My first weekend in Yerevan

21/11
When I arrived to Yerevan (at 11:30 of the 21st november), Nune was waiting for me with Jacob and Martin, we went all together to the apartment where I will stay for the whole month.
The first interesting thing was the elevator! The keyboard of the elevator has 14 buttons in total, 12 for the floors, one for the bell and another for the bottom floor. However, the number 3 was modified (by hand) to 13, the number 8 was deleted, the button with the bell was modified to 8. So, where is the number 3? and which button should I push if the elevator stops?

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Anyway, the apartment is very nice, on the 13th floor according to the elevator (but it is the 12th floor by counting each floor), well furnished and with a very nice view!

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22/11
I spent the saturday by myself, unpacking and trying to organise my life in Yerevan. I went out for tourism and for learning my way in the city. My apartment is in Tumanyan street, very central, close to the opera house and to the french square and the cascade complex.

Cascade complex in Yerevan

Cascade complex in Yerevan

I met 2 girls, Sylvia and Sara that welcomed me to Yerevan! That was nice, they were very social and nice, they pointed me where to buy a map. In the end there was a small surprise! These girls were Jehova witness, and left me a flyer about that (they are everywhere!)
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Trip to Yerevan

My flight from Copenhagen to Yerevan via Moscow, was at 23:40 on the 20th of November.
I arrived at Moscow at 4:05 am local time, the airport was empty. I easily found my way to the passport control and terminal D and here there was a small problem! On my italian passport there is a small mistake, there is an M on the sex! This made the Russians suspicious! An italian, living in Sweden, travelling from Danmark, going to Yerevan via Moscow with an M instead of an F! Maybe she is a terrorist! ;-) The person at the passport control made a phone call and I heard clearly the word “italian” while she was talking on the phone. After a few minutes finally she pointed at the M on the passport, said something, and then let me go through!
On both planes my seat was occupied, from Moscow to Yerevan the person sitting on my seat suggested me another place which was also occupied! :-/
On the plane from Moscow to Yerevan the passengers were circa 95% males, I could count only 3-4 females. Nune (my contact person in Yerevan) has told me that there are many Armenians males that are poor and go to Russia to earn some money, and then in this period they come back to spend Christmas with their family. I got exactly this impression on the plane, quite many emigrants that were going back home, since most of people had big sacks packed in cellophane (not ordinary suitcases).  To be continued…
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Varje universitet borde ha ett “Office of Experiential Learning”

Onsdagens första möte hade vi på “Office of Experiental Learning” där vi mötte Ulla Isaac och Amy Zen.

Syftet med mötet var att få en fördjupad inblick i hur UCF arbetar systematiskt med Service Learning och Internship i sina utbildningar  (och på frivillig basis utom utbildningarna).

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I anslutning till detta mötet fick vi en inblick i hur studentmedverkan genomförs i volontärprojekt.

8Vi fick träffa Todd Currie som är Student director och Alice Neira, som driver temat “Hunger & Homelessness”

Alice är också en av  studenterna som ingår i UCFs McNair program.  (mer om hur UCF organiserat sitt McNair program ett program som  skapats till minne av NASA-astronauten Ronald McNair finner du på här).

 

 

 

Efter att vi fått studentperspektivet på varför volontärarbete och Service learning är så viktiga delar av utbildningen, fick vi ytterligare ett perspektiv genom ett möte med Dr. Stephanie Krick, som gav oss en bild av hur hon infört service learning moment i alla sin kurser inom ämnet Public administration.

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Ytterligare ett perspektiv fick vi lagt till vår bild då vi mötte Dr. Patrice Lancey, Dr. Divya Bhati och Uda Nair, som driver UCFs “Office of Operational Excellence and Assessment Support (OEAS). Då de berskrev hur det systematiska utvärderingsarbetet också tog in Service learning och internships som viktiga variabler vid kvlitetsutvärderingarana i deras utbildningar. Vi fick en gedigen genomgång av framförallt det formella gemensamma utvärderingssystemet som UCF har.

