First year student Helen Pörtner writes about her recent trip to Alesund. To the Zonta Club. Here she writes about her experience.

The week before November Break I was given the opportunity to go to Ålesund to visit the local Zonta Club.
Zonta is an international organization with the goal of advocating for women’s rights. It was founded almost 100 years ago out of the struggle for women’s right to vote in the United States. Today there exist groups all over the world who run projects for women and girls on both a local and global scale.

Besides these projects, Zonta awards girls and young women with several prizes and scholarships every year. One of them is the “Young Women in Public Affairs Award”, which is directed to girls between 16 and 19 years old who take initiatives and have been proven to demonstrate “superior leadership skills and a commitment to public service and civic causes”.

The prize gets awarded on three levels: a local level, a national and an international. Just before coming to Norway and RCN, I learned that, to my surprise, I was awarded one of the 10 international prizes.

My local club from Germany decided to find me a contact in Norway (networking is also a big part of Zonta) to visit while staying at RCN. I got in touch with the ladies there and thus was given the opportunity to travel to beautiful Ålesund. I had an amazing stay with one of the Zonta-ladies; she showed me around Ålesund and on Tuesday night I went to their monthly meeting. After one club member had spoken about a project in Sri Lanka that she is involved in, I was given the opportunity to talk a bit about the award, about projects that I have done back home and also about UWC and especially RCN. The next day they were running a fundraiser-tombola for, among others, the project in Sri Lanka.

I was surprised to realize that none of the ladies knew about RCN and UWC in general, although it is quite a unique place in Norway and also not too far away from Ålesund. They are very much looking forward to visiting sometime!

I am very happy and thankful I was given the opportunity to go there and I really hope to be able to cooperate with them on a project!