When one is asked to describe his or her experience as a participant at the London International Youth Science Forum too many different memories come to mind but for everyone one thing is the same: the nostalgia you feel remembering this unique and fantastic opportunity as it is an experience that stays in one’s heart forever. Therefore, imagine how excited I was when I was called to return as a staff member for a second time so as to have another wonderful year at LIYSF!
So, to anyone that doesn’t know me, my name is Kyriaki Protopapa, I come from Cyprus and I am currently studying History at the University of Manchester. It usually makes people wonder what a history student is doing as a staff member at a science forum. However, at LIYSF, knowledge about science is open to anyone who loves learning and is passionate about sciences, even to those who do not aspire to follow a career in this field.
I was always deeply involved with sciences, both back in high school and in my free time. Mathematics and Chemistry have always been my fascination, especially anything that includes testing scientific theories in practice. Whether it was the formation of a precipitate or the colour change of a solution I was thrilled to perform a practical experiment in the chemistry lab – while my high school teacher was shocked with the amount of test tubes and burettes I broke and the number of solutions I contaminated by sometimes being careless and clumsy!
I was lucky enough to be selected to participate in 2011 by representing Cyprus. One of the most honourable moments during my participation was when I was picked to be the flag bearer of my country during the Opening Ceremony. I remember I was quite nervous because we didn’t have any clue yet as to what LIYSF is all about and what an awesome adventure it was going to be proven. Nevertheless, all my anxiety calmed down by the time we performed traditional songs and dances during the International Cabaret just a few days later, since by then I knew almost all 300 participants.
One of my favourite moments during LIYSF is definitely the Treasure Hunt as its guaranteed fun! Participants should form a team and they have to look for clues all over the South Kensington area where Imperial Collage is situated. The catch is that each team should consist of people of at least three different nationalities; therefore, it was just another way for me to meet even more people and form long-lasting friendships with same-minded scientists that come from all around the world!
Every year the Science Forum proves to be a complete different experience filled with fun and lifelong memories. If I could give just one piece of advice to forthcoming participants it would be to enjoy LIYSF as much as possible. Don’t miss out on anything and meet as many people as possible because everybody is super friendly and equally excited about being there as you. And of course, don’t forget to bring your cameras to capture all the amazing moments and the new things you get to experience, mostly because you will be describing those to your friends back home for years to come!