Sailing on the Danube with the Hungarians – Day 8

Our penultimate day on the Global Citizenship Programme consisted of this:

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And this…

And more of this…

And finally with some well deserved pizza –


After over 12 hours in the SELCS Common Room – or as we know it ‘home’, we finally finished our documentary!


Day 8 – German Group

Well, today we are nearly at the end of the programme and there have been a few but important things that have been going on.

In the morning there was a chance for us to edit our video and put the final touches on the video.

As well as this, a couple of articles are being written up and posted onto the page, one about the German language and its affects on German migrants learning English and the other is called, ataman: filmmarchen, which is about ataman who is an aspiring filmmaker.

Both the German Language article and the Filmmaker article have been posted today, with a lot of work having been put into both.

That’s all for now, only one day to go!

Day 8 Bulgaria

On Thursday, the team spent most of the day at the Phineas bar and Wolfson Study finishing up the documentary film and the website.  Whilst the media team was busy editing bits and bobs of the video, other members were finishing up on their written pieces to publish. In the midst of all the work, we also managed to make time to have a mini surprise for our beloved navigator Zora and our language teacher Yordanka! Cards and presents were gifted to them, in gratitude for all their hard work and guidance throughout the whole programme and making it such a wonderful and fun experience. It was truly another fun and productive day with the team. ❤

Despite it being the second last day with everyone in the team, and the project coming to an end, I personally cannot wait to show everyone tomorrow on what the team has accomplished throughout the 8 days being in the programme. As I am in the media team, I’m mostly excited to show the final product of  our video to others!

Yours truly,

Nadiah M Idham

Day 7 with the Bulgarians: The Panel, Exhibition and ‘A Taste of Freedom’

Last language session
It was definitely a big day for all of us that was full of joy. However, there also came our last language session which was a great pity. We felt really sad to say goodbye to our lovely teacher Yordanka who had put in amazing effort and passion while teaching us. From the alphabet to being able to formulate a whole sentence, she guided us step by step. It was a challenge for both of us since all of us come from different countries, especially for those who speak languages that belong to another language family. Pronunciation and memorizing the alphabet are the biggest barriers of learning. Besides language, we also learnt about famous Bulgarian poetry, literature and traditions. These made the sessions much more interesting and interactive.

Panel Talk
It was extremely fascinating to hear other groups’ experiences over the past week while interviewing and meeting new people, There were many similarities between us, especially the problem while interviewing or filming people who we met for the first time. It’s nearly impossible to let strangers open up themselves or share their experiences without any concern. However, the fact was, as long as we try and show our passion and interests towards their language and culture, we still have the chance of making people comfortable enough to be able to talk to us. The UCL global citizenship program has really put us in a good position to communicate with people of different backgrounds as a friend rather than a interviewer since the language courses are provided. All in all, no matter what kind of difficulties we have met during these time, we gain the most precious experience and time together with good friends.

Exhibition was a very exciting part of the day. Not only could we see our work displayed in public but also many other outstanding portraits from other groups. Every photograph has a story behind it, whatever it is – amusing or sentimental and it touches us in various ways. Furthermore, it was quite different with visiting a normal gallery since we were all got involved, contributed and no one knows better than us about what happened during this.

By Xing Liu

Yiddish Log 4 – Trip to Golders Green

18920255_10155248647736153_4569765606285891176_n.jpgThis Tuesday our navigator Anna-Cara invited us all, including Izzy, for a meal in another area of London home to an Orthodox Jewish community; Golders Green. As Izzy now lives there and knows the area well, he recommended that we eat at his favourite Japanese restaurant where we had a wonderful meal, fulling embracing the spirit of global citizenship. Never tiring of Izzy’s stories and experiences, we chatted and ate, then spent the rest of the evening wandering the neighbourhood as the sun went down.

The Jewish presence was less apparent on the high street than it had been in Stamford Hill, then as we kept walking we started to pass Jewish education centres, barbers, bakeries (where we stopped to buy some goods!) and of course synagogues. Though still Orthodox, the community there seemed much less closed off: most spoke English, not Yiddish, and were for the most part friendly and approachable. Some of the children already know Izzy’s face, and he told us rather proudly how he is known to some as a “heretic”, as he is rather fond making his (dis)beliefs known, and is not bothered about keeping a low profile. Soon we made it all the way back to Izzy’s student house, where we sat in the cozy lounge while Izzy showed us the personal diary he wrote during his transition to atheism. It was amazing how warm, welcoming and open he was to a group of people he has only known for a couple of days. Izzy has shown and taught us so much, and not just about his experiences as a Jew in London. Soon he’ll be moving to Bristol to begin his degree in Physics, and we wish him all the best!