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Som motvikt till facebook

Att ha Facebook med på utbytesresor är ju rätt smart. Det digitala vykortet är ju fantastiskt, men det har sina sidor! Skulle bilden som skapats i Facebook vara sann så har vi nu under en vecka shoppat, ätit gott, druckit gott och levt lyxigaste strandlivet. Ja det har vi ju också hunnit, men inte desto mindre hann vi på en vecka ha 15 enormt olika möten, med spännande kollegor och studenter.

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Måndagens första möte hade vi på “Research och Civic Engagement”  där vi mötte director Kelly Astro under mötet fick vi också ett samtal med Dr. Wang. Kort handlade mötet om att förstå “Brunett Honors College” – ett initiativ där studenterna inom ramen för sin utbildning möter organisationer i samhället där de kan bidra med sitt engagemang inom t ex Utbildning, Hemlöshet, Hälsa, Miljö.

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Public Allies är ett annat initiativ vi fick studera. Här berättar studenterna Britney och Nilmarie om programmet som har till syfte att stötta och skapa möjligheter för ambitiösa studenter att få möjlighet att arbeta med ledarskap- http://www.publicallies.org/site/c.liKUL3PNLvF/b.5106423/k.BD7E/Home.htm

Ett annat inspirerande möte hade vi med Dr. Thomas Bryer på Center for Public and Nonprofit Management. 

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Så här beskriver de Centret i Sociala medier “The Center for Public and Nonprofit Management is committed to conducting research and coordinating service learning that strengthens the communities of Central Florida and beyond”. 

Ett annat möte väl värt att nämna är det varma mötet vi hade med Madame Ambassador Elam Thomas. Hon delade frikostigt med sig av erfarenheter som visade hennes passion för undervisning inom “The Diplomacy Program” som hon startade upp efter att hon återvände från sin period som USAs ambassadör i Dakar, Senegal.

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När vi åker på besök på ett eventuellt blivande partneruniversitet så är det också viktigt att få möta universitetets internationella kontor. På kontoret möte vi bland annat Angel Cardic som berättade om hur UCF börjat prioritera internationella samarbeten.

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Ett campus med studenten i fokus

God morgon, i detta inlägg tänker jag kort och beskriva University of Central Florida med bilder. Detta är ett fantastiskt ställe att vara på. Universitet är stort, men ändå inte så känt för oss i Europa. Vår värd under veckan är fantastiskt gästvänliga Michael.

Guided_tourDet blir en vecka fullspäckad med spännande möten, mer om dessa i ett kommande inlägg!

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Allis_publicDen här dagen (måndag) är det sista kampanjdagen innan det är election day. En av de hetare frågorna? är om Florida ska legalisera bruket av cannabis.  Mitt på Campus finns ett kampanjtorg, där olika kampanjer och grupper kan visa upp sig.


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Att studenterna är i centrum känns… över allt visas omtanke om studenterna på ett väldigt fint sätt. här finns sköna studiemiljöer, och de där extra finesserna som jag tror varje student värdesätter. Eller vad sägs om ett låsbart  skåp att låna för att ladda datorn, läsplattan eller mobilen! (Vill ha!) Lite här och där finns också låsbara stativ för en del studenters viktigaste transportmedel – Long boarden. COOOLT!

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Service Learning @ University of Central Florida

Idag var det äntligen dags för ett utbyte igen. I lördags var vi ett glatt gäng bestående av Lasse Lindhagen, Teresa Tomašević och jag som lämnade Malmö för att utforska hur vi ska kunna arbeta in “Service Learning” som en naturlig del i Malmö högskolas utbildning.

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DSCF5347Innan vi påbörjar en intensiv vecka med spännande möten på University of Central Florida fick vi en mjukstart med en variant på Bondens marknad, Down Town, Orlando, med mycket färg, och jakt på gott kaffe… ö Dag 2: Måndag För min del började denna måndag redan 5.00 på morgonen. Även om Dreamlinern som vi tog oss hit med har välutvecklad ljusteknologi som ska motverka jet lag, så  har jag fått ovanligt tidiga morgonvanor. Som morgonrutin har jag nu fått in att försöka stjäla hela hotellets internetkapacitet under denna tidiga morgontimma för att få undan gårdagens mailkorrespondens. Efter en Amerikansk frukost beger vi oss till våra kollegor på UCF.

