Final Day – Films and Farewells Slovakia

Ahoj!

It is the final day of our journey down the River Danube. The morning started with Johann Strauss II’s music titled The Blue Danube Waltz as groups settled down in the huge courtroom-like Wilkins Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre. It was time to bid goodbye to our cameras too, which has been our treasure for the past 2 weeks filming various Slovak people and places in London.

After the logistics was done, it was time for each group to showcase their films and blog articles on stage. The judges for the film included academics from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, a student, an immigrant from Hungary (who is Eszter’s friend) and Dieter, our filming instructor. Groups began presenting one by one according to the direction of the flow of the Danube River, beginning with Austria and ending with the Yiddish group. Austria’s blog included articles about cars and British humour versus German humour. Their film was about a café manager Jules Brews. The next group to present was supposed to be us, the Slovakia group, however, our navigator Stephanie was an hour late and she told us not to show the film without her. Hence, the Hungary group presented before us. Their interview was of a teacher called Rita. Then, it moved on to our turn to present. Gwen briefly described our blog posts before we showed our film. Congratulations to us receiving special mention for our film! We still could have done better though, by focusing only on one interviewee’s story and improving on our shots. Nonetheless, we did a great job overall, and have learnt a lot through the language sessions with Olga, the interviews we carried out, the filming and editing, making our poster and writing up our blog articles.

The next group was Serbia, whose blog included mythologies of Serbia and whose film was about Anja, a Serbian artist living in London. It was then followed by Romania, who talked about their language sessions, Jewish life in Romania and children who thanked their beautiful cooks (their mothers) for the good food. Their film, which was the winning entry, was about Chris, a Romanian Chef working in London, but has a longing to go back home. He has a remarkable story to tell, I particularly liked the choice of music and how the group managed to film various footages of him preparing different types of traditional Romanian cuisines – impressive! After Romania was Bulgaria, whose blog posts covered cultural and political issues. Their interview featured people from the Bulgaria Embassy in South Kensington. Next in line was Ukraine, their blog posts included Ukraine’s victory at the Eurovision and a description of a Ukrainian church just beside Bond Street. They had also cooked Ukrainian food together. They discovered that it was particularly tasty with soya sauce! Their film was of Olga, a university student from Ukraine who moved to London when she was 15 and furthered her education. The last group to present was the Yiddish group, the only group named after a language rather than a country. Their blog post included Yiddish tango, which created a positive impact on Jewish life during the Holocaust. Their film was of a blind yet sharp and talented woman in her 90s who migrated from Odessa to London in 1939.

After the plenary session, feedback forms were handed out for us to complete while more folk music played in the background.

We had a break for a couple of hours before moving to Friends House for the Closing Event, where all the various strands of the Global Citizenship Programme came together to present the best works over the past 2 weeks. Professor Anthony Smith gave his closing remarks. He described it in 3 words: “Wow”, “Awesome” and “Inspiring”. After which, we proceeded to the North Cloisters to view the posters. Our group in particular stood out because it was the only one printed with a green background and it contained all the yummy goodies we bought from Halusky, such as chips, wafers (called Rodinne) and Kofola (Slovakia’s version of coke). Refreshments were served in the main quad. Overall, the Global Citizenship Programme has been a remarkable experience for all of us, we met new people, both in and out of UCL, tasted authentic Danubian food and gained a wealth of knowledge through our project works, lectures and language sessions with our Slovak teacher Olga. Sailing down the Danube River has been an extraordinary journey in the past 2 weeks. It is bittersweet to have come to the end of it but I’m sure it is a voyage we will never forget. 😀

Ďakujem and Dovidenia!

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