By Sofia Catalina
My name is Sofia Catalina, and I am a junior at The Bromfield School in Harvard, Massachusetts.
Ever since I was young, I have loved to travel. There is something special about being able to experience a country first-hand that no amount of books can replace, and interacting with people of an entirely different cultural background is an incredible and unique experience.
I am passionate about environmental conservation, and this has led me to become a very active member of The Bromfield School's Green Team, and also a student member of the Harvard Energy Advisory Committee.
Additionally, economics is one of my favorite classes. With these two interests, I could not think of a place more appropriate to visit and share my ideas on balancing economic output with sustainable choices than China.
I was waiting for my food in a Panera when I received the news: EF Tours had chosen me to receive the Global Citizen Scholarship for an all-expenses-paid, 10-day trip to China.
The email informed me that in March I would be traveling with 15 students from the United States who, like myself, were selected to win an incredible scholarship to tour China and learn about social entrepreneurship.
We will be attending EF's Global Student Leadership Summit in Shanghai, where we will join 500 other students to collaborate on our ideas on social responsibility from an economic standpoint. Inspiring speakers such as former ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman Jr., and the hosts of NPR's talk show "Planet Money," Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg, will share their world view of the global economy and the role of social responsibility in business.
We will then continue on to explore the cities of Shanghai and Beijing, visiting landmarks such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
Social entrepreneurship refers to the practice of running a business that helps solve pressing social issues. Entrepreneurs use their innovative ideas to not only generate profit, but also to create a positive impact in their society.
China is quickly becoming one of the largest players in the global economic market, but is also beginning to see the ramifications of this enormous growth. Toxic air pollution and water quality and water shortage issues experienced by the country today will not improve without big changes made toward environmental preservation.
As one of the most rapidly growing economies, China has to balance its enormous economic growth with its environmental impact.
With my passion for environmental preservation and interest in economics, there is nowhere else on the globe that contains the same opportunity for change as China. While there, I hope to learn more about how companies can regulate their earnings and their impacts to be both successful and beneficial to their community.