HERSHEY, Pa.—A group of 25 Milton Hershey School high school students and four staff members recently returned from a 9-day international trip to Peru where they attended a Global Leadership Summit on Global Citizenship, organized by Education First.
The two-day leadership summit gave students the opportunity to hear from world-renowned speakers, attend educational workshops, collaborate with students from North and South America, and develop solutions to solve global citizenship challenges across the globe.
“MHS students engaged in the design thinking process as they developed solutions to real-world challenges facing individuals and communities around the globe,” said Andrew Miller, a curriculum supervisor at MHS.
For the design thinking and problem-solving challenge, students broke into teams. MHS junior Nathan Gourley’s team won the competition by developing an automated solution for reducing waste and debris on beaches. The students designed a non-invasive robot that picks up trash without interfering with the beach’s natural habitat and wildlife. Their robotic design will be on display at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, Sweden this summer.
While on the trip, students embraced the Global Citizenship theme and learned about diverse wildlife and vegetation in the Amazon forest as well as the impact of industrialization on local communities. Students also gained experience with data collection and conservation efforts by interacting with various communities in Peru to study local plants and animals.
“Our students saw firsthand the importance of the rich biodiversity of the Amazon and the role they play in helping protect it,” said Miller. “The goal of this trip, as with all of our international trips, is to provide MHS students with a different world view where they are not the center of the world.”
In addition to attending the leadership conference and visiting the Amazon rainforest, the group also traveled to popular landmarks in Peru, including the capital city of Lima, the Larco Museum, and the fishing village of Pucusana. Students experienced everyday life in Peru and learned about art, local fishing practices, Peruvian traditions, and the contrast of wealth and poverty.
“Our trip to Peru challenged my perspective and the preconceived thoughts I had about myself and the global community,” said Katie Muir, an MHS junior. “Similar to what being at MHS teaches us, being in Peru taught me that no matter where someone comes from or what their background is, we’re all human. It also challenged me to think about what I can do to impact not only my community, but the global community as well.”
Milton Hershey School’s Multicultural and Global Education initiative provides all high school students with opportunities to gain worldly experiences and global awareness through international trips. More information about the program can be found at mhskids.org