Liverpool

Our trip to Liverpool was on Feb 2nd. It snowed the day before in York and the next day we had remnants that made for a beautiful journey on the bus. Everyone was asked to be at Uni at 8.00 am and it took us around two and half hours to get to Liverpool.

Our first stop was the Liverpool Cathedral

Such a stunning building. It was spacious with great attention to detail, beautiful stained glass and a very peaceful atmosphere inside.

Next we had about 2 hours for ourselves which we took to walk around a little and have some lunch. We went to a burger place and enjoyed some Chinese New Year celebrations on the street.

After that we were on to the main event; The Beatles museum (any Beatles fans?) :

Aptly called The Beatles Story, it’s designed in a great storytelling-as-you-walk way where we got headphones and mini devices (remember walkie talkies? They resembled them a little. Nostalgia: check.) and got to hear different clips with every room we entered into.

This is how the studio looked when the members would record an album. It’s amazing how such a small space can produce great works of art which topped charts for months!

This is the stage in the cafe the band played in for the last time before they exploded into a worldwide phenomena; the picture above to the right is how the tickets looked like. It immediately makes you think of the memories the people who attended it must have..

THE yellow submarine, guys! 🙂

John Lennon’s “White Room” where he wrote Imagine and other songs. Gorgeous crisp white!

And that was it! A short but sweet trip. My friend and I took some time in between events to rush and see the Titanic memorial and the Yoko Ono section in Liverpool’s museum, but by that point it was so cold my phone decided to conserve battery and switch off. iPhones! Haha.. I managed to switch it back on in the bus just in time to get this picture on the way back to York 🙂

The tour guides were amazing and we wouldn’t have been able to organise such a trip without them; I feel grateful that the experience has been nothing short of great.

Mafaz x

Student Union activities

For the past month or so now, the Student Union here at York St John has been taking care of us in the best way possible. Mingling events, quizzes, food hospitality, trips to other parts of England, you name it. I’ll put some of the events here that took place over the past few weeks. I love going to the Student Union cafe because it’s always fun.

To start with, we had a welcome party for all the international students at the end of the Introduction week. We had dinner together and got to know each other more.

There are students from so many places in the world it’s amazing. We played Bingo and the mission was to find people in the room who fit the descriptions we had on our papers, and we couldn’t repeat a name twice. Really got us to chat to each other!

During the night we also pinned our names to where we came from, on a world map. Hello, Sweden! 🙂

Then we were quizzed on everything British, with a  pretty good prize; tickets to a trip to Liverpool the Student Union was arranging. Pleased to announce, my team won 🙂 (post about the trip here).

On  feb 4th we celebrated Chinese new year with a quiz about Chinese traditions and a lantern-making activity

I had to leave early so I didn’t get to finish my lantern, but wish I had.

Then just couple of days ago we had a Viking event because it is Viking week at the time of me writing this. We had pizza (doesn’t fit the theme but I think the Vikings missed out) then watched a video about Ragnarok and what it is in Norse mythology (if you haven’t heard of it you can watch the documentary Thor: Ragnarok by Marvel Studios. Not too dissimilar 🙂 ).

Then we got to make our own Viking shields; we felt like small kids painting again and it kept us very present. York was populated by the Vikings around 1400 and the city still carries traces to this day, so it was very fitting to celebrate this week.

Next up, Liverpool!

Mafaz x

 

 

 

Hello from York!

Hello everyone, welcome to my first post 🙂 my name is Mafaz; I study English Studies at Malmö University and currently in York, England for the first semester of my two semesters with elective courses. Has anyone been to York before? I’m studying at York St John’s University or, as it’s been dubbed, Hogwarts.

On the first day I got to meet new friends from many countries who were also here for the semester, and we had a mini tour of our own around campus. The university is big! And really beautiful. These are some pictures that I took.

This one is from one of the accommodation buildings, but how nice is the greenery?

