Millennium Youth CampMYC Blogs - Mar 29, 2012

Where are you now, MY Camper Yi Lin Zheng?

“I’ve met so many talented young people with great ideas and abilities that I’ve got a lot of connections across the world. That makes a life as a normal teenager really special,” says 16-year-old Yi Lin Zheng from New Zealand, who participated MY Camp last June. This is what she tells about her life after MY Camp.

Yi Lin (and Rodrigo Morales in the middle) got to talk to Millennium Prize Laureate Stephen Furber during MY Camp 2011. Photo: Janne Salo.

The experience in Finland was really life changing and it made me open my views to a whole new level as I can now say to people I have been to Finland, one of the rarest places people from New Zealand on the opposite side of the world would ever go. The sauna was the best activity in my opinion and I would love to do that again, preferably trying lake dipping in winter along with the sauna (haha).

At the moment, I’m in Year 12 or the second to last year of high school. I’ve also met one of the biggest challenges non-academically in my life as well as I’ve moved schools from an all girls school to a mixed gender school. My new school is very warm and welcoming and the teachers are also very supportive of the new girls coming in as the school is an all boys school up until Year 12, where girls are accepted.

Academically, I’ve had to switch systems of learning from our New Zealand national standard of NCEA to Cambridge CIE A level. This is quite a big jump as I’ve never done IG beforehand but I am trying hard in all my subjects so I hope for the best. I’ve also asked a few friends from MY Camp to help me with Chemistry, one of the subjects I am not so strong in and they’re all very helpful.

I am planning to go to university after I leave school but I am not sure where quite. I wish to go overseas if I have the economical foundations but scholarships are very competitive now as the economy globally isn’t all that well. I’m considering applying to America and have done my first SAT test. It didn’t go that well so I’m planning to take it again to aim for a better score especially if I want to apply for financial aid.

The possible universities I’m looking at may be Stanford, Duke, UPenn or Yale. I’ve also thought of going to Germany because it’s such an awesome place but I don’t have the German language proficiency to attend university there so I’m putting Germany down for postgrad and I will get to Germany someday! It’s part of my life’s dream! But for the meantime to be practical and realistic I may be going to our neighbour’s – the Australian universities as they’re close and relatively affordable but New Zealand universities such as Auckland and Otago aren’t bad either, personally I just wish to go overseas to experience a new living style.

I’m probably going to pursue some form of science degree. I’m quite interested in how people think so I may head into Psychology but I may also be going for a double major in Economics as well. If anyone has similar interests and would like to chat with me feel free to contact! I’ve deactivated Facebook though because it got quite distracting for me.

In my general life I’ve been involved with a very unique telephone counselling organisation called Lifeline. I am one of 37 students for the 2012 cohort to be chosen to be trained as a ‘buddy’ or phone counsellor working for a sub part of Lifeline called Kidsline. Kidsline basically allows children from the ages of 5–14 to call us and we talk to them with their difficulties like an older brother or sister. It’s really great fun and very rewarding, when you feel that you’ve helped these poor kids with their daily struggles.

I’ve also learnt a lot through the professional training of how to communicate better with others including empathy and building rapport, which I think are very important skills to have for life. It’s basically like a job except it’s voluntary and not paid. Each month we get two shifts in the shift room and this program is continued for two years including monthly trainings. I feel really honoured to be chosen as one of these 37 people.

On the whole, I’m just aiming to have a happy life and this year my biggest goal is to get good grades as AS is university entrance. I’m still trying to relax!

I wish everyone all the best and congratulations to all the 2012 MY Campers, who got chosen. It’s truly a miraculous journey and I’m sure you’ll gain as much out of it if not more as I have from this trip!

MY Campers 2010 and 2011, let us know how you are doing, what you are studying, and what kind of plans you have for the future. Send us an e-mail at: elisa.lautala(at)

Read more about Millennium Youth Camp from Finland’s Science Education Centre LUMA’s website.