Today is Day 8 and we will end our program tomorrow. It is our last chance to edit our documentary, so we are spending the whole day on it.
This morning we went to Dieter’s Film Clinic. We showed our film to Dieter to gain some helpful advice from a professional. We received some good feedback so we were really pleased! All of our group members feel incredibly proud of what we’ve created together and we cannot wait to share it with everybody else in the Plenary Session tomorrow. Who knows – maybe it will be shown at the Closing Festival too?
So far we have written two essays. Emma wrote one about Serbian food and I wrote one about EXIT Festival, a topic I found really interesting in one of Jelena’s Language and Culture classes. Our next focus is the Roma population in Serbia. We shall be uploading our next essay as soon as possible.
Hope we will have a lovely ending tomorrow!
After 2 long days of filming, with tuesday being especially difficult owing to the beloved London’s weather, the editing team continued to put on as much an effort as ever. As for the rest of us, this day stands to be the busiest day throughout the whole program indeed. Within our modestly numbered team of 6 students and 1 navigator, the list of things to do and talks to attend were overwhelming but we did our best to be experience everything that was offered today. Luckily, the morale was high as we awaits the long awaited opening of the exhibition and the following receptions.
At precisely 14.15 UK time, we regrouped at the Roberts building for our Serbian language session with Jelena who was wonderful, as always. The class proved to be a fine entertainment as we indulged in the unusual beats of Serbian traditional music, while learning the extraordinarily jolly meanings of the lyrics.
Precisely an hour later, having had no breaks since the sun emerged that very day, we left for the mysterious student panel. I was one of the participants on the panel, and this part of the day has been what I waited for. The discussion went on interestingly as different opinions unraveled but, unfortunately, we had to leave for the highlight: the exhibition. The photos were presented well and captivating, and our subject who came was terribly pleased at the turn out, and so were we.
After the exhibition, it was time to relax, as we were treated to free drinks and food. And at the end of the day, we were happy.
After the interesting and engaging lectures on the Romani Culture along the Danube, we had an intense and challenging shooting of our documentary in the heavy rain. It was truly the biggest test we have faced so far as we were all soaked to the bone! The effort nevertheless paid off since we managed to get some incredible shots of our subject.
Moreover, we were also rewarded by our lovely language teacher Jelena. She cooked us an absolutely amazing cheese burek – a salty pastry made of a thin flaky dough – which we enjoyed with a jar of mild ajvar. Ajvar, also known as “Serbian salad,” is usually made of grilled red bell peppers and possibly other vegetables such as garlic or eggplants and it is consumed along many dishes, including meat, or simply as a bread spread. We finished our feast with a cup of a traditional strong coffee prepared in a typical coffee pot called ǆezva.
Overall, despite, or maybe because of the heavy rain and hard conditions, we had an incredible time today. We were working as a team, taking turns in holding the umbrella above the camera and we laughed together over the fantastic food. Hopefully, tomorrow will be at least as good as today.
It is crazy to think that we are already halfway through becoming Global Citizens, it still feels like the first day. However, our group has been very active with our projects. After finishing the portrait project and deciding on our documentary plans last week, today was our first day of shooting – exciting!
We started the day with a lecture on Jewish culture along the Danube by Lily Kahn, emphasizing the differences in famous literature translated to Yiddish or Hebrew, and the domestication of typically Christian expressions. Her energy really came through and inspired us to take on her enthusiasm and use our time well. We managed to start filming before our next lecture by Eszter on the Danubian languages. Her excitement was clearly audible as she spoke, which kept us engaged as we tried to compare the languages and understand Boyash – which is surprisingly similar to Romanian! Our language session with Jelena was also just as interesting as always, we learned about Serbian music and pop culture – cannot wait for the food session tomorrow to try her famous Burek, yumm! And our new go-to summer holiday experience will be the EXIT Festival in Novi Sad!
I cannot really tell you much about our filming project, but we do hope that you are all going to enjoy it as much as we enjoy making it, it is a truly eye-opening experience. It will be tough cramming all our ideas into just three minutes, but the challenge is accepted by the Serbian group!
On Friday morning, we had a lecture about the history of migrations, highways and floods of Danube region with Phillip Barker. We learnt that Danube river acts different roles in history and some of them are paradoxes. The river are both transcending borders and creating borders ; the river transformed and is also transformative.
In our project tutorial, our group chose the final photo as our group work from photos we took in Day 3 and edited it . We also decided to interview a man from Balkan area who provided food to students for free on next Monday.