Some of us had been to York before but others not. I had absolutely no expectations; I hadn’t heard much about the city, which actually worked in my favor because I felt very present when I arrived as I was seeing something completely new. Official arrival date was 24th January and the first week was all about helping us get settled. We had a 2-hour walking tour that was really enjoyable. We got to know the city and wrote down some tips for places to check out and eat at. Walking around the city made me feel like I was transferred back to the 1400s, very unique.

Apparently this place has one of the best afternoon tea options; I have it on my list of places to visit; I’ll let you know how it goes!

This is one of my personal favourite places in the city, The Shambles street. It deserves a dedicated post, but note the “shop that must not be named” logo. The street is the inspiration behind Diagon Alley and how it looked in Harry Potter. Actually this little street alone has around 4 Harry Potter-themed shops. Pretty cool, right? 🙂

This is where you can start a city-walls walk, we simply passed by it but definitely one to check out, maybe around Spring when the weather is slightly gentler!

The tour ended near the York Minster, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city (and there are a lot).

The details are mesmerizing!

After that we went home and got ready for another day. The Student Union team hosts many events and consists of a bunch of lovely people. The next post will be about some of those events they organised for us as newbies 🙂 Have a lovely time until then!

Mafaz x

 

 

INU Summer School – Hiroshima 2018


Cecilia, Yara, Greta and Eman

29th of July 4 amazing girls, Cecilia, Yara, Greta and Eman, packed their backpacks and started their adventurous trip to Japan. This experience has been very enlightening, the lessons you are about to learn will stay with you for the rest of your life!

To start with, the espresso house in the center of Malmo became our meeting point where we first hugged each other and started to plan the trip. There was no doubt that we were very excited to be chosen for this amazing opportunity, but we also had many practicalities to deal with such as flight tickets, accommodation, the amount of cash, clothing etc.  


Eman, Greta and Yara outside an arcade in Tokyo

We were very lucky to be covered with travel insurance by the Malmö University. However, the insurance covered only our stay in Hiroshima, where the summer school is held. The rest of the time that we were traveling, we had to provide our own insurance.

Even though the Summer school in Hiroshima is an amazing experience in itself, we highly recommend that students experience more of Japan on their own. Since the programme of the summer school is so tight it is not possible to experience other cities in Japan during this time. Therefore, traveling around in Japan either before or after the summer school in Hiroshima gives one a great opportunity to experience other cities in Japan. We started off our adventure by traveling to the beautiful city Tokyo, which is a must if you want to get a proper Japan experience. Both Greta and Cecilia also travelled after the summer school and visited Kyoto where shrines and temples are everywhere to be found.


The four of us having sushi at the Tsukijis fish market. A must if you enjoy a really good sushi!

To travel to Tokyo was extremely easy. The metro system is very well organized. For example, each station name was written in Japanese and under it, an English version was always provided. In most of the stations, we could easily find an information center where people spoke good English. Plus they always provided us with English maps and good directions, sometimes even an advice of where to eat or see. Besides it, the possibility to connect to the free wifi is amazing in Japan. Many places have free wifi and some spots in the streets have access to the internet. At the same time, the Japanese are extremely friendly people and they always helped to find our ways. To be honest, younger people spoke better English and they were a bit more open to stop and talk with us. However, we also had many situations where body language became our tool to communicate with locals.


You haven’t experienced Tokyo unless you’ve done karaoke in costumes

The Summer school in Hiroshima consists of a busy schedule where you get to learn and have fun at the same time. First two days we got to spend it with our country groups, the groups that we had been assigned to represent the countries in the upcoming role play. In these groups, we were a mix of Japanese and international students. We got to know each other and do many fun activities such as visiting the breathtaking Island of Miyajima.
The following day was more emotional because it’s the day where we get to attend the peace memorial ceremony and to remember the time of the Hiroshima bombing that happened on the 6th of August. The ceremony was accompanied with a tour of Hiroshima’s museum, and even the pleasure of listening to an atomic bomb survivor. Rest of our days were spent in Hiroshima university filled with workshops and seminars where we got to experience how the United Nations work and how it’s like to be a part of the General Assembly. Our advice is to enjoy your time, the seminars are important but try to find time to have fun and go out with your newly found friends.


