Cohort V begins their second year of studies in four different cities

This article was written by  and originally appeared on the student-ran GLOCAL Experience blog. You can view the original article here, and make sure to keep up-to-date with the GLOCAL Experience for a greater insight into life as a GLOCAL student


After a summer well-spent travelling, studying, and working, students from GLOCAL cohort V have separated once more, this time into four different groups, to complete their second and final year of the program. From Kyoto to Bogota, Rotterdam to Göttingen, below, students outline their first impressions of their respective new schools and homes.

Kyoto

The second year of Track D studies started at Kyoto University in October 2022. I was very happy to see my friends after the long summer break. We have had a very productive start so far, sharing our experiences from the summer vacation with each other, with the relaxed atmosphere of Kyoto as our backdrop.

Classes are very challenging. The preparatory reading is around 50-100 pages per course, and there are about five classes, meaning that we read quite a lot every day. The content focuses on Asia and Japan, which was not emphasised as much in Glasgow and Barcelona, and we have many new things to learn as a result. Most courses are not only for GLOCAL students but also for students from other courses. They come from all over the world, mainly from Asian countries, and I expect a diversity of opinions in our classes.

For me, this is my sixth year in Kyoto, but for the other GLOCAL students, it is their first experience. Their interests in everyday life often make me rediscover Japanese society, too. One of my GLOCAL friends surprised me by saying that the Japanese are very quiet. Many new discoveries are waiting for us this year in Kyoto.

– Hideki Yoshikawa


Rotterdam

AT HOME EVERYWHERE – COHORT V’S FIRST DAY IN ROTTERDAM

GLOCALS from track A and E — Global History and Creative Industries — appeared to be the early birds to start the semester at the beginning of September. Even though this shortened the summer holidays, it also gave us the opportunity to take advantage of warm, sunny days in the Netherlands. After the informational meeting in the vast, modern building of Erasmus University and a delicious lunch, we were invited on a walking tour guided by professor Paul Van De Laar.

And guess what? We had to take a water taxi to reach the meeting point. The water taxi is a common transportation mode for Rotterdam but as a group of international students, professor Ben Wubs asked us whether we were afraid of it or if needed any support. But after our summer school experience, where we attended the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra concert on a floating stage via pedal boats, we smiled with the highest confidence level possible. To our surprise, though, the water taxis were speed boats, and the rush of adrenaline was much greater than we expected.

We crossed the river Maas and got off the cab at Kattendrecht in Southern Rotterdam, where we listened to the fascinating history of Rotterdam’s diversity. We also visited a local artist exhibition at Story House Belvedere — here, we stayed for dinner and visual artist Femme Hei cooked us authentic Chinese food.

The chef, who did not hesitate to have an interesting conversation with us, wore a t-shirt that said: “AT HOME EVERYWHERE” — so symbolic, and a much-needed reminder for every GLOCAL.

– Teona Chakvetadze


Göttingen

Welcome to the “village” of the GLOCAL community: Göttingen! Yet, this university town in Germany is not that small and insignificant at all. With 130,000 inhabitants, 30,000 of whom are students, the city lives on a long tradition of knowledge and academia, and is one of the most important university cities in Germany.

The GLOCAL Cohort V Track B and F students experienced this heritage first-hand during their introductory event at the campus mid-October. A city guide showed the students secret corners such as the former university prison and told all kinds of anecdotes about former Nobel Prize winners from Göttingen. The guide also discussed the critical start of the university’s history, which brought wealthy young men to the city for financial reasons who sometimes did not behave in a good manner at all.

The tour was complemented by a visit to the newly opened “Forum Wissen” the next day, a hands-on museum that further illuminates Göttingen’s rich history in the academic sector. The reunion of GLOCALs was very nice and stories from the summer were exchanged over dinner at the “Potato House.”

Now, there is still the calm before the storm, as students wait for the start of exciting courses in the field of development economics and economic history, as well as the start of the master’s thesis. Thanks to the great student-oriented infrastructure in Göttingen, however, it will be possible to focus on the work while also enjoying the golden autumn and the Christmas market season in Göttingen!

– Melanie Thut


Bogotá

SIN MIEDO, FOR BOGOTA IS AN ADVENTURE!

