Preparing for the trip to Dubai was one of the most nerve wracking processes ever. We were one team member down less than a week before our departure and we were training a new member of our team who had never debated before. To top it all off for all of us, it was our first time debating in a major competition. We had two topics to prepare for prior to the debate, which served as a confidence booster as only few of us were already used to this process. What really gave us a run for our money, however, were the impromptu debates which none of us had experience in. Yet even under such circumstances, we prevailed and made it to the quarter finals!
When we got to Dubai, we had a day to take in the city and to rest and condition ourselves for the upcoming inferno of debates. However, most importantly, we had to adjust ourselves to the time zone of the UAE! Scheduled dinners and activities with other COBIS schools allowed us to socialise with our competitors, as well as make friends with them. This socialising helped cool our nerves, as we found some of the other debaters, who were our age, had similar interests to us and generally, were just as nervous as we were. In our very first debate, our nerves could be read on us like an open book, but we still managed to put our best foot forward and remember everything we rehearsed and had been taught.
This fighting spirit in all six of us, with the help of our teachers, is what channelled us through the competition – our confidence grew throughout the tournament and this helped us make it to the quarter finals. We faced competitors that were much older than us, much more experienced than us and who had taken part in the same competition before but with the weight of CIS, Nigeria and Africa on our shoulders, we knew we had a reputation of excellence to uphold.
All in all, the trip to Dubai was a privileged experience of learning, bonding and generally getting to display our skills on an international scale. Though the six of us will not be here next year, we will still be excited to see how much further the next generation of CIS debaters will get on the COBIS Debate 2019 competition and we wish them all the best!
Team Captain, on behalf of the CIS Senior School Debate Team.
Please see photos of the team below.