– Fiona

Day 7 – Romania Group: ‘Foreigner Talk’ Workshop, Student Panel and the opening of the Festival of Culture Exhibition

The day began with a workshop on ‘Foreigner Talk’, in which guest lecturers, UCL lecturers and students explored how difference is formed through language and contact in a migrant context. I found the beneficial effects of bilingualism and linguistic diversity extremely interesting, especially to learn its enhanced cognitive effects, such as better focus in childhood and slower cogitative ageing. Furthermore, the talk on language contact and linguistic attitudes among Romanian migrants in Spain relates somewhat to our group project on Romania, and was therefore also extremely interesting to me. In particular, the existence of ‘Rumañol’ (a perceived random mix of Romanian and Spanish), and the fact that interference, assimilation and hybridisation are all part of linguistic reality of Romanian speakers in Spain, was fascinating.

Later on, everyone on the Danube course gathered together for a student panel and discussion about the experiences we had regarding interaction with Danubian migrants in London. It was fascinating to listen to each group’s stories, reflections and feelings about meeting and talking to ‘strangers’. We also had a debate on what it means to be a global citizen and how this course has contributed to our understanding of the term – a controversial, but highly interesting topic.

We also had our last language session with Ramona, where we watched a few videos about the Iron Gate and the Vidraru Dam in Romania. It was fascinating to learn about their history and see how enormous they are. I have really enjoyed learning the Romanian language with Ramona and although I wish we had more time, I hope to use the skills I have learnt in the future.

In the evening, we attended the opening of the Festival of Culture exhibition in Waterstones, where our portrait photographs and stories on Danubian migrants were showcased. It was interesting to see people’s reactions to our portrait photograph of Sabrina, as well as appreciating all the other groups work.  Afterwards, we went to UCL’s Print Room Café, where we enjoyed some Bulgarian cuisine before heading home after a long day.

By Charlotte Weekes

Bulgarian Group Day 6

After two very interesting lectures about the Roma and the discrimination they face in their home countries, those working on the film split up to go interview their subject and capture footage, whilst those who worked on the portrait regrouped in Phineas to discuss other projects. There we spent two hours in an almost inconceivably product state, before we all regrouped again and headed to the language class, where the topic of the day was celebrations. Yordanka described to us how Bulgarians celebrate Easter with colourful painted eggs, and May day with spirals of red and white string that are worn around the wrist and known as ‘Martenitsa’. To produce these bracelets for ourselves, in pairs we rotated a length of red and white string tied together, before hanging it by the join and running our hands along it to form a spiral. These attractive lengths we then tied around our wrists.

Sailing on the Danube with the Hungarians – Day 6

The beginning morning of the second week, we started by having 2 lectures, both focusing on Romany communities, by Dr Stewart and Dr Tremlett. In the first lecture by Dr Stewart, instead of passive learning, we were asked to take a little quiz on Kahoot which involved 10 questions about Romani people. In this interactive quiz, a question popped up on the screen, and 4 options were given and we had to choose an answer within a given time limit. Then we would get to see both the correct answer and the statistics of each option (how many chose each option). By seeing the correct answer, he would then start to elaborate on them by introducing a lot more in depths. In addition, it was interesting to see that sometimes the wrong answer was chosen by the majority. This then gave him an opportunity to explain more on why this answer is not correct. For example, one question asked about how we define who is a Roma, as many of us were not as familiar about this ethnic group, each option had considerable support, ranging from with Romani blood, to having family history of their particular language speaking (btw, this is the correct answer). One interesting thing he mentioned in the lecture was the totally different result you get when you search “gypsy” and “cyganie” in google images. Although the weather this morning was not ideal, Dr Stewart’s lecture swept away all the bad moods and got everyone very engaged.



