After a long rest from the weekend, I could not wait to continue sailing on the Danube River today. The day started with a slower pace. We did not have usual lectures today like the previous week. Instead, it was time for us to do the filming project outside the UCL campus. While the filming group was busy interviewing and filming outside the campus, I stayed in UCL campus to prepare the slides for UnConference which would take place in the afternoon.
I was overwhelmed by a sense of satisfaction as I recalled how our group learnt and grew up together, from coming out with small ideas until being able to merge them together for our conference today. Also, I felt that the bonds among the group members had become stronger as we worked together, although we are from diverse backgrounds.
For the language session, we continued to learn on how to order food from a restaurant in Hungarian and revised the lists of Hungarian food in different seasons. Now I remember the Hungarian food which we tasted after the story-telling session on last Wednesday – it’s called Pörkölt, a Hungarian stew with boneless meat, paprika, some vegetables and no potato.
Our language teacher, Ms Eszter, gave us a sheet of paper with neat columns, depicting how nouns are conjugated with suffixes to represent different meanings related to the nouns. She highlighted that Hungarian is an unique agglutinating language in the Danubian region. I learnt to appreciate that for each language to develop and evolve, it should take a substantial amount of time for the speakers to set up and agree on a set of grammatical rules. Albeit there are many languages in the world, I believe each has to go through a long course of time in their own journey of evolution as they interact with different cultures and environments in this dynamic world. Just like the stars in the dark blue sky at night, each language is as bright as a tiny star, making this world more beautiful.
We attended the UnConference in the evening. Prior to this, each group had to choose the a word pertaining to being a “global citizen” and the groups which chose the same word were grouped in the same conference hall. Our group had chosen the word “interconnectedness” . I was quite anxious at the beginning as our group was the first group to speak and I was among the speakers. Nonetheless, everything went smoothly and we managed to have a good discussion with other global citizens from different strands in the 2015 Global Citizenship Programme. Many groups were interested in our topics, and they were keen to ask us questions.
Besides, I was also fascinated by the creativity of other groups in their way of presenting. There is much to learn and emulate from their creativity, cooperativeness and confidence being global citizens. The conference was engaging as different groups highlighted their ideas on “interconnectedness” from various angles. I was particularly impressed by a group which proposed that “wicked problems are interconnected”. They presented an example of India being globalised and invaded by multinational companies which led to intense industrialisation. Following that, problems such as overfishing, environmental pollution and health problems arose. It taught me that I should learn to see a problem under a bigger picture and find the links between potentially interrelated problems. In this way, more effective preventive measures or curative solutions could be implemented to curb the wicked problems.
In the last session of the conference, Ms Eszter, who was chairing the conference, asked for suggestions of activities that a global citizen could do in his or her daily life. Many good suggestions were given, such as “listen more”, “read more news”, “learn a foreign language” and the list goes on. Even though they seem simple, they were not consistently practised. This was indeed a reminder for myself.
It was truly a delightful day as there was so much to learn and reflect upon. I look forward for the rest of the week, especially the closing reception on Friday!
– Kai, Hungarian group.