Category Archives: Students

New Year, New Team

GLOBUS: A Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
1st January 2018

To all our readers, old and new,

First of all, allow me to wish you all a very happy, and prosperous, New Year. I hope that, this time next year, we will be able to look back at one that has well and truly moved on from the relative gloom of 2017.

And what a year it has been! Donald Trump (need I say more?), the advent of Brexit negotiations, escalating tensions in the Middle East, North Africa, and on the Korean Penninsula… and that’s just to skim the surface. As a student of Global Sustainable Development, what perhaps stands out most to me is the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement – an event that, I believe, most in the field have viewed with a feeling of despair.

What I would like to express today, however, is hope. The defiance of all other signatories to the Paris Agreement is, to continue the theme, perhaps the best example of this. We have the tools to fight the problems of our time; with such winds of global change blowing, and with people more than ever before fighting for their rights, their livelihoods, and their world, perhaps now is the time that we will see them used.

It is into such a context that I, and my new GLOBUS team, step into our roles this New Year. I would like to take a moment to thank last year’s team for their work, and to wish them luck as they move on to exciting new parts of their lives – with the majority of the team moving this term and next to Australia or Malaysia, to study at the University of Monash as part of their Global Sustainable Development courses.

This year, we’ve got a huge variety of exciting new projects we’ll be looking to launch. Already, the GLOBUS team is involved in an outreach project with the Sutton Trust, working with a variety of ages on projects examining aspects of food sustainability, championed by staff from the School for Cross-Faculty Studies, the home department of all members of our GLOBUS team. This month, on January 26th, we will be having our landmark online relaunch event, followed up on February 2nd. Both events will see a variety of new content released, so be sure to check in here, or on our Facebook or Twitter pages @GlobusWarwick, to keep up.

Later in the year, we hope to be hosting some all-new events – plans for those are currently in the works, and I’m really looking forward to sharing that news with you all. I would also like to welcome in particular members of our new team from the Liberal Arts degree programme, who we look forward to working with to expand our perspective, and develop further our understanding and programme of content.

If you would like to get involved in writing, or producing other content (podcasts and videos are inbound!), for or with GLOBUS, or you would like to get involved with our GLOBUS team, please do get in touch via the contact form on our ‘About Us’ page, or directly with me at editor@globuswarwick.com.

All that remains for me to do is to thank you all for your continued support of GLOBUS; I hope that you will all enjoy engaging with our publication in the coming year, and find it insightful, stimulating, and most importantly -global.

 

All the best,

171230 Signature

GLOBUS Editor-in-Chief, 2018

The Hult Prize

by Adina Frey

Hult prize

Social enterprise has become almost a trend in the recent years, gaining more interest and momentum than ever before. What is often forgotten, however, is that it is us – ordinary, young people – standing behind these success stories of mini-enterprises. Callum Porter-Harris, co-founder of Mandala and finalist of Hult Prize 2015, was born and raised in England. He finished his bachelor at Queen Mary’s university and decided to take a worldwide turn, finishing his masters at Jiao Tong university in Shanghai. That’s where he heard about Hult Prize and that’s where him and his team mates begun working on their first entrepreneurial idea for social betterment.

His lack of experience in entrepreneurship nor technical skills did not impede him and his team from winning the university stage. Through a series of workshops and events, guided by their university representatives, they nurtured and developed their idea – teleStory – an application that empowers illiterate parents in India to read to their children for the first time! They were successful to reach the finals in New York – pitching in front of Bill Clinton and leaders of the UN.

They did not win the finals. It was a sad setback for teleStory, but it wasn’t the end for Callum. Inspired by a year of new challenges, endless pitches and fascinating people, he, together with James da Costa and Ben Quartermaine started Mandala Group. It works as an incubator and promoter for social enterprise ideas, still closely tied to Hult Foundation, helping participants develop and excel their ideas – under their wings, MagicBus has won the Hult Prize in 2016.

Hult Prize is an opportunity to translate an inkling of an idea into reality that aids millions of people. It starts in the classroom, between friends, at a workshop, where you see a social disjustice and decide to take a step towards solving it. Hult Prize gives you the opportunity to put the idea into practice and develop it as you progress through the three stages of the competition: first at your university, second regional stage in one of world’s five locations (London, Shanghai, Dubai, Boston, San Francisco) and the third, final stage in New York.

