Konferens i Bandung!

Hemkommen från fantastiska dagar i Indonesien, en konferensvecka med fullspäckat schema från morgon till kväll med de fyrtiotal studenter som deltar i vatten och miljö programmet!
På ankomstdagen fick vi direkt uppleva regnet, översvämningarna och därmed trafikkaos. Vi har dock haft tur med uppehåll får vi varit ute på studiebesök!

Första dagen var fylld av föreläsningar om bla. vattenförsörjnings problem i indonesien, översvämningar i citarium river som rinner genom Bandung samt ett besök på ett vattenforsknings center.
Dagen därpå reser vi tidigt till kota baru parahyangan green residece. En ny stadsdel som håller på att byggas upp en bit utanför Bandung. Man satsar här på miljövänliga och hållbara alternativ så som cykelvägar (att cykla i Bandung centrum är livsfarligt!), husen är anpassade för att solljus skall utnyttjas effektivt och naturlig ventilation istället för Ac. Man lägger stor vikt vid grönska och att plantera träd, något som även en representat från varje deltagande nation fick göra. Totalt satte vi ett tiotal träd under dokumentation av indonesisk tv! Efter lunch reste vi vidare för att se en helt annan sida av Bandung, ett stort kvarter där stadens fattigaste bor. Trånga gator, små hus och väldigt smutsigt, men vi möts av leende ansikten, framförallt från dem som aldrig sett en västerlänning. Vi fick här i uppgift att vandra runt och prata med de boende om problemen med den förorenade floden som rinner genom och som idag fungerar som soptipp för många. Man satsar mycket på att göra människor medvetna om miljöproblemen och som en liten påminnelse gav vi muggar där det står ‘I love Parahyangan river’ för att uppmuntra till fortsatt arbete med att få floden ren!

Senare på kvällen åker jag och min rumskompis Tomo från Japan med ett gäng för att käka. Bästa maten hittills och den serverades på bananblad! Ja fick dock titta bort då killen bredvid mig glupskar i sig kotarmar.. Inälvor är tydligen en delikatess här i indonesien.

På söndagen turistande vi och besökte två museum samt ett kulturcentrum där det bjöds på traditionella danser och anklung konsert, ett instrument av bambu. En av Javas bästa anklung orkester spelade, fantastiskt vad man kan åstadkomma med bambu! På måndagen hade vi föreläsningar och filmvisningar. Diskussion och förberedelser inför onsdagens presentation: vatten föroreningar och övergödning. På tisdagen åkte vi till Jakarta, tog cirka fem timmar pga trafiken. Sista dagen hade vi rundvandring på ingenjörs campuset och sedan gick vi på en föreläsning. På kvällen var det avskedsfest med mat och uppvisningar, alla var ombedda att visa något från sitt land så jag och Michel körde små grodorna!
Jag förlängde min vistelse i Indonesien några dagar och tog tåget mot Yogyakarta tillsammans med jefri, en unpar student som ville göra mig sällskap! Resan tog cirka sju timmar, hade gått betydligt fortare om tåget inte gått i snigelfart.. Men sköna säten och fin utsikt så det är okej! Väl framme besökte vi bland annat det berömda templet Boru budur.

Det har varit intressant att se vad som händer i ett land där populationen växer med den strukturella utvecklingen hänger inte med. Brist på vattenreningssystem, infrastruktur och dåliga byggnader i kombination med dåligt medvetenhet om konsekvenser av handlingar och de lokala miljöproblemen. Många använder floden som soptipp och regeringen är väldigt korrupt varav naturresurser skövlas lagligt illegalt. KOnferensen har verkligt levt över mina förväntningar och jag hoppas verkligen att nästa års konferens blir lika lyckat!
/Maria

Life @ the Lofts

RISE UP

So as you may or may not know I choose to live on campus at the lofts. As a student here you can either live on campus or find your own place. I choose to live on campus for several reasons and in this entry I will write about those things.

The lofts are located on campus which is in Downtown Atlanta, I will write about the area in a different entry, which sometimes can be shady but don’t worry you will be fine if you have lived in a big city.

