All 25 entries tagged Education

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February 14, 2007

Valentine's Corporate Ball

I picked up this flyer some time ago:

The Career Skills Society invite you to the
Valentine’s Corporate Ball [...]

a unique opportunity to socialise with top employers”

What a thing to do on Valentine’s day! I actually found it so epitomising of Warwick that I decided to show it to some friends from outside Warwick: this is what my university is about!

I was trying to imagine the following boyfriend – girlfriend conversation:

- Hey, I got some tickets to a Valentine’s ball.
- Really? How romantic!
- Yes, the Valentine’s Corporate Ball, and we’ll both get to talk to some Goldman Sachs people!

January 11, 2007

A Stressful 30 Hours

Yesterday, as International Relations class ended, everyone walked out handing the professor a piece of writing. I was somewhat surprised, and asked the guy next to me if that was still the first essay we were meant to do. “No”, he simply answered, “this is the second.”

Still the coin did not really drop. I went to the professor and kind of stupidly asked again. The deadline turned out to be here and now, and the assignment six pages long, and a commentary upon two texts that I had never seen nor heard of. The professor was just as taken aback as me.

And so was my fellow Erasmus classmate Kristoffer, a cool Norwegian guy who, however, does not attend class all too regularly. As I was already in the library, reading as fast as I could while trying to stay positive, he entered. Not to say that I was too stressed out, though. It’s just one of these surreal situations you get into when studying abroad and entering a system full of new idiosyncracies, or let’s be more correct, differences.

Well, and here I am, 30 hours later, I actually wrote the six pages. Never wrote an essay in Spanish this fast, in fact, hardly ever even in English. I won’t claim it’s a brilliant piece of writing, but at least it’s not more than a day late. And I can return to my former tranquil state.

December 11, 2006

Less Than Two Weeks and Quite a Lot of Work

Only ten more days to go before I´m flying home to the Netherlands for a two-week Christmas break. I have told myself that this time I will do absolutely nothing more than chilling out, but a last minute overview might just make that a slightly optimistic estimate.

Where does that stereotype of fun-loving somewhat unproductive Spanish people come from? Here at the Universitat Autònoma they keep us running the rat race quite effectively! Or maybe it´s just the Catalan thing… the other day someone told me that Catalonia by itself is Europe´s third most productive region, and I´m starting to believe it more and more. Did you know for example Chupa Chups lollypops come from Barcelona?

So now I have to find the time to read two major texts and write a total of some ten pages about them, as well as hold a presentation for Catalan and to start sorting out my hopelessly mixed-up lecture notes for political economics (notes in no less than 4 languages!) and I´d also better start understanding Spanish politics before the exam in January. And believe me, all the infighting and conspiring-against-the-party´s-first-man has brought about a fascinating number of political parties… ERC, PSOE, AP, PP, CiU, * sigh *.

November 30, 2006

Campus–Dwelling Creature

Aah! Campus life!Today, I am moving off campus to go live in Barcelona city.

It made me think about the past five years or so, and how much actual time I’ve spent on campuses of one sort or another. The result kind of confirmed the way I already looked at myself: I really am a campus-dweller.

A short summary. Over the past five years, beginning in August 2001, I have lived on four campuses, each for a period of at least three months. In total I spent 31 of the last 63 months living on a campus. That is actually almost half of the time. The other parts I was either home on a break, travelling, or living at home working to earn money to travel. Last year also I lived off campus in Leamington.

I actually quite like the idea of campuses and their atmosphere. Campuses (especially in autumn) have this nice intimacy and little-villageness of pleasant academia. On the other hand, one problem I have always encountered is the fact that it remains difficult to separate studies from private things, which works for the worse both ways. And, because campuses in some way are always slightly closed off, they make you go crazy.

I am happy to go off campus for the rest of this academic year. But next year I will once again, and happily, inhabit Warwick campus.

November 29, 2006

Poetry Magazine? What? Where? What's It Like?

However much fun I like to make of them, lately I seem to be turning rapidly into a Third Culture Kid myself. Although of course with me it’s different. I’m not disrooted and disconnected from people with normal backgrounds and families, I’m just trying to keep up with my several scattered lives in a bunch of countries! (That’s not TCK is it? Please?)

In any case, trying to keep up with what’s happening in the UK and particularly in the Warwick scene as I will after all be returning next year, I read this email which was sent around some days ago, about a poetry magazine which has recently been started up.

I’m really interested in these kinds of things, so anyone who is as well, what’s it like? What was the launch party like, or hasn’t it been yet? And can I maybe contribute?

November 26, 2006

New Warwick Uni Periodical

I received an email some days ago announcing the establishment of a new student paper at Warwick Uni to be named “the Sanctuary”. Apparently it’s follows up on the “great success” of periodicals with the same name at Durham and Nottingham.

