Hannah Mork and Alex Hernandez from Marshfield High School traveled to Beijing, China for the Model G20 Summit.

COOS BAY — Two Marshfield High School students learned how to change the world at the Model G20 Youth Leadership Summit.

Hannah Mork and Alex Hernandez traveled to Beijing, China in February for the 10-day summit where 350 students from 17 other countries participated.

Mork, a junior at MHS, said she first heard about the opportunity from her radio teacher Drew Jones. She said Jones encouraged more students to at least apply for the experience, but only two of them were available at the time to do it.

“When I found out I could go, I was really excited,” Mork said. “It’s a unique opportunity and from what I understand we’ve never had anyone from Oregon go.”

During the trip, three days were dedicated to the Model G20 summit portion, modeled after the actual G20 Summit.

“We met people from Australia, the UK, and Africa was represented by the Egyptians, Canada, and lots of fun people,” Mork said. “We were put into other countries and I was put as head of state from China, though I’m from the U.S.”

Their roommates were selected for them as well. For Mork, she was placed with a “cool girl” from China who taught her about their customs.

“We got to go to lectures and workshops about life skills we could apply during the summit, on things like negotiation, and use those skills to make treaties with the other countries,” she said.

Mork was also able to do some sightseeing and visit the Forbidden City on her first day and then the Summer Palace and the Temple of Confucius on her last day.

“It was interesting to see the culture and how they do things,” she said. “They had these gravestones and in Mulan it’s the important ancestors, but they were just the scholars from the college, so if you die and did well in school you get a gravestone there.”

Mork hopes to go into nursing or advanced nursing and initially wanted to do the trip for her college applications, but also because she wanted to learn how to talk with people with different backgrounds than her own.

“My mom is a nurse and she has to talk to people very different than her,” Mork said.

Marshfield High School teacher Debbie Brown also helped Mork and Hernandez during their trip and wrote in an email to the school and The World that this was a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” for both students.

“This was a once in a lifetime experience that gave both Hannah and Alex a greater understanding of our world,” she wrote.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.