Friday, September 6, 2013

Start of the semester

The winter semester, also called fall, started from yesterday. That’s why, in the morning at around 10 am, there were some many students rushing for their classes while we were also doing the same. I noticed one strange but similar thing in everyone’s face; none of students looked casual, rather, they all looked damn serious. All the students who were partying hard during the whole orientation week suddenly looked serious about their studies. Well, I can’t do that. I don’t have switch in my mind that turns me on and off whenever I want to. But still, I think that it’s a special ability to have.

We attended the ‘special international welcome reception for exchange students’ organized by CEMUS at CEMUS multi-space from 10 am to 12 am. There were around 15 students who attended the program but Issak, the acting coordinator of CEMUS, expected some more students to attend it. We started off introducing another international exchange student in the group. The one I introduced was Brendan from Australia. A development studies student in final year of undergraduate level, he knew Nepal and was saying that Nepal is famous for mountains and adventurous sports. He mentioned that he loves to do art and looked so from his appearance as well. He was wearing torn jeans, had long hair & beard; he looked disorganized and yet he looked attractive. Wow, my impression about artist looks good!

The other friends in the hall were from Bulgaria, Japan, China, Malaysia, and yes, there were many students from Australia. After the introduction round, Issak told us about his and CEMUS history. He told us, how he, from being a physicist and engineer turned towards the field of social science. He mentioned that a course on Global Economy which he took in CEMUS back in 2006 actually changed his life. It’s the same course that we are also taking this fall and I am excited about the course. After his own history, Issak told us about CEMUS which was opened by two students from the same University who were frustrated by the old teaching-learning system. Issak explained that CEMUS has whole new style of imparting education but I don’t know how it looks like. I will try to write about it, in days to come, when I will have some kind of understanding about their pedagogy. After the history round, we went on a round of the building which is also called Geo-Centrum; CEMUS is just a part of Geo-Centrum. Issak showed us rooms where course coordinators of different subjects worked and has told that we can take their help anytime we want to. Towards the end of the tour, he showed us the place to get our keycard with the help of which we can enter CEMUS even when it is locked. And, finally, he ended the tour taking us to the Geo-Centrum library from where we also received our library card.

We then returned to International office to handover our Swedish language application forms to Wenche. We could not meet Wenche in her office because she was out for her lunch but we managed to give our forms to her colleague to pass it to her. After handing over the application forms, we passed some time in a park nearby the cemetery where students, mainly Swedish, dressed and masked in funny ways, were having gasque competition. The most interesting part of their get-up was their hair style. Their hair was not real and it looked like made of wool. More than that, the hair was given different color and design. It was interesting. But, I don’t know what gasque is!

At 2 pm, we again went to CEMUS to meet our course coordinators and buy our course readers. In CEMUS, I bought course reader for the Global Economy course which cost me SEK 260. Oh! I am making huge investment for my education. Besides buying the course reader we meet our Project Management course coordinator and talked with him for a while; we discussed about some of the course books with him. Then we retuned back to main university building for Kofi Annan’s speech. Kofi’s and Eliasson’s speeches were good but the concluding remarks from Dr. hc Hans Corell who boring. He spoke more casual that he should have and in addition to that, I had problems in hearing him clearly. I will write about Annan’s speech some other day. After Annan’s speech we went to Blasenhus to hear from Swedish Environmental Hero 2012.

I expected an impressive male personality to be waiting us for the lecture. But to my surprise, it was a 19 year old girl named Alva Snis Sigtrysson. In her speech titled ‘Our future, our task, our movement - From UN to Ojanare and beyond’, she told her a story about how she actually became involved in environmental activities and all. Her story was impressive but she looked confused about the concept of sustainable development. While explaining about it, she was talking about environmental protection at the fullest but without mentioning the compromise that has to be done to achieve development. It also seemed like she was unaware about poor countries of the world like Nepal which have to make some compromise with natural state to environment to increase its hydropower production which is also considered one of the main source to strengthen Nepali economy. Can Nepal afford to leave its environment untouched and let its citizen suffer form power crisis like they are facing now?

After the hero finished her presentation, we left for our room. Had I stayed, I will have surely asked her the above question. Back in our room, we cooked our dinner, dined and slept.

3rd September, 2013
Klostergatan16, Uppsala 

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