There are different housing possibilities for international students, although I believe that the lofts is where 85% of the international students house. There are about 300+ residents here all that attend GSU. You have 14 floors with different sized rooms and downstairs you have a reception that makes sure people that do not live here will stay out and they will help you with any issues you may need. On every floor you have and ”RA” a resident that organizes activities and his almost like the floor ”mom/dad” because you can always ask them for any kind of help and they will assist. As part of that position it is their duty to be reachable at certain hours by phone. This creates a good, safe and helpful environment for the people living here, I have already been out with my floor a couple of times and there is a kind of a family feeling (of course if you don’t want to take part of this you do not have to, really up to you).

The lofts have a good learning center where you can go do homework or borrow a computer and get things done for school because believe you me you’ll need it. There is a laundry room that is free and there are a lot of machines available to use and I have never needed to wait for a machine, just go down there and get your wash on.

I live on the 12th floor and I have a suitemate, an American student, some rooms you actually share rooms but my understanding is that they put internationals in the rooms so that they have a private space. The apartment is nice and big, we have a dishwasher and micro also you have your own sink in the bathroom area which is pretty nice. I’m going to post a couple of pictures of how the lofts look from the inside and out so you can get a feel for it.

So why did I choose to live on campus? Several reasons, one big point for me was being close to school and not having to take the Marta (Atl’s subway system) to school my classes are about 5-10 minute walk from my door. Living at campus gets you connected as well; you meet a lot of new people and get info on what’s happening on campus so you’ll always have the possibility to do something on your spare time. I barely have time for my blog…..bye!

Greetings from America

Greetings from America

I have been in Atlanta for almost a week now so I will try to sum up a weeks impressions in one entry. 

The flight over here was quite tough, it was almost 19 hours from door to door, but hey I made it. My first impression of the US and Atlanta are positive a lot of friendly people and you can go a long way by just asking people for help and directions. 

I chose to live at the GSU campus in the University Lofts to be more precise. First impression here was quite mixed. I share an appartment with an American student, which is ok, you have everything you need but buy beding before you come here. My first night I slept without a pillow nor a blanket, that’s nothing you want to do…trust me. The rooms are good enough to stay for one semester but you can also stay outside of campus. The people that work at the Lofts are mainly students that attend GSU and let me say they are great, helpful, friendly and they always try to solve your problem in the best way.

The first day of orientation you go through a process with filling in forms and making sure that you are a legal visitor in the US, there is a lot to do but the ISSS (International Student and Scholar Services) makes this a lot easier, and you get free lunch which as students you know is great. 

The staff at GSU is very friendly and helpful just ask and they will assist. Me and 2 other students did not have any bedding (as I mentioned before) but we asked Grace at the ISSS what we could do and she drove us all the way to Target (store like Coop but cheaper) after work just to help us out. Students here are very nice too you can always stop anyone and have a chatt. My classes start tomorrow so I will write about that a bit further down the road. 

I have met a lot of new people from student to staff members to random folks at bars and streets. I have done a lot already during my short stay and I will leave you with this picture from the Georgia Dome where I got to see the Atlanta Falcons beat Seattle Seahawks 30 – 28. 

Bye bye

(reservation for typ-os so please have that in mind) Continue reading

UNPAR Indonesia 2013 – Day 5 – Workshops!

Dear readers,

Let me continue the amazing story of the International Student Conference on Global Citizenship in Bandung, Indonesia.

The 4th Day was dedicated to a intense but fascinating discovery of all what Bandung had to offer. Bandung has approximately 2,4 millions inhabitants and is surrounded by volcanic mountains, which give it a cooler climate that the capital city, Jakarta. The city is quite broad and extended, which is a true challenge for any foreigner (I´ve been myself looking for neighborhoods with little success…). Bandung is the sate of the province of West Java, and is home of the Sundanese people., the second largest ethnic group in Indonesia with a different dialect and peculiar traditions.

The 5th day was entirely made of workshops discussions, that allowed us to reflect on all the different learning moments we had all been through.

– The theme of the first workshop was on the role of medias in tackling terrorism

– The second was about the necessity or not of severe punishments in order to prevent further terrorism attacks (Indonesia has still death penalty as a sentence for terrorist acts).

– The third workshop gathered participants that wanted to discuss the experience of their home countries regarding terrorist attacks and counter-terrorism programs.

