough interpretation. Therefore, considering the simultaneous interpretation process, I believe talking slowly will help both the presenter and the judges. An average of three to five questions were asked by each judge and the questions varied in depth. I would like to strongly recommend wearing the Korean traditional costume, Hanbok, since a lot of people were amazed by the beauty of Hanbok. Other participants also wore their own traditional clothing, so there is no need to be shy.
The main contest was held for two days and after the awarding ceremony the contestants were given a chance to see various places in Russia. I made a lot of friends while touring St. Petersburg and most of them asked if I had a facebook account. Therefore, I think you should register a separate English name, so that your friends can find you easily on facebook.
The contest was held in St. Petersburg and there were many opportunities to look around the city. I hope you will also get the chance to visit the breath-taking views, beautiful buildings, and historical sites with an international group of new friends.
Russian people, like Koreans, are not good at English. So I had a hard time communicating in English with the local people and the contestants who only spoke Russian. Furthermore, due to the language barrier, those who spoke English and those who spoke Russian formed different groups even when going on tours. Therefore, I think studying some simple Russian words or phrases such as saying hello or introducing yourself will most definitely help you mingle with a lot more people.
The Russian ruble is the currency of Russia. 1 ruble is about 30 KRW. Try to get use to the currency exchange unit, so that you do not spend too much money when buying gifts or souvenirs. Also remember that the duty free shop at the airport is more expensive than the local shops.