That is why we are happy to bring Hult Prize to Warwick. The competition will run on November 26th and until then, we will organize a series of speaker events and workshops to inspire and guide teams to create their winning pitch. The speaker events will be held together with societies around campus that we have partnered with. These are: WIDS, Incubator, Kickstart, Enactus and PPE. We aim to bring in different speakers who will explore the multitude of ways that energy can be used in various sectors, ranging from communication to agriculture. There will be panels, debates and individual speeches, which anyone can participate in. As to workshops, closer to the date we will run a lot of events focused around ideation, presentation and pitching to prepare you for the final competition.

If you would like to find out more, follow us on Facebook on Hult@Warwick, send us an email to hultprizewarwick@gmail.com and definitely come to our Breaking Down the Challenge event on Friday 20th October!

GLOBUS Summer Competition

by Esther Rzewski

We are delighted to announce the winners of our first GLOBUS Summer competition. Thank you to everyone who participated and wrote articles based around Global Sustainable Development. They will all be published on our website, with a new one appearing every week!

We were very impressed by the engagement and breadth of topics explored by the participants in our competition, funnily enough, with each reflecting on sustainable development on a different scale.

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The runner-up piece by Kanto Fiaferana will be published under Student Experience, as it reflected on the personal engagement of a student with sustainability, as we try to reconcile the lifestyle we live with the knowledge that we live in a privileged Western society that is completely unsustainable.

“I’ve always had access to electricity, clean water, gas… But it was only later in life that I realised what huge luck I had to have access to those.”

This student describes trying to reduce consumption, and the dichotomy that exist between themselves and other students in their flat, who do not exhibit habits like switching off lights, behaviours which are shaped by the awareness of environmental problems.

The second piece, which won the 2nd prize, was written by Dee Yon Chng and focused on an environmental problem – the loss of bees as crucial pollinators, which according to Greenpeace are responsible for pollinating 70% of the food we consume! The writer uses this example as a lens through which to examine the interaction between humans and nature, as we describe nature’s uses to us as Ecosystem Services yet,

“these services were not technically meant for humans. It is a service that pollinators would trade with flowering plants in exchange for nectar or pollen.”

The writer further argues that by focusing on one ecosystem service, we neglect system thinking, and the use of insecticide to target pest overlooks the relationship between plants and their pollinators. The author of the piece believes that bigger agricultural system change may be necessary to solve the problem of pollinator collapse. She also mentions local action, which students can take part in by working with sustainability focused societies at Warwick.

Finally, our winning piece was written by Tom Harrison. This was a true example of Global Sustainable Development focus, which took into consideration the case of the island of Nauru in the Pacific Ocean. Nauru, a ‘pleasant island’ whose environmental resources of phosphate made its citizens some of the wealthiest in the world, is a perfect example of a multi-dimensional sustainability problem, which requires an interdisciplinary perspective.

“Nauru is not the only Pacific state dependent on aid; almost all the small islands are dependent on aid to remain afloat – Kiribati, Niue, Tuvalu, Palau; too isolated, too small, too vulnerable, too beautiful.”

The writer describes Nauru’s downwards spiral, from health – with 95% of the locals being overweight – to economic problems – with debt written off by the Australians in exchange for an arrangement involving the setup of an asylum seeker detention camp on the island. This finally brings social consideration to our case and prompts the question – what can we do about this and can this situation change for the better? Can we bring sustainable development to Nauru? I’ll let the readers decide…

Happy reading!

Getting to know the GSD department: GSD offer holder days

by Anna Matrai

If you have ever wondered what course equips you with essential skills to be able to see the world from different perspectives and make critical judgements, then Global Sustainable Development is the one you were looking for.

There is no better chance to get an insight into university life and get to know the teaching staff than attending an Offer Holder Day organised by the School for Cross-faculty Studies at Warwick. Visiting the Department not only gives you confidence when putting GSD as your firm choice but also gives you a unique opportunity to experience the vibe of the campus first-hand.

In case you missed all GSD Offer Holder Days, and wonder what it was like, I made a quick summary for you. If you want to know more, DON’T FORGET:

OPEN DAYS are fast approaching!

SAVE THE DATE!

 

Offer Holder Days’ presentations are usually held by Dr David Back, Director of Student Experience of Global Sustainable Development, and current GSD students who are keen on sharing their personal views with you. The presentation gives you all the necessary information about the course structure, academic work load and social life. It is followed by a general Q&A session and an informal discussion with either the teaching staff or the students.

