Positive experience for ESU Malta Public Speaking Competition winner in London
Malta’s English-Speaking Union Public Speaking Competition winner, Rebecca Bonello Ghio, has returned from a week in London, where she participated in the ESU International Public Speaking Competition last month, sponsored by HSBC. Rebecca competed against the winners of national competitions held in ESU branches in some 50 countries.
Throughout the week students participated in a range of activities centred around both communication and cultural exchange. They participated in workshops at Shakespeare’s The Globe Theatre, watched a musical in London’s West End, and worked with some of the ESU’s most experienced Speech and Debate Mentors at the ESU London Offices in Dartmouth House in the centre of London.
This year’s theme was “Culture is not a luxury but a necessity”, with all 50 competitors having to give a five-minute speech. Rebecca was chosen, along with another 17 participants, to take part in the semi-finals. The contenders were asked to give an impromptu three-minute speech, from which the six finalists were chosen. Alma Ágútsdóttir, from Iceland, was the overall winner of the competition.
Commenting on her London experience, Rebecca said: “I made around 50 new friendships, which I will definitely cherish for a lifetime. This experience was extremely life-changing. Since I was around different people, I was able to learn a lot about myself and the world around me.
“Through conversations that I had with the other participants, I feel that my knowledge and understanding has been enhanced, and I am now more aware of what goes on in the world and how any changes or happenings affect me.”
Rebecca had words of praise for ESU Malta’s Director of Education: “My mentor for the competition, Pia Zammit, helped me immensely throughout. She not only guided me with my speech, but also in adopting the correct mentality when dealing with people of different ethnicities and cultures.
“At the start of the week, the organiser of the ESU Public Speaking International Competition gave us a speech in which he said we would become extremely close to each other and told us about the new friendships we would make – at which we rolled our eyes, thinking that we knew better. But we could not have been more wrong. In just one week, I met 49 of the most incredible people I know and whom, up to this very day, I have kept in close contact through social media.”
Commenting on her semi-final experience, Rebecca said: “On the morning of Friday, 15 May, we had to write a speech after being given the title 15 minutes prior to delivery, which was quite challenging! I did not progress to the finals, but I did get the chance to listen to the speeches of people who had so quickly become my most treasured friends.”