I was quite interested when I received it’s open invitation to contribute. Naturally depending on the flavour of this paper-to-be, it could work out quite well and push both itself and the Boar to a higher level of journalism. Although the Boar is not too bad, at times it tends to a kind of hunger for stories that sell, a problem that seems very hard to avoid for many publications. In any case, I’m awaiting what the outcome will be when the initial dust settles (apparently over a 100 people showed interest in contributing – what kind of a paper is this going to be?) and we’ll see if there’s some way I can contribute from a distance (since I’m in Barcelona this year).

November 15, 2006

We Are Against Bologna

Writing about web page

Marches against Bologna!Tomorrow, students from all of Barcelona´s universities against the pending Bologna university reforms are gathering in the city centre.

So. It turns out Catalans are fond of a good portion of activism every now and then. In the last few weeks all of my faculty was spammed with “En Català” stickers to promote the use of Catalan and defy Castillian encroachments, as well as “Utilitza la llengua” stickers (a Catalan word play, it means both “use the language” and “use your tongue” which is why the stickers pictures two Catalans kids kissing). A bit threatening, all this Catalanist stuff, especially if you know hardly more than “Excuse me, I don´t speak Catalan very well”.

And then anti-Bologna. I should have seen the big march coming. Signs were around. “Passivitat és complicitat. Anti-Bolonya sempre” could be read on lecture room tables. Posters and stands full of brave and activist students. But this Monday morning, the campaign attacked full-swing. Those who had never heard of the Italian city before, could now read on every building´s wall that students here were against it, in any case.

This afternoon, as I was preparing for my first economics exam to be held in Catalan, some leader dude and a following came along with a megaphone, and as I am writing a really badly-sung punk song performed on the Placa Civica is once again emphasising that we are contra Bolonya. And, as if they thought me stupid and slow-witted, they also molested the only mobile phone top-up machine on campus with graffiti to announce to the world that they are against.

Probably too late with their protests, as the Bologna committee has been discussing this matter for a long time already, and is set to present the new legislation early in 2007. But we don´t care. We don´t care if anyone listens, we don´t care what method we use, all we know is that we are against something.

November 08, 2006

Girl attacked for voicing her political opinion

Partit de la CiutadaniaOnly days before it’s annual grand feasts, the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona is struck by antidemocratic violence perpetrated against one of her students.

Last Thursday, as a girl walked out of a politics lecture room, she was commented upon and thereafter hit and threatened by fellow students. All of this happened to her because she happened to be wearing a t-shirt in support of a young Catalan party, the “Ciutadans -Partit de la Ciutandania”.

This party has recently gained a few seats in the Catalan Generalitat, and is known to be “a little less Catalanist, a bit more pro-Spain”. For as far as I’m aware, it displays no fascist agenda, but apparently for these intolerant Catalanist morrons it was not leftist-nationalist enough. From another source I have now heard the earlier-mentioned girl is considering switching universities.

Luckily, the faculty was quick to react by sending around an email condemning the violence and assuring the perpetrators would be suitably punished.

Apart from the fact that I have never understood the incredible stupidity of people who feel they need threats and fists to practice politcs, I was even more struck dumb to find out that the module the people involved were taking was called political participation. A cliche, sure, but shouldn’t every self-respecting democratic preach and practice Voltaire famous words to his rival Rousseau: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”?

August 30, 2006

Dutch William

Een geschiedenislesje in enkele zinnen. Toen, in 1688, onze eigen Willem III van Oranje-Nassau er echt genoeg van had, besloot hij om eens en voor altijd met de autocratische Jacobus II van Engeland af te rekenen. Met meer dan 20.000 soldaten stormde hij al gauw over het Engelse eiland. Tegen 1690 ging ook London ten onder aan de macht van King Billy en kon een decennium van Nederlands bestuur beginnen.

Soms vraag ik mij wel af, wat er gebeurd zou zijn als Willempie de troon na zijn dood wat effectiever had doorgespeeld naar zijn jonge Friese vriend Johan Willem Friso. Was het United Kingdom dan het Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden geworden?

In ieder geval zouden we er een paar prima universiteiten bij hebben. Met vernederlandste namen. Ik dacht hierbij zo aan:

1. Osfoort
2. Cambrugge
3. Beurmingdam
4. Mankesteren
5. Waarwijck

July 27, 2006

Last Day at the Institute

IISG gebouwTIME HAS GONE quite quickly, and tomorrow I am already heading into the last day of my short internship at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. Here, in the last two weeks, I have been helping to edit articles for a forthcoming academic publication on numismatics and labour history. It is edited by the Dutch professor Jan Lucassen and will be called Wages and Currency, to be published with the German publisher Lang. Although we shall still have to see whether my name will be in it…

June 2020

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