Being an inter-disciplinary cohort, GSD Students are incredibly curious about the world, and are actively engaged in both academic and social aspects of life Warwick University. Although, Global Sustainable Development is a complex course in a sense that you pursue another degree alongside, there is a strong sense of community, and all students have the chance to get to know each other through workshop discussions, or meetings in the common room. However, in case you have any concerns during your time at Warwick, you are always welcome to talk to your Personal Tutor, whom you are assigned to at the beginning of your studies.

The GSD Teaching Staff is not only highly committed giving the best learning experience but also incredibly approachable and friendly. They strongly encourage us to make the most of our studies and attend their office hours in case we want to discuss a topic in more detail.

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All combined GSD Degrees are inter-connected and each partner department enables students to gain expertise in their fields as well. The reason for the joint-degree structure, as Dr David Beck said, is the fact that ‘…issues cannot be addressed by single disciplines’ and, to be able to think critically about the world we need to be aware of its complexities. Therefore, as a GSD student, the intellectual challenges will be intense, and you will need to manage your time effectively. In case you have any difficulties with doing so – which we all do at some point –  your Personal Tutor is always happy to talk to you or you can also attend an ‘Organising yourself and your time’ workshop run by Student Careers & Skills at Warwick.

The GSD Course Structure aims to develop and enhance your employability skills as you not only attend interactive lectures and group-work based workshops but also get the chance to obtain certificates demonstrating the skill sets which employers value the most (Digital Literacy, Sustainability Auditing, Professional Communication, Coaching Practice). In your 1st year you will be learning about different approaches to Sustainable Development (Economic, Social and Environmental Perspectives), and will also be taught through a group-based Mini Project which is supervised by academics. In your 2nd and 3rd year you will be focusing on modules which teach Warwick’s global research priorities from a problem-based approach, as well as research-led modules from Global Sustainable Development staff. You will also be required to write a co-supervised dissertation which represents the two sides of your joint degree. If you want to maximise your learning experience and Study Abroad, you can apply to Monash University in Melbourne and spend the 2nd and 3rd term of your 2nd year in Australia.

 In case you want to discover various opportunities waiting for you at Warwick, feel free to have a look at the Department’s website or attend one of the Open Days!

Photo Credits: Twitter @WarwickGSD

What it is like to Study in a Foreign Language

 by Camille François

Many of you, prospective students who are not native in English, might wonder how hard it will be to study in a foreign language at Warwick, especially if you’ve never done it before. When I was looking at English universities, one of my main concerns was the language; Would I understand the course? Would I be able to work well in a language I didn’t even dare speak in front of my family? I sought testimonies of foreign students and their experience concerning that, but I didn’t find a lot.

So, I hope, prospective students, that this article will help you get an insight into what studying in English will be like, and native Anglophone students, I hope you can see what’s it like to study in another language, as you might not realise how hard it is sometimes – everyone speaks English, you consider it natural, and wherever you go, you’ll always find someone who speaks your language. Lucky you!

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To make you understand my point of view, I’ll tell you about my experience of English as a ‘normal’ French student. I started studying English ‘for real’ at the beginning of middle school, when the only sentence I could say was “My name is Camille and I don’t speak English“. Being in an Advanced English class (with no justification), I struggled a lot at the beginning: I didn’t understand what the teacher said at all. I’m sure if she said it in Spanish or Italian (languages I did not study at that time), I’d have understood it better! Anyway, English was really hard and my level desperately low compared to the best students.

During the summer between middle and high school, I went for two weeks to a summer camp in England, where I didn’t know any French people. Those were the worst weeks of my life; I was absolutely, utterly lost all the time, I couldn’t understand where to go, when, with whom, I couldn’t talk to anyone in English. But, happily, my brain was so desperate to change this situation that it worked at 500% to understand and make me talk in English, and at the end of the two weeks, I could at last start speaking English.

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One of my favourite buildings on campus. ©Camille François

High school was consequently much easier then. With up to four hours a week of English, it was not enough to become fluent, but once you have the basics, you can really improve. Being an avid reader, I read more than a few dozens books in English – laboriously at the beginning, then eventually, as easily as if it was in French. That, more than anything (except the summer camp) made me learn English. During my last year of high school, when I applied to British universities, I wasn’t sure I’d end up going there. I passed the IELTS with 7.5 (out of 9; 7 being the lowest Warwick asked).  I thought that, well, if I had more than the minimum required I would be okay, and eventually, I firmly decided I’d go to Warwick.