After his lecture, we proceeded to the second lecture given by Dr Tremlett. Similar to Dr Stewart, she also spent years studying about this particular population. Thus, her speech focused a lot more personal on her research. What was of particular interest was her life story that linked her to this research. Dr Tremlett mentioned that she firstly had a placement at a NGO, which she got to in touch of the Romani people, which then extended to 2 years due to the growing bonds; not surprisingly, inspired her PhD degree.

In the afternoon our group work together for our film. It’s a tough work when you have to compress a 45-miniute conversation to a 3-minute short film. Unfortunately a lot of wonderful stories about Enikő, the interviewee, has to be cut. Because of the noise during the conversation, we also need to match the audio recorded by an iPhone and the video recorded by a digital camera in order to make it clear enough. However, we don’t want to make it so boring and let the interview go through all three minutes, so plenty of pictures are added to the video. While we were looking for background music, some Hungarian ones just attracted us. They are extremely suitable and fascinating, some of us just can’t help of dancing under the music.

-Maggie and Yiwei from the Hungarian Team

Sailing on the Danube with the Hungarians – Day 5

This morning, a group of us travelled to Lewisham to interview our subject whilst the rest of us attended the lecture by Lily Kahn on Jewish life along the Danube. The group in Lewisham were invited to spend the morning speaking to Enikò in her home and learnt all about her life and experiences in London. Eniro was very open to talking to us which made the experience of interviewing very enjoyable. She shared her pictures and different objects that she brought with her from Hungary. We came back into central London with her on her journey to work (at the dentist).

The rest of us came to know Isaac Edward Salkinson, who was an Ashkenazi Jew born in Shklou (Lithuania). If you are wondering what Ashkenazi means, it is the way Eastern European Jews identified themselves. Salkinson had an adventurous life, settling first in Vilnius, where he met intellectuals of the Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment. Then he moved to London where he joined the Jewish community present in the city in the East End. In London, he decided to convert to Christianity and then became part of the London Missionary Society. He was sent to Vienna by the Society in order to translate the New Testament into Hebrew. Nevertheless, in Vienna he met Peretz Smoleskin who convinced him to translate Shakespeare into Hebrew. Salkinson translated Othello and Romeo and Juliet, but the most interesting thing about his translations is that he managed to “domesticate” the Christian and mythological content of the Shakespeare’s plays making them understandable for a Jewish audience.

In the second part of the day, we looked at the differences and similarities among Danubian languages. We were encouraged to read translations of the same Biblical line in all the languages and to pick up the words we could understand. We also read a folk tale in Boyash, a Romani language closely related to Romanian.

-Harriet and Clara from the Hungarian Team

Bulgarian Group – Day 5


The second week of the programme opened with a lecture on ‘Jewish Life, Language, and Culture along the Danube’ by Lily Kahn, which used translations of Shakespearean text as a microcosm for cultural adaptation along the Danube. Specifically, from studying Isaac Salkinson’s translations into Hebrew German, it is evident that apart from the obvious change in dialect, language was also domesticated for a Jewish audience. This included altering original character names to biblical ones, omitting Christian references and paraphrasing. Salkinson was most certainly a global citizen in that he was influenced by German literary scholars and spent many years in London before moving to Vienna. Furthermore, he remained considerate of Jewish culture despite personally converting to Christianity. In the wider context, Lily explored the crossing of borders by Ashkenazi Jews and compared Hebrew and Yiddish during the Haskalah movement. In the academic tutorial, we shared with our Bulgarian team what being a global citizen means to us.

The second lecture by Eszter Tarsoly evaluated the relatedness of the different languages spoken along the Danube and the way globalisation has helped languages to evolve as seen through language family trees. Eszter discussed a folktale in Boyash and used this as a case study for a voice which has conflicting identity, particularly in light of its relatedness with the more well-known Romanian. It is important to compare languages along the Danube because similarities and differences can help us understand biological relatedness and social ties amongst Danubians.

In our language session on food and drink we learnt about Bulgarian cuisine, (noting that it’s a unique interpretation of the Baltic cuisine) and enacted role-plays of ordering dishes in a restaurant. Having left the lesson super hungry, there was no better idea than to try Bulgarian food ourselves! In the evening the group reunited and got to taste all the traditional dishes at ‘Sunny Beach’ which is a restaurant named after the famous resort on the coast of the Black Sea. The food was delicious and the evening was a great way to bond with our group and teachers outside a classroom setting. We will definitely go back!