For us students in Track C and G of GLOCAL, the journey of our second year starts in a different continent, at Universidad de los Andes. Located in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, the university allows students to gain hands-on experience through Consultandes (our consultancy projects) and explore the myriad sustainability topics prevalent in Latin America.

Honestly, I was excited but incredibly scared at the start because my Spanish is the weakest among the GLOCALs coming here. Yet, after only a month here, my fear vanished as I became more and more enamoured by the colourful and vibrant atmosphere that is Colombia and the people. Everyone is so incredibly warm, friendly, and even patient with my lacklustre Spanish that I feel safe and welcomed. Truthfully, it reminds me of my home country, Vietnam, where everyone greets each other when stepping into the elevator and lifts our days with a brilliant smile. Furthermore, nature is breathtaking and unforgettable, and we have already planned several trips to Bogota’s stunning mountains and natural parks. Reunited with my friends, we found each other exploring the different sides of Bogota and sharing laughter and joy with field trips and museum visits.

Regarding courses, with four classes and several group projects (teamwork is a must in Universidad de los Andes), we delve deep into Latin American socio-political issues while also bolstering our professional growth. The classes and group work can be taxing at times, but the opportunity to study with local students and the enthusiasm from our amazing teachers help to shape a unique learning experience that I could have never imagined ever to be a part of. I am now here in Bogota, exactly halfway across the earth from my hometown, no longer with fear, but only with deep gratitude for my friends, teachers, and the beautiful people of Colombia.

– Anh Nguyen Chau Cong


Public Speaking 101: One student’s journey to presenting at a 100-person conference

This article was written by  and originally appeared on the student-ran GLOCAL Experience blog. You can view the original article here, and make sure to keep up-to-date with the GLOCAL Experience for a greater insight into life as a GLOCAL student


Bridget and her colleague, Robyn, presenting at the conference

Public speaking is never easy. It can be daunting, intimidating, overwhelming. It is the type of skill that looks, feels, and sounds a little bit different every time you practice it.  This idea simultaneously frightens and intrigues me. As strong as my desire (and fear) to practice and hone the skill of public speaking is, every time I find myself preparing for and giving a presentation, I remember just how challenging it can be. This was no different when I was asked to speak at the 2022 Scottish Women in Sport Conference, representing Actify, the company where I was currently working. I felt the butterflies and sweaty hands start in just seconds after saying yes.

The background – Finding a job

Let’s back-up – how did I get myself into this situation in the first place?

During my second semester of GLOCAL in Barcelona, I began to look for a job that could extend through the summer. I was primarily looking at the Glasgow Career Services database for different opportunities, and I soon stumbled upon Actify, a Glasgow-based social enterprise in the sports and physical activity sector looking to fill a marketing position. I applied and crossed my fingers, and by the end of March, I had started my job remotely with the company. The flexibility of working for a small company combined with an incredibly motivating and trusting group of colleagues created a wonderful working environment for me.

The lead-up – Preparing for the conference

Bridget and her colleague, Robyn

After the semester in Barcelona ended, I moved back to Glasgow for the summer and continued working in a hybrid setting. This is where I was when, in mid-July, my manager asked me and my colleague, Robyn, to present and showcase the Actify Platform at the 2022 Scottish Women in Sport (SWIS) Conference. Neither of us had ever spoken at a conference before and were still fairly new to the company — let the nerves begin! However, it was the trust of our manager and the excitement of a new opportunity that pushed us past our initial fears and hesitations and convinced us to tackle this challenge.

Robyn and I met regularly during the six weeks leading up to the conference. They always say that preparation is key in any presentation, but it took us a long time to feel confident, or even comfortable, with the direction we were taking. We spent time researching, crafting our message, building an engaging presentation, thinking about our delivery — the usual. Finally, things were starting to come together. We had done the preparation; the next step was to fight the nerves.

Show time – The presentation

Bridget and her colleague, Robyn, are all smiles after their successful presentation

Finally! The day we had been waiting for had arrived. The conference was being held at the University of West Scotland in a beautiful modern building, inside a large lecture hall. We were the first presenters of the day and the tension was high — my legs wouldn’t stop bouncing and my hands were clammy. Thankfully, Robyn and I had each other — we reminded one another to breathe, manifest good vibes, and believe that we had this.

