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Former HMSG pupil on United Nations committeeJanuary 11th, 2016
A passionate student who recently spoke at a United Nations conference on sexual violence against women, returned to her old school to inspire current pupils.
Yale University student Helen Price gave Year 12s at Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls an invaluable insight into life at one of America’s most prestigious colleges.
The 21-year-old was back in her old classroom last week to offer sixth formers advice on applying to US universities and talk about her experience in the UN’s General Assembly hall in New York.
She had been invited to sit on the panel alongside Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, at the UN commemoration and conference for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in November.
“I got to speak a few times,” Helen said.
“I talked about sexual violence from the perspective of college campuses, and the importance of consent training at universities.
“We need to change the view that it’s a taboo subject to talk about – it’s something that’s really important to all women.
“Coming to a girls’ school like HMSG made me interested in women’s rights and making sure women are represented fairly.”
Helen was asked to join the panel by Undersecretary-General and UN Executive Director of Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, whom she met in October after organising a series of national talks on sexual assault in universities.
“Consent training is pretty common, but not mandatory at all universities,” Helen added.
“It was great that I had the chance to highlight it more.
“It was a bit surreal in the General Assembly hall, being 10 feet away from Ban Ki Moon and it really motivated me to see issues being taken so seriously at such a high level.”
Unlike students at UK universities, Helen has the freedom to choose several topics from countless options at Yale and did not have to settle on a major – or main focus of study – until her second year.
So far she has learned about a diverse array of subjects, including US lesbian and gay history, social and economic development, the history of Yale and how it relates to America, and civil rights.
“I liked the idea of studying a broad curriculum,” she told the girls.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so this was a brilliant way for me to discover different things.
“You get to choose from so many different things – one of my options this year is medieval Icelandic literature.
“When I get back it will be ‘shopping period’, where you can go to as many classes as you like over two weeks to see which ones you want to take.
“There are about 2,000 courses you can pick from.
Helen turned down an offer from Oxford to go to Yale, and now hopes to remain in the States to become a legal aid lawyer.
She told HMSG pupils: “Applying to American universities can seem daunting and you have to have perseverance to do it, but it’s 100 per cent worth it.”