USA_2019_North Carolina_Wake Forest University_ Operation Smile´s Student Programs Summer ISLC, July 15th-20th, 2019 at Wake Forest University, North Carolina, USA (Operation Smile Photo by Carlos Rueda)

Prep for ISLC 2022 in Miami With Us

ISLC 2022 will be here before you know it here are some tips and tricks to help you prepare for the Miami heat and all the activities we have planned for you! To ensure you have the best experience while attending ISLC.

By Jordan Griffith, Student programs media Intern

Congratulations you’ve decided to apply for ISLC in Miami! If you are selected to attend the conference this is a great resource to go to for preparation. If you haven’t applied yet please click here for more information about this opportunity. The deadline for applications is March 13th, 2022. We are incredibly excited to be back in person with you all this summer! Whether this is your first ISLC or you’ve lost count, prepping for any conference is essential to get what you want out of it. In previous years, the conference has taken place at a university around the world during this time of year; however, due to the pandemic in the last few years, Student Programs made the decision to host the conference virtually. To ensure the safety of our staff and participants. While there is still an ongoing pandemic your safety still remains our number one priority. With that in mind we will continue to monitor the virus, but as of right now we’re still on track to spend ISLC in Florida. We hope you all are ready for our trip to Miami in July. We hope that during this conference you are able to connect with others who share the same passion for Operation Smile’s mission, learn something new, and leave the conference feeling more inspired!

What to Pack: Whether you pack in advance, the night before or the day of it is something we all dread; however, it is important to make sure you are prepared in case of an emergency. Moving closer to the conference date we will have an official manual posted and send it out to all of you that have registered. In the meantime here is a few reminders with that being said make sure to pack for the warm humid weather. While keeping in mind to wear appropriate clothing that is tasteful and modest. Avoid packing low cut tops, shorts above your fingertips, open toes shoes, and shirts that expose midriff. Make sure to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a good hat to protect yourself from the sun. As I stated before you will be given a list of packing items moving closer to the conference. It will tell you what you can and can not bring as well as suggested items.

Plan Ahead: Make sure to not only pack before hand but also make sure you have your Operation Smile check in information. One helpful tip I used before arriving to ISLC in 2019, upon check in was to save all my emails regarding ISLC to a folder in my inbox. This way it would be easy to find any information if needed. Other things to keep track of your passport and boarding pass (if flying in). Arrival and departure forms will be sent out closer to ISLC commencing. Whatever your means of transportation make sure you leave a couple hours ahead of time before you are scheduled to arrive and depart from the conference. It is also important to make sure all your travel arrangements are in place before you arrive in Miami with us.

Be open-minded: We understand that being away from your home, family, and friends even for a short length of time can be difficult at times. I can remember times where I felt out of place at my first ISLC. My advice to you would be if you don’t know anyone or you think you’re the only one who who is feeling some unease about the whole process. I promise you you are not the only one. Take it from someone who has been there herself. Think about some ways you can reduce your anxiety while being away from home. If it helps to bring something from home maybe it’s your favorite bracelet or a comfort snack.

I know it can be uncomfortable opening up to a new group of people, but the more open-minded you are about this experience, the more you will take away with you. You will be put into a small group of students from all over the world and have a team leader to support you. This person will be in charge of helping you and your teammates compete in challenges as well as adhere to any questions you might have throughout the duration of the conference. Don’t be afraid of being bold by asking questions or commenting on another person’s idea. In fact, think of one question to ask each speaker about their experience (other people may be wondering the same thing!) Get to know people outside of your group. Most likely your roommate will be someone from a different area of the country or from a whole other country. I live in Virginia and my roommate was from Ecuador! Meet as many people as you can in your short time at this conference. It will truly broaden your horizons speaking from personal experience.

Remain Respectable: Remember that there are multiple countries present in this event. Please refrain from using any language or demonstrating any behavior that would be considered disrespectful and offensive to someone of another culture. Also, when wanting to participate, please remember to raise your hand. Remember, you are representing Operation Smile on this campus, so please remember to stay engaged and respectful when others are speaking as you would want them to do for you. I know that sitting in chairs for hours listening to keynote speakers can be tiring, but please continue to be attentive and refrain from chatting with your neighbors.

Engage with @osstudpro on Instagram. While enjoying your time at the conference, make sure to tag us in any of the pictures you post so we can feature them on our story! Fill free to direct message us any of your photos as well so we can post them on our account. Also, make sure to have your post notifications on so you can stay up to date on any ISLC updates!

Jordan is a Student Programs’ media intern and president of Virginia Tech’s Operation Smile chapter. She has been involved with Operation Smile for almost six years; she first learned about the organization through one of her best friends when she lived in Southern California. Since then, she has found a passion for assisting others and engaging with individuals who share an interest in being leaders in their communities.