Upper Canada College Foundation Year students Julian Samek and Matthew Wang finished fifth out of more than 700 teams in the International Competition for Young Debaters (ICYD) in Oxford, England from April 27 to May 1.
Wang finished sixth among all speakers while Samek placed 15th in the competition using the British parliamentary format and hosted by the Oxford Union for the ninth time. There were numerous regional rounds around the globe, with the best teams from each round being invited to compete.
There were four preliminary rounds in the final competition. After that, the top eight teams went through to the semi-finals. Two teams progressed from each semi-final to reach the ICYD grand final, where the winners were crowned international champions.
“Travelling to England was absolutely amazing,” says Wang. “It’s a different culture than in Canada. Not only do they not drive on the left side of the road, but afternoon tea and scones are an integral part of daily life.
“We toured Oxford University and went punting. It’s very similar to gondolas, but British. Furthermore, we met people from all over the world. Greece, Hong Kong and South Africa were all present at the competition. In the end, we’re pretty happy with our results.
“It was an amazing experience, and one that I probably will never forget.”