A participant of the «Democracy Hub» project shares his gained experience.

Petro told about his path in the project, expectations and impressions, and also gave advices and insites.

Debates that changed a life: a story of Petro from Kyiv

My name is Petro, I am 13 and I am from Kyiv. I study in «Intellect» lyceum, admire studying history, psychology and am excited about cycling.

I found out about «Great Debate Camp» on a Klitschko Foundation Instagram page. Although it was my first debate project, I realized quickly that it is a great chance to boost oratory and English language skills.

At the start of a year I set the aim to try something new and not to be afraid to apply to the courses of such level. It was the main motivation for appliance to the «Great Debate Camp». Also the feature of the project was that it was run in summer so there is more time for the additional education and self-development. The topic of debates also seemed interesting and perspective for the future of my career, so I applied without any doubts.

On the interview stage I felt friendly atmosphere. I didn’t feel awkward or scared, I was really interested in which question will be next. I liked it, there was a diversity, and managers were really interested in finding out more about every participant. 

What I remembered most in the «Great Debate Camp» project training games, in which you could improve your debating skills. Final debate tournament was fascinating: stiff competition between teams and intrigue about who was going to win. Also I liked that even in such a responsible moment managers didn’t stop joking, were positive and cleared the air. 

Training games in a team aspect were difficult for the first time, because we didn’t stop arguing whose point is the best and how to construct our speeches. But very soon we realized that we need to gather and listen to each other. And on the final tournament we found a common ground and reached great results. «Great Debate Camp» gave me experience of speaking with different people, making my point and solving conflict problems. 

I improved my skills of understanding the debate game, finding arguments and counterarguments while talking with the same old people and skills of communication. During the project, I met many cool people, which gave me energy to move forward! 

I think that, to improve something, it is necessary to come out of your comfort zone and complete new, non-standard tasks. That is what happened with me on «Great Debate Camp». Almost none of participants took part in projects like this in English, but we managed to fight our doubts and cross the language border. It was a little time to improve the level of English, but thanks to debates you do this, your brain starts working more qualitatively and your lexis widens significantly. After the end of a project, I felt like I ended up with an intensive English language course, because I noticed a progress in my knowledge! 

 The online format is quite complicated, because you had to sit in front of a computer screen for 6 hours every day. However, I am grateful to the organizers and managers of the project, who did not overwork us and took breaks for our recovery. In addition, one of the most difficult days was the day of tournament, when you realized that now is the decisive moment, the adrenaline is running high, you feel unreal emotions! It was a real atmosphere of competition, because each participant really wanted to become a winner.

I thought it would be a regular debate course on the basics of public speaking, and the project turned out to be an exciting journey into the world of debate. Inspirational speakers, incredibly interesting lectures and productive training games made it unforgettable. «Great Debate Camp» definitely exceeded my expectations!

I would also like to participate in the School of Success to develop leadership and project management skills. After the «Great Debate Camp», I have a desire to learn more about the field of debate, so I look forward to new projects in this direction. Now I know for sure that the Klitschko Foundation does very inspiring, new and professionally organized projects. 

My goal for the next year is to start volunteering and helping people. I want to put into action the skills acquired at the «Great Debate Camp» and become more socially active. And to raise the level of English, because I plan to go to study abroad.

My advice to all Ukrainian teenagers: do not be afraid to try something new, communicate and meet people of different views, have a goal to which you want to move.