Now that October has arrived, there is a buzz in the air of Collegiate that is characteristic of this time of year. Turning that page in your calendar can only mean one thing: it is time for the International Emerging Leaders Conference. Of course, for the Seniors in the IELC Senior Seminar, the process has already begun. We have clocked countless hours discussing foreign affairs, examining different cultures and planning each and every detail for the upcoming weeks.

Junior Ambassador Isoke W. plays,
Junior Ambassador Isoke W. plays, “What Country Am I?” during the Junior Ambassador orientation.

Beginning as early as this August, Juniors, Seniors, and faculty alike have readied themselves and our school for the excitement of the conference. Both the 11th and 12th grade Ambassadors found ways to immerse themselves in different cultures without even stepping foot out of our Richmond community.  

 Seniors prepare for their first IELC field trip
Seniors prepare for their first IELC field trip

Senior Ambassadors explored the changing landscape of Richmond markets through a scavenger hunt along Broad Street in shops specializing in ethnic cuisine and goods. Students had lunch at Bawarchi Indian Restaurant, and then split into scavenger hunt groups focusing on different regions of the world: European Deli, Tindahan, Taj Halal, Tan A and Latino Village.   


Lunch at Bawarchi
Lunch at Bawarchi

“Our goal in planning this scavenger hunt was to show students that Richmond is quite culturally rich, and the local community – schools, markets, and restaurants – reflect that. IELC develops strong cross-cultural communication skills for all participating students, and so it made sense that we should begin by developing those skills right in our own backyard,” says Rhiannon Boyd, Senior Seminar: IELC teacher.  


Talking to shopkeepers at European Market on Broad Street

By visiting some of the local, yet globally focused restaurants and grocery stores nearby, the groups were able to begin the enriching process of the cultural exploration to be furthered by the conference. Tasting and picture clues launched students into reading food labels in non-native languages, having conversations with fellow shoppers and shop owners that have immigrated to Richmond.

In the weeks leading up to the conference, the Senior Seminar: IELC class has continued to foster this global curiosity in and out of the classroom through discussion-style learning that focuses on worldwide conflicts and the way international relations have affected them.