Hiroshima


All the participants at INU summer school with the amazing Ms. Keiko Ogura

Working and eating with our country groups!


In preparation for the UN role play, meetings were held to make allies and secret plans

It is quite important to know that Japan, especially Tokyo is a place with a high amount of tourist and therefore it is important to book the place to stay in ahead. Hostels are a great way of saving money and meeting locals. Furthermore, the hostel that we stayed in had a high standard (assuming that it is this way in all of Tokyo/Japan) Also, during the summer Japan is extremely hot and humid meaning that thin layers of cloth, a hat or ever and sunscreen are recommended. Since it is so hot outside there is always air condition inside and a light jacket is a great idea.


Last photo of all participants at 2018 INU summer school in Hiroshima

To be part of the summer school in Hiroshima was an experience you get once in a lifetime, The people you meet and the things you get to experience will change your view on the world. We are forever thankful for Malmö University for giving us the chance to be a part of this great adventure.

Thanks for reading and taking part in our journey!
Eman, Greta, Yara and Cecilia

The big city life, exploring caves, discussing politics and more – live from JMU

Soon my last week at James Madison University begins. It will be tough to say goodbye to all the friendly people I’ve met here and lived so close to. But before we go our separate ways, we have one more week of projects, lectures and excursions left.

Last weekend was a fun one, when we all spent two days in Washington D.C. We had a guided tour around the big monuments in the National Mall and then visited museums around the area. Most museums in central D.C. are free to enter, so you can bounce around quickly from one to the other. I can’t put into words how much fun it is to have so many great museums lined up one after the other! Later in the night, I met an old friend who lives just outside the city, and we biked around and saw the monuments again but this time lit up against the night sky.

My favorite monument was without a doubt the Vietnam veterans memorial. When you approach, it looks like just a large black stone sculpture. When you start to get closer, you see the thousands of names engraved into the wall showing the American casualties. The memorial was designed by a young college student, and I think the concept it interesting. Instead of listing the names in alphabetical order, they are written according to the date the soldiers were killed or reported missing. It makes for more of a narrative display, compared to what would have looked like a phone book of dead soldiers if the names were shown alphabetically.

Later in the week we visited the amazing Shenandoah Caverns. They were very beautiful! The strange shapes created by minerals traveling with water has been featured in the National Geographic, and it’s not hard to see why. See for yourself in the pictures below!

We were invited to a panel discussion where four people born in the US answered questions about North American life, culture and politics from their personal perspective. It was interesting to hear their different points of view. Something that really got me thinking was when one of the participants said that “local-level politics are where the real meaningful decisions are made”, which should be a reason for people to get involved in what’s happening in their local communities. A problem in the US today is that fewer people go to vote, and focus on the local level seemed to me like a good attitude to have when fighting that problem.

As I’m writing this we have just come back from a very rainy trip to King’s Dominion, a big amusement park about two hours away from the university. It was without a doubt the wildest rides I’ve ever been on. Now it’s time to relax and have a warming cup of mate!

Thanks for reading.

Jakob

Playing with children, camping and studying – first week at JMU

I have now spent just over a week at the James Madison University here in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It has been some very busy days, and I have been sleeping like a baby every night. In this post I will mention a few moments that have stuck with me!

After a few days of settling in, being toured around campus and stocking up on necessities at a huge supermarket, the group went for the first excursion: the Boys and Girls club of America. It’s a daycare for kids all ages, located in central Harrisonburg. Seeing this place compared to a daycare in Sweden was a big contrast. Instead of small groups of children, divided by age, all the kids share a big building with several classrooms, a gym and a small baseball field in the outside yard.