The minute the presentation began, the anxiety went away and we relaxed into the same routine that we had practiced many times before. I watched with enjoyment as the audience showed engagement, nodding along with our points, and laughing at the fun GIFs we had included on the slides. Before we knew it, the presentation was over, the questions were answered, and the audience erupted in applause as we walked back to our seats. We gave each other a small high-five as we sat down. We’d done it!

Reflecting – My key take-away

The presentation itself went incredibly well and I am proud of both of us for facing the challenge and our fears. I truly believe that the support we provided to each other and the support we received from the rest of our colleagues allowed us to push past our comfort zone and succeed at the conference. Of course, I also had many GLOCALs cheering me on in the background and congratulating me afterwards. I am incredibly grateful and honored to have had this unique opportunity.

Reflecting upon the experience now, I also find myself thinking a lot about the class presentations we must do for GLOCAL — and there are plenty of those. I am lucky and grateful that English is my native language, and I may not face the same challenges as many of my classmates who are presenting in their second or third language. However, I do know that I am inspired by everyone that I have seen present in the GLOCAL program, and I learn so much every time I listen to them share their ideas in class.

I’ve realized that one of the most important things about improving confidence in public speaking is surrounding yourself with encouraging, motivating, and inspiring people that you can trust to catch you when you fall, and most importantly, lift you up, push you forward, and cheer you on every step of the way.

Bridget poses with an Actify mascot


How to become the next GLOCAL: tips for the application

This article was written by  and originally appeared on the student-ran GLOCAL Experience blog. You can view the original article here, and make sure to keep up-to-date with the GLOCAL Experience for a greater insight into life as a GLOCAL student


When I received the fifth message this week on my social media from the upcoming students asking for tips on applying to GLOCAL, I realised there is a need to sum up the main points as an article for our blog.

So, if you are you thinking of applying to the GLOCAL programme this year and still not sure how to prepare your application documents, you might find these tips helpful!

Happy GLOCAL II cohort in Glasgow after finishing a tough day of group presentation
Photo credits: Mint (Sirada)

1. Read the description of the programme carefully and spend your time researching the programme before applying

By investing your time in the previous research of the programme’s profile, you will kill two birds with one stone. First and foremost, you will have the higher to choose the right programme, which suits your professional and personal interests better.  “Remember, this is a big two-year commitment and you need to make sure it is right for you. This will lower the risk of disappointment and help you understand what you are signing up to.

On the other hand, with proper investigation of the programme you can understand the focus of the programme better. Naturally, when the consortium reads the applications, with a higher probability they will choose those applicants, whose interests coincide with what the programme offers. Look through the list of core subjects, available electives, and its description at all the universities from your preferred pathway. Pay attention to the coordinating departments and profile of the professors at the universities from your pathway. For example, in Barcelona, the department of economics and entrepreneurship co-governs the programme with a particular focus on the different aspects of business management and development (emerging industries, family business, etc.), while in Gottingen many professors specialize in the business history or developmental economics.

2. Try to connect to alumni or current students

In many countries, Erasmus Mundus has an alumni network, supported by the national Erasmus office/EU Delegation. When you’re seeking a piece of advice or not sure, which programme to apply, you might contact alumni. We are insiders and know all the strengths and weaknesses of the programme. Bear in mind that feedback might be subjective, because it is based on personal experience, and it might differ substantially from person to person.

If you decided to contact somebody from previous cohorts, try to formulate your questions precisely. Sometimes I receive either very general questions or too oriented on what I personally put in my cover letter. In such cases I feel, my answer won’t be that useful for a person, because it depends on a personal profile, professional interests, and his or her previous background.

3. Start with your application earlier

Try not to postpone your application until the deadline. Many people apply on the last day, which may cause some technical issues with the website. With the earlier application, you will have more time to double-check the application package, pass your language test, work on your essays and request a reference letter from your professors.