In the afternoon , we had our language session with Jelena . We learnt the way to introduce ourselves in Serbian , for example ‘ I am… ‘ is ‘ Ja sam …’ , ’I come from …’ is ‘Ja sam iz … ‘ . Not like English , Serbian has gender of nouns , masculine nouns ending in a consonant , feminine nouns ending in ‘ a ’ and neuter nouns ending in ‘ o ’ and ‘ e ’. Jelena also introduce the genitive case in Serbian : ‘ sa ’ means ‘ on ‘ or ‘ with ‘ , ‘iz ‘ means ‘ in ‘, ‘ od-do’ is ‘ from-to ’ and ‘ blizu ‘ means ‘ close to’ .
We had a wonderful and enjoyable week 1 and we look forward to the second week programme.
It was a fantastic day. I woke up to a rare bright sunny day, a rare sight in London, to jump start an equally scarce day which combines a wonderful trip out of central London, with great friends, and – of course – an increase in my understanding of central European cultures on the Danube bank side. After the lecture in the morning, we set off on an adventure to find the model for our portrait. Finding the subject for the photo portrait was challenging but having discovered several Serbian establishments in London the day before, we decided to venture to a Serbian café with the best prospect… and ĆEVAPI.
As we saw the grand display of excellent Serbian culinary heritage, it was deemed that a group photo was in order and thus a concession was made that we would have to ask a gentleman sitting on the next table from us to help capture the moment. Coincidentally, whether by chance, the sheer volume of our conversation or its contents, the gentleman revealed that he was from Macedonia.
Eyes lit up. Cutlery put down.
At that moment, we knew,
we’ve found him.
We found our subject.
Empowered by our recently obtained knowledge regarding the ways to approach strangers a conversation was smoothly engaged. He confirmed and surpassed our expectation as the story of his life and time in London panned out to be even more astonishing than any of us had anticipated. After one full hour of conversation, he agreed to become the crucial part of our project and to even visit the exhibition later. We left with a satisfied stomach, and a finished task.
Somewhat regrettably, the prolonged time of the interview meant that we missed our scheduled Serbian language lesson but, consequently, Jelena the teacher happily agreed to teach us in the park instead. And all was well. It was, indeed, a fantastičan dan.
Day Two of the Global Citizenship Programme began at 10.00 with an interesting lecture from Dieter Deswarte about the art of documentary filming. He taught us the basics and then let us loose with some cameras to test out our new knowledge. Our group decided to create a thrilling short film about a student checking out a library book; although our acting talents were questionable, our directing skills (although rather obvious in the film) were applauded.
The language session was probably our favourite part of the day. Over ice cream in Gordon Square Gardens, we discussed the Serbian alphabet and basic grammatical formations with our lovely lecturer, Jelena Ćalić. It was particularly intriguing to see the similarities between the vocabulary of the Serbian language and other Danubian languages spoken by our group members, such as Hungarian and Romanian. Through this lesson, it became even more obvious that Danubian countries cannot be divided into different languages and cultures according to their geographical boundaries; the entire region sits on a spectrum.
We concluded our day with a Project Tutorial in the sun. Whilst marvelling at the cuteness of some nearby (particularly giggly) toddlers playing in the park, we explored ideas for our portrait of a Serbian migrant. Then putting some of our theories into practice, we set up the camera on a tripod and took portraits of each other, experimenting with different lenses to ensure the best possible results for tomorrow’s task. Hopefully our practice will pay off!
Vidimo se sutra!
This first day of our journey along the Danube was, I believe, an introduction to empathy and understanding people, firstly, and a very engaging briefing on the geographical and linguistic areas, secondly. Eszter’s morning presentation gave us an insight into the unique cultural landscape of the Danube river through the eyes of the people. What is culture and how can we understand it?
The following days’ programme of this summer school is designed with people in mind, and for a reason: in contrast to our term-time exploration of the concepts of history, geography and culture, based on written records and reading, now as students we will engage with people of the Danubian region and try and see the world through their eyes.
Something that really stayed with me after this morning was Ezster’s appropriate mention of the fact that language is a mode of human behaviour. Through language, we can trace historically the migration of people, as well as the development of different cultures. But for the people actually speaking the language or dialect, it is a means of identifying with a culture, with a shared background and ancestry.
Meeting each other within our group instantly reassured me that the tasks that lie ahead will bring us very close together and we will enjoy ourselves greatly during this challenging program. Each of us is of a different ethnicity, and thus can contribute to cultural understanding in unique ways. We are guaranteed to grow while working together and I do believe that in doing so, the Global Citizenship Programme will have accomplished a sizable part of its aim.
The opening talks during the afternoon, held together with the other strands, confirm this resolution: united we stand. We collaborate. We develop. We grow. Through empathy and understanding of each other, we can achieve great things.