It was very impressive how just a few caretakers could handle almost 60 energetic children running around. However, I think it may be almost impossible to give enough individual attention to the kids. I remember having a personal relationship with teachers at my daycare as a kid, and this experience made me appreciate that more.

The next day, we packed up to go camping at the picturesque Sherando Lake. So far, this was without a doubt the highlight for me! I have always liked being close to nature and the area we stayed in was very beautiful. Our campsite was close to a few different hiking paths, a lake where other campers would fish in the early morning and not far away from another lake where we would go for a swim.

Everybody were in a constant good mood and the trip was a great way to relax. Since I arrived to the US there had been a lot of new impressions, so having some peace and quiet in a pretty forest was perfect. There were even some members of the group who had never camped before, which in a way let me experience camping for the first time again! When I asked another member of the group what his favorite thing about this camping trip was, his answer was the modern amenities that was available at the campsite, like grills for a barbecue, many water taps and even an amphitheater for outdoors movie nights.

In addition to leaving campus for different activities, we’ve had classes with the professors of the Center for Global Engagement. It has been interesting lectures, seminars and workshops on subjects such as diversity, global citizenship and leadership.

Every day we exchange enlightening stories from our respective countries of origin, and they can often be surprising – like how children in Taiwanese school will be taught positive values while in the US the norm is that school “stays out of the raising of children”.

Last but not least, I have to make a shout-out to my classmates from Argentina who always has a cup of the herbal tea mate available to keep you alert and in a good mood!

Until next time,

Jakob

Three tips for taking photos worth keeping

In a few days, I will be traveling to Harrisonburg, USA, to attend the Cross Cultural Summer Program on Leadership and Global Engagement at James Madison University. It’s going to be a jam packed month of different activities and excursions around the university and the American capital city of Washington D.C. It will be a month with a lot of experiences to remember.

The singer and actress Rickie Lee Jones said that ”you never know when you’re making a memory”.  And while that’s true, there’s a way to get around the weak points of the human memory: cameras. They give you the ability to choose your memories, in a way. The modern digital camera can store hundreds or even thousands of snapshots on a single memory card. But if you are anything like me, there’s a lot of pictures from some vacation lying unobserved on a hard disk somewhere. These digital memories won’t do you any good like that.

I will share three things that help me to take better pictures. What someone likes in a picture is of course really subjective, and these tips are really situational, but maybe these tips will work for you like they do for me.

  1. Get close!

When you’re about to shoot some old monument, most people would probably take a step back and try to fit the whole thing in the frame. This works for many occasions, but can also lead to boring postcard-style photos. Thousands of tourists have probably already taken the exact same photo as you are lining up right now. Instead, crop your image boldly. Find the small detail that catches your eye. It might make for a unique photo and will usually not feature any other tourists in the image, which is usually a plus. This tip works really well for photographing people too. Getting up close usually leads to more personal, fun and playful pictures.

  1. Be quick!

Keep your camera close, and draw it quick. For digital cameras, don’t be afraid to snap a few quick shots in a row to capture something happening in the moment. While carefully composed pictures are not necessarily bad, I find that my favorite shots are the ‘in-the-moment’ pictures, often with someone who has not yet realized I am taking their photo. It’s better to ask for permission after rather than before shooting the picture. And don’t skip cleaning up your camera reel by the end of the day, it’s the best time to edit out the boring pictures.

  1. Tell a story.

Humans love narratives. If you are ever going to show your vacation shots to a friend or relative, make it into a journey that is worth listening to. Landscape pictures are pretty hard to make very interesting, but can work as an establishing shot for the location that you arrived to. Then, follows a portrait of a local that gave you directions. Maybe you can get a picture that says something about the personality of your traveling buddies. Thinking about what a picture is saying can be a great way to make the images come to life, and help you remember all the things that you were thinking about when you were taking them.

End of week 1 at Murdoch!

