Rocco Cavaleri

Upon arriving in Bangkok, I knew that this was not going to be an ordinary conference. After unpacking my bags, I went for a walk down the street on which our hotel was located.

The first thing I passed was a black Lamborghini, surrounded by well-dressed men under the shadow of tremendous, ornate skyscrapers. After some time, I was on an entirely different planet, looking down at a man crawling along a bustling street. I was told that he had sold his legs to be a more effective beggar. Never before had the disparities that surround us on a daily basis been more apparent. Never before had I been so inspired to make a change.

Being lucky enough to have been born in Australia, I had viewed many international issues through the lens of the media or the internet. While I have always strived to promote change in my local community, USLS presented the opportunity to engage with humanitarian issues first-hand, and to implement my ideas on a far greater scale.

As a group leader, I was given the opportunity to manage a large group of like-minded individuals through a life-changing series of experiences. All the leaders were provided with training on becoming a more effective leader. This included developing strategies to engage with large groups of people, leading through participation, and coordinating events involving people of diverse cultural and educational backgrounds. During this time, I became very close to the other group leaders (with whom I am still good friends) and developed a greater understanding and appreciation for their various leadership styles. The training also provided me with the knowledge and confidence to lead a group to clean Bangkok waterways and assist the local communities in the area.

When I reflect on my experience with USLS, I am proud to say that I brought back skills, knowledge and stories that inspire others to act. I am inspired to continue looking beyond my immediate surroundings to tackle global problems.

I truly feel that I transitioned from ‘knowing’ or ‘being passionate’ about global issues, to being ‘involved’ with them and looking to develop solutions. I am incredibly thankful that I was provided with the opportunity to work with many others who also underwent this unforgettable experience.

Rocco Cavaleri


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