4. Pay attention to the motivational letter

It’s the only one document, where you can actually ‘talk’ to the consortium, explain your motivation and link your experience and career plans to the programme goals. Usually, each programme posts its requirements to the personal statements. For example, on the official GLOCAL website, there are hints and tips on how to apply for the programme. Pay attention to include the mentioned points in your motivational letter. For example, a specific inquiry, posted on the official web-site, is to indicate a potential direction for your thesis. Other general recommendations, I would like to give are:

  • Be precise in your personal statement and smartly use your world limit. There are a plethora of strong applications and the number is growing every year. Thus, you need to put some effort into making your application outstanding.
  • Connect your previous academic and professional experience to the programme’s scope and show how the experience of being GLOCAL will fill the gaps, thus, will facilitate your future career advancement.
  • Make sure your letter is well structured, your argumentation line is well explained and easy to follow.
  • Mention your previous extracurricular activities, such as volunteering and participation in the (international) conferences and projects. Try to link it to the GLOCAL topics, if possible.
  • Try to write in correct English. If you are not a native speaker, proofreading from friends, grammar check from the MS Office or ‘Grammarly’ application might be really helpful.

 5. Double-check and proofread

I didn’t ask for proofreading my GLOCAL application, however, I acknowledge how valuable external feedback might be for improving clarity and cohesiveness of your personal statement. Sometimes, we have been working on our written texts for a long time and convinced that some statements are explained clearly, however, it might not be a case for another person reading your application. External reader can give you hints on where you need to elaborate your thoughts and where you duplicate yourself.

Do your best for the application and, hopefully, you will be a part of our GLOCAL family next year! Good luck with your application!

P.S. A kind reminder: the next deadline for applying is 10th January 2020.

Written by Iryna Bakhcheva


GLOCAL Summer School - Working with Local Civil Society

This article was written by GLOCAL Student Anna Dodd and originally appeared on the student-ran GLOCAL Experience blog. You can view the original article here, and make sure to keep up-to-date with the GLOCAL Experience for a greater insight into life as a GLOCAL student

Engaging with a dynamic panel of guests directly involved in the Velvet Revolution, listening to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra play an explosive rendition of Ode to Joy from the banks of the river Vltava, wandering through the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art situated in the Holešovice district of Prague… These were just some of the highlights of the intensive, week-long summer school hosted by Charles University, entitled “Twelve Centuries of Creativity: Arts, Business and Civil Society in Prague.”

It’s hard to say which experience from the program was most fulfilling, but we would be remiss not to speak to the incredible opportunity to work directly with local civil society in the Czech Republic.

As part of the curriculum, students were assigned to eight different NGOs in the Czech Republic, and were then tasked with solving a specific issue with the organization. Below, we highlight these projects in more detail.


Amnesty International Czech Republic

Project goal: To develop a new communications strategy that would make volunteering for human rights organization Amnesty International more attractive.

Team members: Fudongmeng, Evelina, Isabel, Alejandra, Annamarie, Mariam, Tabassum, Junyu, May.


Frank Bold

Project goal: Develop a communication and marketing campaign that will help publicize the “community energy” topic among constituents and municipal representatives and motivate mayors to build municipal community energy projects.

Team members: Natasha, Gabriela, Marie, Ling, Llnjie, Nicolas, Manuel, Maryam, Elias, Hideki.


Sue Ryder

Project goal: To create a campaign that will help engage existing and new club members and donors in the institute’s programs and events.

Team members: Bruna, Jose, Alina, Vadim, Mariana, Shams, Melanie, Weizheng.


Pro Pamatky

Project goal: To create a campaign that will help engage existing and new club members and donors in the institute’s programs and events.

Team members: Bruna, Jose, Alina, Vadim, Mariana, Shams, Melanie, Weizheng.


Birdlife

Project goal: To build awareness and engagement in bird parks throughout the Czech Republic.

Team members: Carolina, Nika, Liia, Nguyen Anh, Merle, Sophie, Yongji.


Prague Sounds

Project goal: To develop campaign to promote the festival as a significant cultural event in Prague taking into consideration its recent rebranding efforts.

Team members: Turana, Ana Paola, Harri, Chia Li, Anca, Madhusudanan, Nuria, Chaand, Giullianna, Yichao.


DOX Theatre

Project goal: To create a campaign that will help publicize the work of Dox Center’s residential theatre company Farm in the Cave and specifically their latest artistic / educational project Commander abroad to international audiences.

Team members: Jonathan, Wenzhuo, Teona, Navya, Irina.


DOX Museum

Project goal: To create a campaign that will help publicize the mission and unique spaces and projects of DOX Center to international audiences using art and tourist communication platforms.

Team members: Rhaisa, Yan Yin, Omoyeme, Tilla, Denggaofeng, Anika, Eunseo, Franziska, Lukas, Carlos.