All of the three workshop were really giving and educative. I could really testify how different the opinions of the different participants were, especially on the effectiveness of severe punishments to counter eventual terrorism attacks. Again, in one word, a perfect day in Bandung!

UNPAR Indonesia 2013 – Day 4 – Discovering Bandung…

Dear readers,

It´s high time for a new update on the blog! After those amazing conferences and discussions, the organizing committee of the conference (entirely students at Parahyangan University) had prepared another exciting day for us! A free day discovering the amazing city of Bandung!

Bandung was the location of the first Asian–African Conference, held in April 1955. The conference gathered new independent states from both regions who commonly expressed their rejection of colonialism or “new-colonialism” and founded the Non-Aligned Movement. We all visited the venue of the conference which is still used for diplomatic or educational purposes.

Secondly, Bandung is the host of a famous Museum of Geology, which exposed many fossils, rocks, and minerals… Such a delight!

And to finish such a wonderful day, all the participants of the conference headed to Saung Angklung Mang Udjo, a place dedicated to the traditional Indonesian instrument, the “Angklung”  (instrument made of two or several bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame, each of the tube playing a different tune). We discovered dances, traditional songs and we also got the chance to give it a try and play all together!

In one word, I would only say: Bandung rocks!!!

UNPAR Indonesia 2013 – Day 3 – Lecture and Movie Discussion

Here come the latest news from the International Conference on Global Citizenship in Bandung, Indonesia.

Day number 3 was full of surprises and wonderful events.

1) First of all, I had the pleasure to attend a very educative lecture given by Major Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, on the Indonesian efforts and the role of the Indonesian army to tackle terrorism.

Before entering the lecture, I could testify the huge excitement of the local participants who rushed in the front row of the lecture hall and listened carefully to everything he was saying. At the end of the lecture, I approached one of the student of Parahyangan University and asked the reason behind this enthusiasm. She explained me with joy in her eyes that Major Yudhoyono that the Indonesian President´s son!

2. Secondly, all the participants of the Global Terrorism Program watched a controversial movie: “Promised Paradise” by Leonard Retel Helmrich, which was banned for a while by the Indonesian government. The discussion afterwards was as fascinating as the rest of the day.

More info: http://cinemaguild.com/mm5/merchant.mvc Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TCGS&Product_Code=2273

As said, a day full with surprises.

UNPAR Indonesia 2013 – Day 2 – Conferences

After a huge Indonesian breakfast at Sany Rosa Hotel, Bandung, we headed towards Parahyangan University in order to go through the second day of the International Student Conference on Global Citizenship.

The headlights of today´s programme were:

– A first lecture on “Global Terrorism, the origin, causes and impacts” by Sydney Jones (International Crisis Group)

– A second lecture by GATUT INDRO SURANTO, or the life´s story of a survivor of the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia.

– A third lecture on “Global Terrorism in International Law” by Prof. Nobuhito Yoshinaka from Hiroshima University.

More updates to come tomorrow!!!

UNPAR Indonesia 2013 – Day 1 – Settling Down and Opening Ceremony

My name is Michel Anderlini and I am a student of International Relations at Malmö University. For about three months ago, a very good friend of mine advised me to check It´s Learning” as some exciting news had come up. A Student Conference in Indonesia!! I went straight home after my classes and sent out my application for the same day!

Three months later, here I stand, in Bandung, Indonesia… After about 20 hours of travelling, I arrived on Wednesday 16/01 late on the evening. Immediately, some students of Parahyangan University of Bandung came to meet me up at Jakarta Airport. We spent some valuable time together and chatted about everything: studies, culture, work…

Yesterday (Thursday 17/01) was a busy day for me: together with some other participants and Indonesian students, we decided to book a taxi and explore the wonderful city of Bandung. We visited a waterfall, went to a summer resort and admired the huge mansions on the top of a hill, and a some delicious lunch in a shopping mall next to our hotel.

Later on the evening, it was high time for the opening ceremony of the International Student Conference on Global Citizenship! The rector of Parahyangan University welcomes us and the Committee of the Conference (entirely students) had organized for us some cultural shows: songs and traditional dances just blew my mind away!

Tomorrow would be the true beginning of the conference: more news to come!!!

/Michel Anderlini