 

 

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Final day and Roleplay – Day 7

At 9.00 am we started the Roleplay. 10 countries were supposed to ad new admendments to a new protocol to the Refugee Convention from 1951 (1967).  All the country groups had worked so hard, some  of them long after midnight. The day was long and intense and everyone made an effort to contribute to the debate.

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Nathan from JMU in the States representing Germany is trying to find an alley with Julia from Malmö University who is representing USA.

 

My countrygroup made great effort with their suggestions of amendments but it was hard to represent a developed country when the majority of the country was developing country. But I think everyone learned alot from the roleplay.

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Finally we had reach the goal and everyone was reliefed and happy. At a small cermony all students were given  a diploma and than we all met up at the Mermaid Café for a final dinner toghter.

It feels emotional to say goodbye to everyone and I will  bring back home new friendship from all around the world and also with lots of thoughts and new ideas about myself as a Global Citizen. I strongly recommend both students and staff to take the chance and go to Hiroshima next year. It´s a great experience!

Tomorrow Konomi, one of my students, will guide me and two other students in her hometown Kyoto before I go back home to Malmö.

Konomi

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Countrygroup work with Tyfoon coming in -day 4 and 5

Friday and Saturday has been very busy day for all of us, both with engaging workshops run by some of the other facilitators and of course one of the most important parts; the students preparation towards the roleplay on Sunday. First they have to do a presentation of the country they represent in only eight minutes. We are representing Germany. We have ten countries  in total.  In the afternoon there will be a big debate about new amendments to the protocol. My group has been very ambitious and working hard both to get to know Germany better and to understand Germanys pointview of the Refugee policy.  

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Late in the afternoon despite the warm and humid air all the students are trying to find alleys so there was lot of activity going on at the same time. Here you can se Nathan from USA, Koma and Shinya from Japan.

During Saturday there has been a lot of warings about weather change and that the Tyfoon is coming in. So far I’ve seen some heavy rain and a bit wind but being a swede it hasn’t impressed me at all so far. But the Campus was quiet in the afternoon .

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After hard working days some of the staffmembers are trying to find out what to eat for dinner so last night Lorry from JMU USA, Anthony from Flinders (Australia) and I tried a Korean restaurant. We hade a lovely dinner though we had a hard time to make ourself understood.

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Time to work – day 4

Today we spent the whole day at the University of Hiroshima. In the morning there was a keynote lecture about the Japanese Perspective in the Turbulent and Globalized world. At lunchtime some japanese students tried to teach us how to play Kendama – a japaneese traditional game. It was a lot of fun and a good way for the studentgroup to get closer to eachother.

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In the afternoon I attended one of four workshops. This was about Causes of Displacement in the 21st Century. And it was a great lecture held of Dr Savo Heleta who himself sufferd from displacement in Bosnia as a child. He pointed out the question that the student will have to discuss the coming days: Who is a refugee?  The UN convention relating to the status of Refugees from 1951 (1967) is outdated. More than 42 million people are currently displaced worldwide but not everyone of them recieve refugee status according to the convention.

The student are vey motivated and despite langugebarriers they seems to get along very well. I have a good feeling about the outcome on Sunday when we will have the Roleplay.

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www.mylifeasarefugee.com

 

 

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Peace Memorial Cermony and visit to Miyajima Island – Day 3

Yesterday we had even an earlier start. Our bus was leaving the hotel at 5.50 so everyone had to get up at 05.00 am. The rain poured down and there was warings about a tyfoon. Luckily most of us had got a raincoat the day before. When we arrived to Hiroshima Memorial  Park there was already alot of people. The cermony started at 08.00 and lasted for an hour. There was a minute of silence in memory of the victims in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I´m glad the student got to the museum the day before because with that in mind the memorial cermony gave more inpact.  After the cermony the countrygroup should do something together to get to know eachother more. My group decided to go to Miyajima Island, a place of historic interest  outside the city with a famous Shrine. They asked me to come along.

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Suddenly the rain stopped and the sun finally came out and we had a lovely day at the Island. Coming home was a nightmare though, due to the heavy rain earlier that day, the trainsystem didn’t work properly. We had to experience cramed trains with people continuosly trying to get on. I fell into bed early and finaly got a really good night sleep since I arrived in Japan.

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