Séparateur

In September, when I met my classmates online, on Facebook, it was really easy to understand everything they said, and even to participate, so I thought that studying in English wouldn’t be that hard. However, when I landed in Birmingham, while waiting with the other Warwick students in the airport, I felt exactly the same as during the summer camp – horrified by my level of English. They were all fluent, and I had the impression they were speaking Chinese – or nearly. Fortunately, when some people came and talked to me, I realised I could understand and talk to them, though it didn’t come easily.

Happily, at the very beginning, I met other French people (don’t judge me!), which helped me be more at ease – I was sure someone could translate in case I didn’t understand, and they were not afraid to talk in English, so I bid farewell to my self-consciousness in English, and decided to really, really improve myself until I’d become bilingual. However, what I did not know is that being bilingual – not just fluent – will probably be impossible in only three years.

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Lecture room in Oculus Building. ©Camille François

My first week here, the Welcome Week, was agreeable: there were only foreign students, who would talk slowly and clearly. With them, I got used to talking in English, and realised it was not that hard. Then came the first courses. That came as quite a shock actually! When in my high school English class, I understood every single word and stayed focused during the whole hour, but here trying to understand half the words required so much more concentration, that focusing for 30 minutes was more than enough for my poor brain. It is very challenging to listen to complex material (i.e. uni level lectures), while staying focused on the sentences your teacher utters. Too much concentration and you understand each word, but not the meaning, too little concentration and your brain zones out – in your native language, bien sûr!

Lectures were one thing, workshops were another challenge! In workshops I always feared that the tutor would ask me a question – double challenge: understand the question and answer it. It thus doubles the probability of a mistake – quite stressing, honestly. However, doing the reading came quite easily; I was so used to reading in English that this was not a problem, it just required a little more focus. I would say that writing is okay, but both my GSD tutors told me I needed to pay more attention to all the mistakes I make. I’d gladly erase those mistakes, but how can I improve? I don’t have any English classes anymore, I just have my dear Oxford Dictionary online, which explains the subtleties of this nice language to me.

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Lovely campus in Autumn. ©Camille François

I engaged in loads of activities to make the most of my time at Warwick. The societies were chilled, so I didn’t have to worry about my English. Sport is a bit more challenging – when practicing horse riding, not understanding an order can be dangerous. And my most difficult challenge: volunteering in schools. I was really afraid that I wouldn’t understand what the pupils or teacher said to me. Eventually, after a few weeks, I’d say that it’s all right, really. As I tutor in French, I can speak in this language, and in my other volunteering in a primary school, I just help Year 1 pupils read. It’s quite ironic when they know how to pronounce their phonetics better than I do, but oh well, it’s okay! And when two little 4 and 5-year-olds came to talk to me and told me something (I didn’t understand a single word), I just told them – naturally with a big smile – to go and see their teacher as if I had understood what they said. I still have no idea what it was about, by the way!

That’s how it works. You don’t understand, you smile, you nod as if all was normal. That’s what I sometimes do when I talk with native English speakers, I confess. I just can’t bother them by asking them to repeat twice what they say. I got used to it. It creates misunderstandings from time to time – like when I’m asked an open question and I just nod, or when someone talked to me about ‘lectures’ and I understand ‘lettuce’ (real life experience here…). But when I realise my mistakes, I prefer to laugh about them than to be ashamed – it’s not easy to try to make sense of the gibberish your brain hears, so it’s better to see the bright side of it and laugh about it!

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Library, where Freshers think they have to spend all their time to study… ©Camille François

Some people told me it was courageous to study in another language. I don’t see it that way: it’s just one more challenge of university life (well, okay, the biggest), but it’s not that hard. It is not as if English students came to study in France after their A-levels – that would be really hard. English is much easier to learn than French, and English is everywhere: on the Internet, in our TV series and films, on the signs in any tourist city… If they knew how my brain panics when I must say something complex in English, or when I don’t understand, they’d see my real language level and wouldn’t be impressed!

Even after one term and a half, I still struggle. Even with full marks at the English test of the Baccalaureate, I don’t understand everything people say, and I can’t talk as much as I want – I only speak when necessary. I don’t feel my foreign classmates care as much as I do about their English, they are less self-conscious and improve more quickly. However, most of them come from a background where they spoke English regularly (e.g. lived abroad, have bilingual parents, passed the International Baccalaureate). With them, I can have a normal conversation, and forget that I’m speaking in a language that is not my mother tongue. But I also met lots of very nice native English-speakers, who talk to me totally normally. I don’t know if I should be flattered that they find my English level so good, or bothered that they don’t understand how hard it is and don’t speak slightly more slowly. When someone has a thick accent, when they talk in a noisy room, or when they whisper, then I rarely understand more than a few words. Sometimes, with others, I understand most of what they say, and I’m really happy about it – but I still wonder if I can become close friends with someone I don’t fully understand.

