GCD Global Understanding – MUN

As a member of the Model United Nations and the chair for a committee within it, I actively seek a personal understanding of how life in different countries vary relative to the interaction between power and privilege and the ethics that stem from different religious or political viewpoints within different issues. Through completing research on the relationship of power and privilege in different nations and consequently representing them in debate I build on my understanding of the responsibilities that come with power in ethics, politics and religion in multiple contexts. This information comes from both individual study and experience in debate as one needs a solidified understanding of the country’s stance in order to put forth a plausible perspective. For example, recently as the delegate of Jordan I investigated the topic of the Israeli settlements and Jordan’s stance regarding this based on their political and religious background. Prior to debate, I had very limited knowledge about Jordan, but I soon learned that as a country that shares a border with Israel, they believe that Israeli is settling unrightfully and any Israeli settlement activity in Palestinian territory should be ceased due to several reasons. The settlements are illegal under international humanitarian law where occupation should only be temporary. Also, since Palestine has ownership over a particular land, they should have the right to decide who resides on their land. The settlement hinders the possibility of a two state solution. The delegation of Jordan urged the end to these activities of Israeli settlements, for Israel does not hold any legal validity and violates international law. This connects directly to ethical and moral debate and also the connection between power as law against human necessity. Additionally, as the delegate of the United States I debated the topic of the death row and whether it is ethically correct. Being the chair of the NATO committee also requires me to be aware of morality and make sure that the countries are being represented correctly. Therefore, the Model United Stations allows me to gain an understanding of the global situation in different perspectives and be placed in a position where I can represent a nation’s views, giving me a hands-on experience while in a committee of students from all over the world. It gives me a direct opportunity to research about the power and privilege influencing different areas and represent these ideas in an appropriate manner. 

Here are some of the speeches I have made in MUN conferences:



GCD Intercultural Communication – Spanish Students

As an IB Spanish B student, I received the opportunity to communicate with students from Spain in junior year. This was an experience that allowed me to perceive the difference in culture and opened me to an understanding of the importance of language and communication in being able to connect with other people. However, I also realised that connection with people can stem from an emotional connection as my unsatisfactory Spanish still allowed me to build a friendship with the students from the Spanish school. In the two hours that we were given to communicate with them, we were able to learn a significant amount about the Spanish culture, customs, way of life and education with our limited ability to speak their language. We learned about the food, the social culture, which we wouldn’t have been able to understand without being able to understand at least slightly. They appreciated our effort in trying to speak their language while talking about their interest. We could see this as they were incredibly supportive when we would stutter or struggle to find the right words, as they would think about the context and suggest the right phrases and words. The opportunity also allowed me to realise how important body language is in the communication across cultures, as we were able to joke and laugh to build a stronger emotional connection through the help of gestures and facial expressions. For example, when our teacher joked that we would have to write 100 words for every English word spoken, all of us made shocked faces at the Spanish students, who laughed and put their hands on their chest as if to say “trust me”. Also, when we stopped to find the correct words, sometimes we would gesture and they would tell us what it is, such as pointing at the clock and finding out what it was called in Spanish. Although this proved helpful, without the acquisition of the Spanish language provided to us we would not have been able to form a basic understanding of their culture and way of speaking, with a mix of slang and formal language between themselves and to the teachers. It was incredibly interesting to try and figure out what the casual language signified and try and respond in an appropriate manner. The students would often use words such as “dude” or “cool” in ways that as students we have never learned. The experience influenced my thinking about language and communication by emphasising simultaneously the importance of it in understanding context, but also the primal connection built being based more on the emotional, gestural communication. Speaking to the Spanish students showed me the value of learning a new language in forming a connection to another culture, but also showed me that in the end, what matters the most in building an emotional connection isn’t language, it’s humour, open mindedness, and kindness. Later on in the day, they even attended our school dance, and this gave us the opportunity to talk in a more casual setting as well, and enjoy their music. Even in this case, rather than being able to speak their language, we built a stronger connection by enjoying dancing and singing together. 