So I have almost finished the first week of Uni here at Murdoch, and it has been a lot of new impressions and a lot to take in… I am doing 4 courses (called units here),  one is a basic course in mathematics, and one is more about the pedagogy and how to work with maths in the classroom. The third course is called “Country, Cultures, Peoples: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives Across the Curriculum” which focuses on the Indigenous Peoples in the Australian school system, a very interesting course for me to take while I’m here in Australia! The last course I am taking is a course about Social Science and how to teach it in primary school.

I am little overwhelmed by everything I have experienced so far this week. It is a lot to process and to understand, everything from their learning platform to adjusting to all lectures and workshops being in English. Since my program back home in Malmö is just in Swedish, it might take a while to adjust to the academic language in English. I am not looking forward to some of the academic writing assignments in some of my courses… But hopefully, I will be able to do it once I get there, I am still only in my first week 🙂 It feels like I will be needing to spend more time here for studies than back home, at least now in the beginning. Just like my education in Malmö, they have a lot of self-studies here as well, which means that we don’t have a lot of actual lessons but we have to read a lot of books and texts at home instead.

Tomorrow we have a costume party here at campus that I am really looking forward to! Besides that, I am going to relax a bit this weekend, play some basketball and swim in our community swimming pool here in the University Village where I live. I love to live here, it is only a 10 min walk to Uni and they have so many fun activities here for us who lives here. For instance, every Friday morning they serve a pancake breakfast, so I am looking forward to that tomorrow morning… 😉

/Rebecca at Murdoch University, Perth

En månad i James Madison University, USA!

Under Sommaren 2017 fick jag chansen att åka till James Madison University som utbytes student via Malmö Universitet. Under en hel månad skulle jag tillsammans med ett 10 tal andra studenter från, Kina, Taiwan och Argentina, lära mig mer om ledarskap.

Det bästa med programmet var att jag fick lära känna vänner från olika delar av världen. Tillsammans bodde vi på fräscha “dorms” i grace street som dessutom hade air-condition!   Den goda Buffé maten som skolans egna matsal erbjöd var dunder! Och dessutom var den gratis för oss! Där serverades frukost, lunch och middag. Vi fick även tillgång till universitets egna gymnastiksal som innehöll Gym, simbassäng, klätterställe, tennis, basketboll, squash mm. Jag kan väl säga att James Madison University och de ansvariga studenterna tog hand om oss väl och vi blev lite bortskämda.

2 dagar in på programmet var det 4:e Juli. Vilket innebär självständighetsfirande för det amerikanska folket. Harrissonburgs torg omvandlades till en festival med hoppborg och country music.

Varannan dag var vi på universitet och hade seminarier tillsammans med duktiga professorer. Och varannan dag gick vi ut på utflykter. Vi var ute och campade i skogen, Sov 2 nätter i Washington DC, besökte virginias berömda amusement park, besökte caverns, gick på outlet mm. Det bästa för mig var då vi besökte “boys and Girls club”. Det är som en fritidsgård för socioekonomiskt utsatta barn. Under en dag fick vi leka med barnen och lära känna dem.

Jag har bifogat bilder från resan!

O-week start!

Hi everyone!

My name is Rebecca and this is my first post on this blog. I am attending the exchange program for one semester at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia. I am currently in my third year to become a primary school teacher!

Yesterday I moved into the University Village (on-campus accommodation) and today the O-week, Orientation Week, started! That is like the introduction for us exchange students and new students where you get to meet other students while doing social activities. So today on the first day we had a lot of information, small discussion groups about different topics and got to take part in some of the aboriginal culture- very exciting! Tonight we had a free pasta night for all of us living in the uni village, very nice!

I live in a shared apartment where I share a kitchen with 3 other people. We also have to bathrooms. It feels good to live with a few other people when you have moved almost across the other side of the world 😉

For the next two weeks, there will be a lot of activities and fun stuff happening, Uni will start on the 26th of February!

I hope that you guys want to follow my adventure here in Australia, and please leave a comment if there is anything specific you want me to tell a little bit more about!