I hope people won’t find me stupid when, for the thousandth time, they ask me “How many lectures did you have today?” and that I answer as usual “Yeah, yeah”.
I hope the proof-reader of this article won’t be too fed up with all my mistakes, which she has to correct (sorry!).
I hope I’ll lose my wretched French accent, because I’m so sorry when people have to listen to it.
I hope my foreign classmates have a better level of English than I have – which they do have, or they cover it well.
I hope now you understand a bit better what it’s like to be inside the head of someone, who just nods at times, because there’s nothing else left to do.

One Year of GSD Almost Finished…or Not? A Student’s Reflection

Before you ask, no, these are not trees from Warwick, but from Italy, where I am hoping to go back this summer holiday once this course is over… mmm, sunny Italy!

“Once this course is over”

Did I really just write that?

After 2/3 of the way into my first year on the Global Sustainable Development course, nothing could be clearer than that it cannot be over.  This course doesn’t exactly take over your life, but it easily could…

Some GSD students are very serious about implementing sustainability principles into their own way of living, and take the extra step to communicate it to the world to spread these ideas.

Furthermore, 4 students studying modules from GSD ran to become the Student Union (SU) Environment and Ethics officers, and a couple actually got elected! That’s another path some students have chosen to take to try implementing change within our own institution, the University of Warwick.

There was also the setting up of a GSD society – which has yet to be approved by the SU –  which ran events like the Remembrance Day for Lost Species event, in spirit of the human induced 6th mass extinction event. Even the creation of GLOBUS, written by and for GSD and Liberal Arts students also shows the commitment of our students to exercise their interest in GSD beyond strict academic work, and get it out to the world.

Yes, we struggle sometimes to get our stuff together, and getting one’s time-management right at university is like running a marathon whilst juggling – technically possible, but it takes an awful lot of practice and sometimes you’re up against a bloody steep hill at the same time! Yet, we still have managed to do so many great things, as INDIVIDUALS and as a COHORT, and the examples above are not representative.

Even if we get a few bruises and bumps on the way (remember that time when you dropped those juggling balls and they rolled under that thorny bush?), this marathon is really worth taking part in. Every little step forward counts! So, whilst you enjoy your Easter break, I hope that you will all keep going for yourself, for others and for the Planet, and keep GSD if not in your head, then at least in your heart.

That was cheesy. I know.

The Warwick Skills Portfolio Award

What’s WSPA you may ask? I have heard it said – shock and horror – by 3rd year Warwick students themselves. Well, fear not, this article will guide you through the essentials of the Warwick Skills Portfolio Award and workshops.

The Skills Workshop

I first heard of the WSPA whilst looking through the Careers and Skills workshops website. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, what workshops?” you’ll ask. Well, if you think you could do with tips and advice on:

  • Understanding yourself

  • Succeeding in your studies

  • Researching

  • Academic writing

  • Communication skills

  • Leadership

…then you might want to take a look at the Careers’ Skills workshops. These are completely free and take 10 seconds to book online (see below for details).  They will challenge your thinking, and push you to reflect on what you are already doing and how you can improve. The workshops are interactive, but you’ll also get the PowerPoint slides to revisit if you attend the workshop.

Taking that learning further

WSPA takes the learning from a workshop one step further; After going to a workshop on a skill of your choice (eg: time management or critical thinking) you complete 3 pieces of reflective writing about what you’ve learnt from it over 3 to 5 weeks.

That way, instead of just attending, listening and engaging in 1 workshop, you end up practicing what you’ve learnt, and reflecting and developing that skill over time. You will potentially be building that skill and making it stronger, before turning it into a habit. This way, the workshop is just the start of your journey.

The workshops are for everyone, whether you want to complete the WSPA or not. But if you want to improve your knowledge and spend extra time developing your understanding, then head over to Careers’ Skills website on WSPA and get cracking with the ‘Getting Started with the WSPA’ Moodle online course. This will then allow you to start the WSPA. Good luck whatever path you choose!


Book a workshop here: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/skills.

 Learn more or enroll onto the ‘Getting Started with WSPA’ Moodle course: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/skills/events/gettingstarted-wspa/.


 Have you started the WSPA or attended any of the skills workshops at Warwick? If so, tell us about your experience below or email us at globuswarwick@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading and happy brewing!

All images: Wikipedia Commons
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