GCD Artistic Expression- Performing Arts

As an IB higher level music student I have been exposed to many opportunities in the area of performing arts and the exploration of music theory. I have been singing and playing the violin since I was five years old, and being able to pursue my personal passion as a student makes me feel incredibly lucky and plays an important part in defining who I am as a person. I have performed in mostly every single one of the school concerts, both solo and in groups, either singing or playing in a band or orchestra with the violin. My IB recitals also allowed me to explore different genres and organize a band to perform multiple songs for an audience. Performing in so many concerts allowed me to learn how to do other things such as set up the auditorium and the sound system, which I was able to organize a session for to teach the younger students. I have developed the habit of practicing and recording my own covers of songs and playing through new music for the violin, which also helps me get to know other artists in the school and collaborate with them in performances. I make sure to use every opportunity to stand on stage as I believe this school offers many, as I feel as though I am personally improving in playing the instrument whilst gaining the experience of performing in front of other people, which gets easier each time. The performances have changed me as I have become less afraid of individual performances and am able enjoy the adrenaline instead. I plan to pursue a spot in the honor band and continue to grow as a musician by continuing composition and taking any chance to be able to stand on stage alone or with another artist in university as well. As a musician, I believe these hands-on experiences are crucial.

Here is a link to some of my performances:


This is a photo of me in the symphonic ensemble.

This is a photo of me performing at the end of year assembly with my music class.

GCD Community Engagement- Sustainability Club

Throughout junior and senior year, I made a consistent, sustained commitment to serving the environment and developing a connection with the school community by contributing to the sustainability club. After identifying and understanding the need for advocation of protecting the environment in our local community, our group focused our main goal down to being able to spread the message of living sustainably. During meetings, we make an effort to not use the paper plates and plastic utensils in the cafeteria and instead take the time to use the reusable material and bring them down to be washed five minutes before the meeting ends. In order to make a connection with the rest of the school community we have taken part in the food fair, setting up a booth where students and parents alike could experience upcycling clothing. This year, we decided to collaborate with the animal relief club to create sustainable makeup containers for their vegan makeup out of pet bottle caps. This is significant as the amount of pet bottles being bought and sold in our school cafeteria is massive, and taking this into consideration we were able to use parts of it to good use and make sure the students saw the recyclable ideas of their trash. Having this responsibility of advocating sustainability for the school community means that we need to be responsible in our actions and try to limit our buying of non-reusable material or overconsumption of unnecessary things. We’ve even recently conducted an activity during recess to promote upcycling clothing by having real life models, in which I volunteered to be one, be painted and drawn on in order to vote on which outfit was designed better by the student body. The winner was able to receive a reusable tumbler, further promoting recycling and reducing plastic waste. Through our efforts, we have been able to spread the idea of upcycling clothing and less use of plastic bottles to induce positive change in our school community for a more environmentally friendly outlook.

A photo of us creating the sustainable containers.

A photo of the sustainability activity we did where students could draw and paint on our clothes to upcycle them.

Expeditions Reflection

After the Niigata trip, I learned resilience, self-reliance, collaboration, appreciation, and balance. I was able to really bond with certain people and spend time with friends that I haven’t been able to spend much time with. I learned new skills such as starting fires, setting up tents, etc. that will definitely help me in the future. I’ve never been hiking before and this was honestly the best way to try it for the first time, with such supportive and fun people. Singing along with people that I usually don’t talk to much in school while hiking through such beautiful scenery together was unforgettable. Learning about the environment and the effect we have over it was interesting as well. The most important lesson we learned, I believe, is the balance between individualism and collaboration. There are times where we will clash in conflict, but it is important to although we should hold our opinions, we should respect others’ opinions just the same. It’s hard to stay calm and understanding when there is conflict, but it is extremely important to find this balance. I took certain risks such as being in the very front a few times. This experience allowed me to disconnect from technology but connect with people. screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-2-14-07-pm

Mi Familia

Me llamo Helena y tengo 15 años. En mi familia somos cuatro, mi padre, mi madre, mi hermano menor, y yo. Tengo muchos tíos y primos también, pero no muchas tías.

Mi padre y mi madre tienen 44 años. Son de Corea.

Mi padre se llama John. La altura de mi padre es media. Es muy cómico y siempre me hace reir. A causa del trabajo de padre, nos mudamos mucho. Personas me dicen que me parezco a él.

Mi madre se llama Lea. Ella es más baja que me, y es muy comprensiva. Ella es realmente buena en la cocina. Da muy buenos consejos. Ella es bonita, y es significa todo para mí.

Mi hermano menor se llama Sean. El va a Yokohama International School también. Le gusta jugar videojuegos y fútbol. A veces es molesto, pero es muy lindo. Es un buen escuchador, aunque tiene diez años. Le gusta ver películas conmigo. Siempre me hace sonreír. Es más paciente que yo.

