The first day of the Global Citizenship programme began with registration, after which all participants were directed into a large hall for introductory speeches. These included insightful accounts by students who had previously partaken in the Global Citizenship programme, what they had learned from it and an overview from academic staff of what to expect, in regards to both transferrable skills and the events planned for the next two weeks.
After the lunch break, those on the Danube course had assembled in an auditorium, where Tim Beasley-Murray delivered a lecture detailing the history of regions, whose border was marked by the flow of the river Danube. The lecture touched upon the significant role which the river has played in terms of trade and other aspects of diplomatic relations, and how, due to its geographical disposition, it affects countries alongside which it runs.
And then there were eight of us. Everyone had split into groups, formed on the basis of the language allocated for learning to each group. The remainder of the evening consisted of an hour-long Slovak lesson (for our group) and later some final project-related planning with our navigators. This project entails collecting information from people currently living in London, who had come from Slovakia – in particular, how they were affected by this, their thoughts on current events in either country and how certain aspects differ between the two countries. The Slovak lesson was a crash course of greetings, the alphabet and basic factual knowledge about ourselves, as well as attempts at the correct pronunciation. As well as getting a general introduction to the language, we found out a bit more about who our group members are – almost every person was of a different background to the rest, which makes for an interesting bunch. The programme is off to a promising start and on that note, our first day of the Danube course has come to an end.
By Kate Rykova