We have finally come to the end of the ISC conference on global citizenship in Bandung, Indonesia about disaster management. After 9 intense days of discussing, listening, eating, playing, getting to know people, visiting places and endless bus hours, students from different countries got the opportunity to do a cultural presentation in front of others for the closing ceremony.
Suddenly, the room became filled with colors and costumes from all over the world. The evening started with us teaching everyone the lyrics and dance moves for små grodorna, or ‘smaw groodorna’ as we presented it to them for phonetic purposes. Everyone held hands and danced energetically around our paper midsummer pole, which we decorated with flowers and leaves that accompanied our flower crowns.
Our presentation was followed by dances from Japan, Philippines and one from different African countries combined. The surprise of the evening was a song composed and performed by 4 participants of the conference. The song called ‘Unity in diversity’ became the new anthem for all the future ISC’s on global citizenship.
The organizing committee had prepared a video for us, full of pictures and moments recorded from the previous days. Around 100 students from more than 20 countries singing and clapping their hands together, some with teary eyes, and everyone starting to hug one and other. Phrases like ‘thank you’ and ‘I will miss you’ started to fill the room.
Our last day in Bandung, the last generous buffet dinner, the last night sharing a room with a roommate that only a few days ago was a complete stranger to us, the last hit of the gong, one last night sharing international stories by the swimming pool at the hotel under the moon until the sun came up, and 100 last hugs.
We are thankful to everyone in Indonesia for making us feel so welcome and for allowing us to experience their traditions, their food, their music, their language, their nature and their experiences with disaster. Everyday we had conversations that enriched our knowledge of different cultures and our understanding of others through our differences and similarities.
We feel in a way sad that it’s over, but incredibly happy for the opportunity to participate in this conference and to meet so many persons with different cultural and academic background. We go back home full of wonderful memories and with a new awareness about our world.