In October 2015, Daniel Rubio Sanchez had the trip of a lifetime when he went to New York City to anchor Laureate Live’s coverage of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2015 Annual Meeting alongside Nelson David Bassey from Nigeria and Adriana Acosta Nunn from Mexico. The trio made a tremendous impact as CGI Anchors, which Laureate International Universities is eternally grateful.
Speaking exclusively with Laureate Connect, we caught up with Spaniard, who is currently studying International Relations at Universidad Europea in Madrid. This is what he had to say:
What was the process to become an anchor for the CGI?
The process to become an anchor for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) was easy and challenging at the same time. In the first round I had to complete an application form with several questions about me, what I’d accomplished, my future expectations and what I could add to CGI if were selected. Additionally, I also had to make a short video briefly explaining these topics and my interest in attending CGI.
When I made it to the next round, I was asked to do an online interview with the Laureate team. Again, I was asked about myself, though the questions were now more specific than the first step. Moreover, they asked about how I would react in emergency-like situations.
Finally, after a few weeks, I received an email saying I’d been selected, which was one of the best pieces of news I’ve ever received.
How did UEM help prepare you for the experience?
Universidad Europea de Madrid (UEM) is unique in the Spanish university sector. Instead of solely focusing on theory, UEM has a true willingness to let students gain skills through practice and work experience, which enables students to learn more about the topics covered in class. Regarding CGI, the opportunity to receive professional oral master classes by specialists for several weeks as training for the official oratorical contest held at UEM was really useful in building confidence in myself and learn the communication skills needed to face a live broadcast. Since the start of the second year, I have noticed my university has been teaching us the necessary skills to survive in the professional world, and this motivates me to study even more.
Where did you learn to speak English so well?
I think my English could be much better! There’s always room for improvement. Unfortunately, not many Spanish students are able to speak English very well, which I believe is a serious personal and professional drawback. English should be viewed as key to creating opportunities, but sadly it is still generally seen as a boring subject for pre-university and university students. I have a feeling it is related to the way English is taught. We receive lots of vocabulary lists and grammar classes, but no real language tools to practice conversations.
I had some amazing teachers during my early school years who made me feel confident in my use of English and its importance. This willingness to learn more, in addition to watching many US TV series, has enabled me to become more fluent. I am now studying both of my degrees completely in English, and I am confident I will keep improving. Practice makes perfect!
Was it your first time in NYC? How was the experience?
It wasn’t my first time in New York City, although I only spent two days there before. This was my longest experience in New York, and obviously the best one. The city is a paradigm of capitalism and a really good example of what great investment can achieve. As well as the incredibly expensive Broadway shows, the Empire State Building or the always-hectic Times Square, you can also see poverty in the streets. It is something that can be witnessed in almost every city in the world, but in NYC, I felt it was more evident.
What was it like working with other anchors from different parts of the world?
Adriana and Nelson David are quite simply extraordinary, I don’t say that just to make them happy: I really mean it! It’s almost impossible to get a realistic idea of how stressful it can be being a Student Anchor at the Clinton Global Initiative, but having them near made me feel confident and relaxed. I knew I could rely on them, and that was immensely valuable in that context. I believe that the result of a group project very much depends on those moments when the team uses its ability as a whole to coordinate and work together. They made it really easy for me and I will always be grateful for that.
Were there any interviewees that really made you think or inspired you?
There were some really incredible individuals attending CGI and our team was able to get really good interviews. Personally, having the opportunity to interview the former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, and ask her about International Relations issues was unbelievable. She left a really big impression on me.
How many different interviews did you do?
I took part in a lot of interviews covering different topics ranging from business to journalism to environmental issues. As Laureate Student Anchors, it was important to investigate the different interviewees and their area to properly prepare ourselves for the interviews. For example, this helped me understand more about why Ted Danson is deeply involved in ocean conservation or how important it is to keep developing food and nutrition and fight hunger and malnutrition.
What was your biggest learning experience over the few days?
It’s very difficult to highlight just one learning experience, but if I had to, it would be confidence it’s given me. Only a few years ago I was a shy and slightly hesitant student who would only do what’s mandatory. This changed when I realized what makes you stand out from the crowd is the ability to take advantage of opportunities and enjoy them. When I first saw the Laureate Student Anchor at CGI being advertised, I could imagine myself there, but I was still had self-doubts about whether I’d be able to. It seemed too difficult and competitive. What made me overcome these doubts was will-power and a change in my attitude. I didn’t look back; and I applied myself.
The whole event was a really important learning experience. I knew before that one must take advantage of the opportunities that come their way, but it was CGI that really confirmed my belief. I’m sure that CGI is a step in the right direction, and I am sure many more will follow.
Last but not least, were there any moments that you felt very nervous? If so, how did you overcome it?
I don’t know if there was a moment that I didn’t feel nervous! I was very nervous throughout the whole event. Being a Laureate Student Anchor at CGI requires you to be very active and ready to face challenges at any second. I will not ever forget seeing the interviewees just popping up at our set. No forewarning; just improvisation and curiosity.
As you can imagine, it was a very stressful situation to be in, but do you know what? One should be proud of the accomplishments that are most difficult to achieve. We had a wonderful team who helped us with everything and gave us very useful feedback to overcome the stress. I won’t lie; it was hard, challenging and demanding, but it was electrifying and we overcome all the difficulties. We are very proud of our success, and our team believed in us. In turn, this helped us believe in our abilities and make this opportunity come alive. Sometimes it’s the most important part.
Daniel continues to study International Relations at Universidad Europea in Madrid. You can see other programs at the insitution by visiting the UEM website. Furthermore, if you enjoyed Laureate Live’s coverage of the 2015 CGI Annual Meeting, make sure you log on to see the World Business Forum 2015 starting on November 12.