Leadership and Motivation Abroad


Throughout my life, leadership has been integral to my identity. Through class projects, theater productions, and even volunteering, leadership has permeated within every aspect of my life. Therefore, taking my leadership into my time abroad, I have had many impactful experiences, however, my most recent leadership role for a final project has expanded and revitalized my leadership skills and my motivation for others.

One of my final projects was a group project for my Viewpoints class. Viewpoints is a technique of dance composition that examines movement and gestures. My group and I were instructed to create a five to seven minute movement piece that used the eight principles of Viewpoints such as time, duration, and patterns. Working with my group, we had a short time frame to complete this project along with our other finals, however, we were determined to succeed.

In the beginning phases of our project and during group meetings, we begin brainstorming ideas for our movement piece. We had so many great ideas and proposals, however, we lacked structure and consistency and could not find a solid idea. Therefore, my group decided to appoint me as our group leader to ensure we progressed through our project and completed it in time. Moving into my role, I begin coordinating meeting times, taking notes, and forming rehearsal plans. However, the motivation of my fellow group members would prove to be the most important aspect of my leadership.

Leading and motivating my group members to contribute their ideas, opinions, and artistry was incredibly challenging. Being in a group of six people, many members were hesitant to voice their ideas. Most of my group members had never been in a theatrical institution and did not have an extensive background in training. They felt they could not have a voice within the group because of their feelings of inexperience. Additionally, some members felt their ideas were not good enough to bring to the group and were afraid to share them. Moreover, two members were worried that our project would be a failure and constantly spoke of their concerns. Hearing my group members’ worries and doubts, I made every effort to allay them and remind every member that their opinions mattered and that their artistry was worthy of praise. It became very demanding for me to constantly reassure my group members. I sometimes felt exhausted, but I continued to uplift them.

Working on the final stages of our project and going into the performance, everyone in my group was anxious. Five minutes before we presented our final group project, I told them that our ideas and artistic vision would be revered. And they were! Our audience loved our piece, and our Viewpoints instructor gave us glowing feedback. Seeing everyone that once doubted themselves, bask in their accomplishments was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had abroad! I was so proud and happy for my group members. Furthermore, with this experience, I learned the importance of not just being a leader, but a motivation for my group members.