Uno de mis tíos es un director de cine. Escribe guiones de cine y es amiga de algunas celebridades coreanas. Él tiene dos hijas, mis primas. Uno de ellas tiene ocho años y uno de ellas es mi edad. Ella se llama Irene. Nosotros peleamos mucho cuando éramos jovenes. Ella ahora vive en Estados Unidos. Ella es más silenciosa que yo. Hablamos en inglés.

Todos mis tíos son distintos entre si. Uno de ellos le gusta deportes, uno de ellos le gusta juegos, y uno de ellos le gusta comer. Me gusta pasar tiempo con ellos porque son tan diferentes.

Mis abuelos son fascinantes. Las historias dicen son absolutamente increíbles escuchar. Nunca me dejan pasar hambre.

Mi familia es increíble. Aunque nos peleamos de vez en cuando, sé que siempre están ahí para mí.

Count Paris! The Man of Wax Spills Some Facts

Count Paris! 

The Man of Wax Spills Some Facts 

Screenshot 2016-04-25 09.28.01Count Paris looks smashing in his Marc Jacobs suit and Louis Vuitton tie.         
“BuzzFeed.” BuzzFeed. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.


The man of wax, Count Paris! Is there more to him than his charming good looks and seemingly stellar life? This month, we caught up with the celebrated and acclaimed kinsman to Prince Escalus. From what he looks for in women and rumors regarding his bride-to-be’s infidelity, the sensational young man dishes some serious dirt. 

Q: What do you look for in a girl? 

A: Well, they’ve got to be exceptionally beautiful, I must say. Sparkling eyes and fair skin, exquisite and coy. What is a girl without beauty? (laughs) Someone all the men in Verona would be envious of me for being with. Vulnerable and delicate, someone that I can protect.

Q: And Juliet has those qualities?

A: Ah, Juliet. So alluring, her beauty takes my breath away. It would make both our families happy if we got married. She perplexes me at times, but her beauty overrides everything else.

Q: Why do you think you should be the one to marry Juliet?

A: Why shouldn’t I be the man to marry Juliet? I’ve got it all: the money, the power, and the looks. Any woman in Verona would be overjoyed if I even considered them worthy of being my wife. Her father has already granted me permission. It’ll happen whether she likes it or not, but she’ll be on her knees begging me to marry her if I choose not to. (chuckles)

Q: Rumor has it that Juliet is actually married to another guy, a certain Romeo Montague?

A: Romeo Montague? Who’s that? Wait… a Montague? That’s ridiculous! Are people really that naive? Juliet being married to the son of her family’s enemy… There is absolutely no way.

Q: Do you believe in one true love?

A: Do I believe in what? (guffaws) Do you know how many women there are in the world, or do they not teach you that in gossip school? Every girl that is lucky enough to be loved by me
will believe that I’m their one true love.Screenshot 2016-04-25 09.30.48

Q: You’re a very popular guy. What’s your trick? How do you get all these girls to fawn
over you?

A: Just tell them my name, and flash them a  smile. “Hello, I’m Count Paris.” Gets them everytime.

Q: You have a very positive reputation, but recent articles on other magazines have criticized you for your so-called “arrogance”. What do you have to say about that?

A: What are they talking about? I always state the truth. I don’t let the articles and other people’s criticism get to me. Nobody deserves that, especially not me.

Q: Alright.. Let’s break it down. Whose side are you on, the Capulets or the Montagues?

A: The Capulets. They are my wife-to-be’s family, after all. What do you expect? Also, this silly rumor about Romeo Montague being married to Juliet is making me detest the Montagues even more every minute.

Q: You seem like you have a life any man in Verona would die for.. Do you have any problems or difficulties at all?

A: Well, all these admirers, it’s hard to deal with so many girls chasing after me. Sometimes I just want my privacy, you know.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: Ideally, I would like to grow even richer, with Juliet by my side. We’ll have the most beautiful children, who’ll grow up to be as great as me. I’d also like to be the most influential man in Verona, and have everyone look up to me. Sounds like a pretty great future, doesn’t it?

