Alumnus and young member Huw is currently studying geography at Christ Church, Oxford University. He tells us a bit about himself, and what he gets out of his involvement with the ESU.
When did you join the ESU?
My first involvement with the ESU was the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition in 2017. This wonderful competition gave me the opportunity to learn and speak about a wide range of topics including political extremism, addiction in modern society and the dangers of social media. The confidence I gained from participating in the various preliminary rounds and then in the national final at Churchill College, Cambridge is immeasurable.
Have you taken part in any other ESU programmes?
I was very fortunate to be encouraged by the ESU to attend its Debate Academy in the summer of 2017. I had never debated before, so Debate Academy was a fantastic introduction for me, being coached by some of the world’s best debaters. Taking part in this programme started my journey into the world of debating, a journey which has led to my representing Team Wales at the World Schools Debating Championships, travelling to Croatia, India and Thailand in the process. I now adjudicate international debating competitions and, most enjoyably, coach junior debaters.
What did you get out of them?
In a word, confidence. The ESU’s debating and public speaking programmes have taught me to express myself, to think on my feet and to learn more about topics that interest me. I’ve had the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from across the UK and all over the world, discussing with them issues that concern us all and how to solve them.
What words of advice do you have for other alumni/young members?
Get involved! Before taking part in my first ESU competition, I remember thinking it would be an intense and stressful experience. It was nothing like that – the environment was supportive, friendly and fun. I have learnt so much from my involvement with the ESU, and so can’t recommend taking part in one of the ESU’s many programmes highly enough!
Whom do you admire and why?
David Attenborough. I’m really inspired by how he has drawn attention to the issue of climate change in a way that has such universal appeal.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Tell us something surprising about you
I used to be able to sing! In my younger days, I took part in the London Olympics opening ceremony, and had a solo part alongside Sir Bryn Terfel in a performance of Tosca to celebrate his 50th birthday.
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you?
This is encapsulated in the Welsh phrase dyfal donc a dyr y garreg, which translates as ‘tapping persistently breaks the stone’.
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