Mi Comida Favorita

Como tres comidas al día. Son el desayuno, el almuerzo, y la cena. Pero, también como un montón de aperitivos durante todo el día, entre comidas. Como desayuno tan pronto como me despierto. Me gusta comer panqueques con un montón de jarabe para el desayuno. No me gusta el yogur o jugo de naranja. La mayoría del tiempo, yo como el pan y leche. También, me gusta comer frutas, porque son muy ricas y nutritivas. Para el almuerzo, me gusta comer tacos o mac and cheese. La mayoría del tiempo, yo como comidas no nutritivas. Pero, para la cena, yo como comidas nutritivas. Me gusta comer pasta o lasaña, y bebo agua. Me gusta comer ensaladas también. Mi mamá prepara la comida. Para aperitivos, yo como galletas y otra comida basura.


Uno de mi comidas favoritas es queso. También me gusta mucho pepinillos en vinagre.


Me gustan mucho la comida mexicana, y churros españoles. Burritos y nachos son muy buenos. En España, churros son finos o largos y gruesos. Generalmente se comen para el desayuno con el chocolate caliente o café. Me gustan los churros finos la mejor. Generalmente como churros en Costco, pero no son churros típicamente españolas.




Burritos son tortillas de harina envueltas alrededor de carne y frijoles. En Estados Unidos, añaden más comida en la tortilla, como arroz, queso, guacamole, y lechuga. Me gusta probar diferentes tipos de burritos con mis amigos por diversión. ¡El guacamole más, mejor el burrito!




Nachos son totopos con queso. Son muy deliciosos. Me gusta comer nachos con mis amigos y ver películas, en lugar de palomitas de maíz. Son muy buenos con crema agria o guacamole, así.




Me encanta la comida de todo el mundo. Comer también nos permite comunicarnos con nuestra familia y amigos. Me encanta probar diferentes cocinas como visitar nuevos países.



“The World Leader in Spanish Translation and Conjugation” Spanish Dict. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Why They Didn’t Help

Matthew Carrington, a 21-year-old student from the California State University, Chico, died because of a hazing procedure in the basement of the fraternity “Chi Tau”‘s fraternity house in 2005. He was demanded to drink water and do calisthenics (push ups and sit ups) with fans blowing on him and with raw sewage leaked on the floor. Matt and the other pledge were interrogated and ridiculed for hours, being forced trivia quizzes. They were ordered to drink from a five-gallon jug of water, which was refilled over and over. Soon, Carrington started a seizure and passed out, and the fraternity members did not call an ambulance, thinking he was just sleeping. However, after about an hour, they realised that Carrington had stopped breathing. He was pronounced dead because of water intoxication, which caused swelling of his brain and heart failure. Members of the fraternity didn’t call for help for over an hour, and they pleaded guilty for involuntary manslaughter. (NPR)

The fraternity members could have saved a life that night if they had called the ambulance as soon as Matt had passed out. However, thinking they were just sleeping, they didn’t think much of it and did not take action. I believe that even though if one person had just called 911 Carrington would still be alive, I still understand why the members had not taken action. They had no way of knowing whether Carrington was sleeping or his lungs were slowly being filled with fluid, since none of them were experts in that area. There is also another reason why anyone else, including me, would have done the same thing. The reason is the bystander effect, when the more people that are surrounding you can stop you from making a decision on your own because of diffusion of responsibility. They were all telling each other that Matt was okay, and that would have stopped them as individuals from calling the ambulance. Instead, they would have just gone along without thinking it through.



“A Fraternity Hazing Gone Wrong.” NPR. NPR. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

1st Semester Goals

My biggest goal this semester is to stop procrastinating. I always say I’m going to stop playing with devices and complete projects and homework, but I get distracted and return to my normal routine of scrolling through social media feeds and starting homework late at night. I need to put away any devices while doing homework in a separate room or throw them in the closet, and get to work as soon as I get home. I could also set up a time schedule. It might sound cliche, but it could help with my procrastinating a lot.

Secondly, I would like to improve on my math skills. I want to aim for a higher level of understanding. To do this, I could either join a study group, since I like working with other people, put in that extra hour for homework, do one more exercise, or ask my math teacher, Mr. Mejia, for help. I should not be afraid to ask people for help, because it will help me improve my math skills even further.

Last but not least, I would like to improve my vocabulary in order to write better essays. I love oral presentations and debating, but writing essays is not my favourite thing. To improve in writing essays, I could continue flipping through the SAT vocabulary book and memorise 5-10 words per day, reviewing as many times throughout the day as possible. I could read through the definitions, test myself, write down the words I don’t understand in a separate notebook and carry it around. By the end of the semester I would have a much wider spectrum of words to choose from.

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